Day 1 of the March Madness Tournament is in the books. Surprisingly, Im still smiling. I was 13-3 with my predictions. The biggest upset on Day1 was (12)VCU defeating (5) Wichita State (62-59). Overall the Big East had a very bad day. The Marquette Golden Eagles were sharp, but the other Big East teams, that played Thursday, appeared to be overrated. The NCAA Selection Committee should feel embarrassed after selecting nine Big East teams for the tournament.
In my opinion, the Big East looked like a big joke Thursday. The 1 seed in the East Region, Syracuse, trailed 16 seed UNC Asheville by 4 points at the half. Syracuse went on to win (72-65). Although 4 Louisville was never in serious trouble they beat 13 Davidson by only seven points. The Gonzaga Bulldogs crushed West Virginia by 23 points and (8) Iowa State spanked Connecticut (77-64). In other words, the Big East is not worthy of having nine teams in the Big Dance. My advice to the NCAA Selection committeecmon man, show the teams from the West some love! Whats up with the East Coast bias?
I admit I was way wrong
I picked West Virginia to upset Gonzaga. I thought this was a no brainer since the Mountaineers gave several Top 25 teams problems this year. I was way wrong! West Virginia did not belong on the same court as Gonzaga. The Bulldogs punished the Mountaineers 77-54.
Wofford hits the Bullseye
Thursday I picked (5)Wichita State vs (12)VCU as one of my games to watch. For the second straight year, Shaka Smarts VCU Rams are breaking opponents hearts. The Rams had a 9 point lead at the half. Wichita battled hard, but came up short. Everyone in the newsroom was standing around the TV watching this game. VCU will face the Indiana Hoosiers in the second round. That should be a good game. Hoosiers dominated New Mexico State from start to finish Thursday night.
BEST GAMES TO WATCH (FRIDAY)
(7)Saint Marys (27-5) vs (10) Purdue (21-12)
I dont want to see either of these teams lose, because I covered both teams in my career. Man, this is hard to do, but Im predicting the Boilermakers will get the victory. One thing is for sure, both teams are well coached.
Score Prediction: Purdue 62 Saint Marys 54
(8) Creigton(28-5) vs (9)Alabama (21-11)
All of my friends like Creighton. Sorry but I dont believe the hype. Alabama has been inconsistent this season. They need a big game from Senior JaMychal Green.
Score Prediction: Alabama 77 Creighton 72
HIT THE ROAD JACK! HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE!
(2) Duke (27-6) vs (15) Lehigh (26-7) Lehigh will feel pretty low when this game is over. Coach Ks Blue Devils are entering this tournament with an attitude. Duke has lost two of their last three games. One of those losses was by 18 points to North Carolina. Theyll take their frustration out on Lehigh Friday.
COULD AND SHOULD GET THE UPSET VICTORY
(6) San Diego State (26-7) vs (11) N.Carolina State (22-12) I made a horrible prediction in this category Thursday. This time Im going to get it right. You can quote me, NC State will beat San Diego State Friday. In their most recent game, NC State lost to North Carolina by 2 points. Thats all I need to know about this matchup. This game has upset written all over it.
HES GOT GAME!
Im picking three guys who should put up nice numbers Friday.
CJ Leslie 68, 209, Sophomore
He can score, rebound and hes extremely physical. If youre not ready to battle then you better stay away from CJ Leslie. He has scored at least 18 points in 7 of his last 8 games.
Robbie Hummel 68, 215 Senior
This kid refuses to quit. He has battled serious knee injuries in college, but Robbie keeps coming back for more basketball. Hes a great person with a huge heart. Hummel will score at least 20 points vs Saint Marys.
Austin Rivers 64, 200 Freshman
Doc Rivers son has never seen a shot he didnt like. Sometimes Austin shoots too much but he can hit the 3 from NBA range. Austin is a one and done type of player who is looking to put on a show. Look out!
Enjoy the games. My next blog will be posted Saturday morning.
For all the scores from Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament, click here.