Wow, yesterday sure made up for Thursday. We got our biggest upset of Round 1: Cleveland State over Wake Forest. Like most of the country, I had Wake to the Sweet 16 -- but they played like they didn't know they were in the NCAA Tournament. Was this really the same team that looked like the best in the country back in January?
Meanwhile, this tournament needed a signature upset: 13 over 4 qualifies, although it didn't FEEL like an upset during the game itself-- if only because the Vikings dominated from start to finish. Honestly, I'm kicking myself for not recognizing that Wake had been totally slumping recently.
And the late-evening games yesterday were terrific -- I know that the 8/9 game is sort of vestigial (won't the winner lose to the 1-seed anyway?), but the Siena-Ohio State game was terrific. I actually think the Saints will give Louisville a hell of a game.
You know my biggest bracket bust-up of the day: West Virginia ousted by Dayton. I took WVU to the Elite Eight -- who knew the 'Eers would decide to simply not show up for the first round?
In the first round, I went 25-7. At this point, the "How's your bracket?" shifts to how many Sweet 16 teams you have remaining (I have 14). For the record, Barack Obama went 19-13. Yikes. (To his credit, he still has 14 of 16 Sweet 16 teams remaining.)
My biggest games of the day are the first one -- UCLA-Nova (I have UCLA winning) -- and the last one -- Duke-Texas (I have Texas winning).
By the way, my whole "Big East will rule" theory sort of fell apart yesterday. West Virginia didn't show up. Pitt was nearly upset by a 16-seed (and certainly didn't look like a team that can/will win 6 straight).
If there was a big winner of the first round, it's the Big 12: Wins by Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Texas A&M. Obviously, we need to see how many teams from each league make the Sweet 16 to really gauge strength, but the Big 12 could land up to 4 of the spots.
I think the 2nd round is going to be a great slate of games. Even if Thursday was mostly drama-free, I think the difference between the 32 teams playing today and tomorrow just isn't that big -- I expect unpredictable results. What more can you ask for?