It’s the most wonderful time of the sports year! All year I wait for the Ides of March, give or take a few days, and the time is finally here. With St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, and Easter all squished into one week, what’s not to like?
Unlike yesterday’s relatively unexciting day of hoops as measured by the upset barometer, the tournament has lived up to its billing today. Yesterday’s highlight was #2 Duke’s narrow 1-point escape of #15 Belmont. But today… well we’re only half done and so far:
- #13 San Diego beat #4 Connecticut 70-69 in OT
- #12 Western Kentucky beat #5 Drake on a last-second 3-pointer in OT, 101-99
- #10 Davidson beat #7 Gonzaga by 6 after trailing by as much as 11 during the game. The effort was led by Stephen Curry who poured in 40 points.
By the way, San Diego and Western Kentucky will face off in the 2nd round. Yes a 12 versus 13. One will make the Sweet 16. If you’re looking for a Cinderella, this is the game to watch.
My bracket is doing so-so thus far, but the first round isn’t over yet. For the second year in a row I ended up picking the same Final 4 as a famous ESPN commentator. Last year I picked the same as Michael Wilbon of PTI: Georgetown, Texas A&M, UCLA, and Florida. This year Dick Vitale and I both think #1 UNC will take it all, in a final against #1 UCLA, with #2 Georgetown and #2 Texas rounding out the 4. Oh yeah, guess who else has UNC over UCLA in the final? Barack Obama.
So far I’ve lost 3 of my Sweet 16, but no teams in later rounds. I correctly called #10 Davidson over #7 Gonzaga, but my other calls (#14 Georgia over #3 Xavier and #9 Baylor over #6 Purdue) haven’t panned out. I have a couple more upsets up my sleeve for later rounds, but definitely no 12’s or 13’s in the Sweet 16.
On a (yet another) personal note, I was sad to see George Mason lose in the first round. Who wasn’t a bandwagon fan during their incredible run in 2006? Regardless, I fell in love again when I saw a GMU fan who held up a sign during the CAA conference tournament proclaiming, “George Mason is this year’s George Mason.” Funny, but sadly, not this year. Oh well. I guess the lack of repeating will make the run all the more memorable… unless WKU or San Diego duplicate the magic in ’08?