The NCAA first-round returns are in, and this was -- without standard Shanoffian hyperbole or instant hysteria:
Worst. First Round. Ever.
No upsets. I steadfastly refuse to count 9-over-8 as an "upset," so we're left with two in the entire Tournament first round:
VCU over Duke, which will only grow in legend given its upset novelty.
Winthrop over Notre Dame, which nearly half of America saw coming, hardly qualifying it as a classic "upset."
No fantastic finishes. How pathetic (and/or symbolic) is it that VCU-Duke has to pull double-duty as both "best/only upset" and "best/only fantastic finish?" (Maybe VA Tech over Illinois on a 12-0 game-ending run, but that was less fantastic than ugly.)
This year's theme so far? Lame, predictable results.
And that is the worst possible thing to happen to the Tournament.
I guess it's testimony to the Tournament's history and legacy of upsets and wild finishes that a Tournament without them seems so... worthless.
I'm sure that as rounds go by and results (hopefully) offer upsets and great finishes, we'll forget about this first round. First rounds are rarely remembered anyway -- except for their upsets and wild finishes.
Which is precisely why this first round -- for all of our lamentations Friday night and Saturday morning -- is so forgettable.
How's your bracket look?
Tournament Challenge: I'm in the 72nd percentile of the Daily Quickie Readers group. But I lost one Sweet 16 team (Creighton) and one Elite Eight team (Georgia Tech). This was NOT the year to take a flier on a few underdogs going long.
National Bracket: The collective wisdom of all fans' picks is outperforming 72 percent of all individual brackets. But here's something interesting: The two outright upsets that were predicted on the National Bracket -- Gonzaga and Georgia Tech -- didn't happen. Seems like the "collective wisdom" couldn't foresee that the first round would suck so badly.
See yesterday's Quickie post below for my picks and previews for today's games. Let's just say this: We BETTER get some upsets and/or fanstastic finishes.