The first full day of NCAA Tournament action is in the books, and while some of the games were the expected blowouts, more than a few offered the thrills we come to expect. Here’s a rundown of Thursday’s action:
Best upset: No, 14 seed Harvard not only shocked third-seeded New Mexico but the Crimson also notched its first NCAA Tournament victory with a 68-62 win. Should have stuck with your alma mater, President Obama.
Best finish: Down six with 62 seconds left, Marquette hit its last four shots to steal an improbable, 59-58 victory against 14th-seeded Davidson. Jamil Wilson hit two contested three-pointers before Vander Blue floated in the game-winning score just before the buzzer.
Best performance: There were several impressive outings but Derrick Nix’s effort stood out during Michigan State’s 65-54 defeat of Valparaiso. Nix scored 23 points and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in the win.
Worst play: In what was an otherwise impressive showing for top-seeded Louisville, Chane Behanan got “sprite-commercialed” on a breakaway dunk during the first half of the Cardinals’ 79-48 win against No. 16 seed North Carolina A&T.
Worst blowout: Most people were tucked under the covers by the time Syracuse recorded the day’s biggest rout, a 81-34 win against Montana. Against Syracuse’s tough zone defense, the Grizzlies shot just 20.4 percent from the field, including a 4-for-31 showing from behind the arc. Montana’s had four players score a team-high five points.
The night’s other massacre came by way of some bad timing. With Akron on tap to face fifth-seeded VCU and its “havoc” defense, the flu bug struck two players, back spasms sidelined another and the Zips were again without suspended point guard Alex Abreu. The result? A 88-42 blowout loss to the Rams. If only the Zips had that one guy from Akron…
“@norwood317: What if me Bron and Hayward went to Akron U with Rome, Dru and Wood”(would have won Nat’l championship)
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 22, 2013
Best attraction: The tallest player in the NCAA tournament also has arguably the coolest name, Sim Bhullar. The New Mexico State freshman stands 7-foot-5 and weighs in at 355 pounds. Unfortunately for the Aggies, Bhullar’s size was no match for Saint Louis in a 64-44 loss.
Best Charles Barkley quote: “North Carolina A&T got Liberty in round one and death in round two.” Chuck channeling his days sitting in U.S. History class.
Worst Charles Barkley quote: “I actually think the number one seeds are the best teams.” No really, Charles?!