There was one result – ONE – that could singlehandedly save yesterday's NCAA Tournament games from a legacy of being the least entertaining, dramatic or meaningful "Round 1-Day 1" that anyone could remember.
Duke losing to VCU in a nail-biter.
Thankyouverymuch. And, given that result, the consequence is that no one will really remember that the rest of the day was kind of a dud. They will just remember this:
Just that Duke lost.
On the Tournament's first day...
In the only real upset of the entire day...
Perhaps it is actually harder to hate Duke today: Maybe a team that is so mediocre just isn't worth the wrath? (Nahhh!)
God: It was so so SO sweet, wasn't it?
(Great related column: Will Leitch has a great essay about Duke losing to VCU in today's online edition of the New York Times. Subscription req'd.)
Next-Biggest Storyline: Other than that, yesterday's main storyline was the utter lack of drama and/or upsets (before VCU/Duke. Xavier/BYU, as an 8-9 game most people didn't care about, doesn't really qualify).
The Tournament has built itself on either (a) upsets or (b) fantastic finishes. Outside of VCU/Duke, there weren't really any. This is bad – very bad – for the Tournament.
The good news is that if the Tournament, statistically, HAS to have SOME upsets or great finishes, we're due today for at least a couple, aren't we?
How about, say, a 13-seed Albany over a 4-seed UVA followed by a Georgia Tech over a UNLV to start the day, with maybe a Winthrop over a Notre Dame and Creighton over Nevada in the late-afternoon set.
Too much to ask? I say we're entitled. (And, um, my bracket's future sort of depends on it.)
Bracket Update: OK, so who ELSE had VCU beating Duke? How does everyone's brackets look today, halfway through the first round?
I went 14-2, missing Indiana and Xavier. I had Gonzaga and BYU losing in the next round anyway, so they aren't bracket-killing mistakes.
(1) Xavier is such a clutch Tournament team, I should have never doubted them
Tournament Challenge Update: In the "Daily Quickie Readers" group a grand total of SEVEN people (out of nearly 1500!) got all 16 games right yesterday.
Everyone else's chances of having the mythical "Perfect Bracket" were obliterated within the Tournament's first 16 games.
National Bracket Update: If you used the "National Bracket" to make your picks, you would have gone 13-3.
Consider that, if you didn't do that well. (Of course, the N.B. will ALWAYS look better on a day with few upsets.)
The N.B.'s biggest misses was calling the Gonzaga upset outright and, to a lesser extent,
But in Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog "Celebrity" Pool, I'm tied for second, behind Steinberg himself. Doesn't he know that it's totally uncool to be winning your own pool? Here's a link.
Quickie-style recap of yesterday's results:
Zags' mystique nearly as eroded as Duke's
Compare to how other 1-seeds dominated.
Xavier d. BYU
Drew Lavender: The new Earl Boykins?
Happy to draw VCU over Duke? Or worse off?
Just tracking Collison's ankle (looks good!)
As ugly as we thought it'd be
Oden/Conley end Tourney virginity
VCU d. Duke
See post below. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Vandy d. GW
Surprisingly easily, wouldn't you say?
Texas A&M d. Penn
Trendy Aggies scared early, revved late
Hoyas' size was too much
Bulldogs' late shooting pulls away
Wazzu d. Oral
Wazzu better than you thought, aren't they?
L'ville d. Stanford
Cardinal were an embarrassment to at-larges
Another early-round KO for Knight
Looking ready for a run to the Sweet 16?
Quickie-style preview of today's games:
(My picks to win are listed)
Could start my Round 1, Day 2 badly.
Pool-wreck Potential! I have Tech to 8.
Another lightweight win for Tigers.
This is THE trendy upset pick of Round 1.
12-over-5? No: Vols love LBS style of play.
Too much banging by the Badgers.
10 Creighton over 7
Another trendy upset pick for Round 1
DREADED 5 PM GAME:
Wazzu set it up: Pac-10 looks good!
Self ready to end KU's Round 1 Kurse?
5 VA Tech over 12
Will confirm it's a good Round 1 for Pac-10
Adjust your MMOD screen to "Durant Channel."
9 Villanova over 8
Nova's Reynolds is a big-conference S. Curry.
Salukis in rare position of heavy favorite.
If Gators lose, don't look for me for a while.
5 USC over 12
Pac-10's Round 1 dominance capped off.
Worth a quick look: Saturday's Round 2:
4 Maryland vs. 5 Butler
Terps: Good inconsistent? Or bad?
3 Pitt vs. 11 VCU
How can you NOT root for VCU?
2 UCLA vs. 7 Indiana
Road finally catches up with Hoosiers.
1 UNC vs. 9 Michigan St
Closer than you'll think.
3 Washington St vs. 6 Vandy
How good did Wazzu look?
(Pick: Wash. St.)
2 Georgetown vs. 7 BC
Old Big East rivals. Where's John Bagley?
1 Ohio State vs. 9 Xavier
Thad Matta's old school, players
(Pick: Ohio State, but close!)
3 Texas A&M vs. 6 Louisville
Cards ain't playing Cardinal anymore
Wait: There's other stuff to talk about in sports?
NBA fines Phil Jax $50K for "witch hunt" comment. Pocket change.
MLB: Sammy Sosa will be on the Rangers' 40-man roster. Victory!
NFL: Tank Johnson gets 4-months in prison. Cellblock D's Intramural Football Team – reigning Oz champs! – gets a boost!
Finally: If you read one non-Tournament-related thing today, make it this amazing post from WithLeather's Matt Ufford about a night out with John Amaechi.