Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 1: A Postmortem

The first day and night of the 2010 NCAA men's hoops tournament didn't disappoint.

Well, except in the way that it did remind me that I don't have the sort of job that allows me to take these two days off or the financial backing to watch the slate of games from a sportsbook in Vegas. And in the way that CBS revealed itself as still painfully beholden to big name schools regardless of the scores of the games being played around the country.

But other than those two things, Day 1 had everything you could want. Seven lower seeds won, including the unheralded Ohio Bobcats shocking upset of Greg Monroe and the third-seeded Georgetown Hoyas. Half the games came down to the final possession, and there were three games that couldn't be decided in regulation. And one of those contests needed a second overtime session to separate the combatants. We had buzzer beaters galore. And an unknown shooting guard from a midmajor school get off for 37 points.

Before we turn our attention to the highlights below, let's address what's really been on all of your minds. How did I fare in my picks?

WWOD? picks correctly accounted for 10 of the 16 results without any rationalization. Among the correct picks were the Murray State upset over Vanderbilt, the Old Dominion upset over Notre Dame.

Of the remaining six games, the picks in this space whiffed on three of them: Ohio over Georgetown, St. Mary's over Richmond and Butler over UTEP. And now here comes the equivocation. I had written Northern Iowa onto most of my brackets but went the other way at the last minute after coming across a story about the local KKK chapter on the home page of the school newspaper. The other two games that I missed (Wake over Texas, Washington over Marquette) were won at the buzzer and clearly could have gone either way.

To sum up: That's 10 correct picks, 3 bad picks and 3 washouts.

All in all, a decent outing considering this may have been the most unpredictable Day 1 in tournament history. Still, not a great effort. But good enough that I'm not going to give this up before we hit the weekend. I mean, if you were paying attention then you knew ahead of time that BYU's Jimmer Freddette was going to go off and that the Irish's new slowdown style played right into Old Dominion's hands.

Had UNLV and Texas not surrendered those buzzer beaters then I'd been feeling pretty smart. Instead, I'll just feel contented that I didn't embarrass myself. Which is a win in my book.

No. 13 Murray State dumps No. 4 Vanderbilt

No. 11 Washington edges No. 6 Marquette

No. 9 Northern Iowa over No. 8 UNLV

No. 9 Wake Forest topples No. 8 Texas

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