Monday, March 21, 2011

Opening stanza sets a high bar for the rest of the dance

As always the one event in sports that you can count on to never disappoint is the NCAA Tournament and opening weekend had more that its share of close games, tears, buzzer beaters and upsets. It would be hard to chose one game that was the game of the weekend but here’s what we went with:

Biggest upset: Morehead State over Louisville. A Big East favorite and ubiquitous bracket buster Rick Patino’s group looked like it had its table set with just Morehead, and Vandy standing in their way before a showdown with Kansas, that many had as their upset special. Not sure if they got caught looking ahead but Rick didn’t take much time mourning as he was on the CBS set the next day providing his analysis on what OTHER teams should do.

Best last second finish: Without question Butler over Pittsburgh. If the game would have finished with the with the final Butler field goal it would have gone down as one of the greatest first weekend games played in recent years, but the final two seconds will live in infamy forever if for anything else for the dumbest foul in tournament history to be dethroned less than a second later by the “new” dumbest foul in history.

Biggest surprise appearance in the Sweet 16: Tie between Richmond and VCU. Five years from now when the tournament field increases to 96 or 206 there will be a trivia question on who was the only “first four” school to make it to the Sweet 16 and the answer will be VCU, the team that was the most scrutinized for even being in the dance. Meanwhile another school from Virginia has the opportunity to shock the hoops world as they move on to take on Kansas, one of the favs to win the whole thing.

Best Game of the weekend: As always, some amazing completion but anytime a number one goes down before they get a chance to change hotels that’s the top story and this year it’s Butler doing it again as only they can do. Honorable mention: how apropos with the ‘Fab 5’ documentary was the final rematch between Duke and Michigan, and then it came down to the final shot. Would have loved to see the runner drop just to see 5 more minutes of that intensity.

Who looked the best: Ohio State two blowouts, grant it as a number one that’s what you expect but everyone else seems to be working hard for the money but the Buckeyes look the most complete but they will be tested next week against a young Kentucky team.

Biggest Disappointment: The Big East. The most teams ever admitted from one conference and the most ever to be eliminated by the weekend as only 2 of the 11 Big Easy schools, and those two teams advanced to the sweets by beating OTHER big East teams. I realize one can make the argument, and we proposed the question here, that perhaps they beat up on themselves so much that there was nothing left in the tank for an after hours dance but if you’re supposed to be “all that and a bag of chips” then at least get to .500 over two games.

Which were your favorites of opening weekend? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

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