Could the night time action produce the same type of drama as the day time?
Not so much
Action kicked off in the Southeast region with Florida, who completely dominated UCSB. SEC player of the year Chandler Parsons was the catalyst, dishing out 10 assists to go with his 10 points. Florida led 43-19 at the half and finished the game with four players scoring in double figures.
The 2nd seeded Gators will meet UCLA in the round of 32. The Bruins jumped out early on 10th seeded Michigan State and led by as many as 23 points with just under eight minutes left. Michigan State fought back, just like you'd expect from a Tom Izzo led team, but the furious comeback came up 2 points short. Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas had a chance to win the game with seconds remaining but traveled trying to get off a half court shot.
In the same pod as Florida, 3rd seeded BYU got under way with a game against Wofford. Jimmer-mania was in full effect as the All-American didnt disappoint. 32 points later, the Cougars were able to hold off the Wofford Terriers to earn a berth into the next round.
BYU's opponent will be 11th seeded Gonzaga, who upset the St. John's Red Storm. Steve Lavin's team has had a banner year in the Big East but the Red Storm had no answer for the front line and tournament experience of the Zags. Gonzaga dominated on the boards and in the paint en route to an impressive 15 point win.
In the upper part of that bracket, the popular "upset special" pick was Belmont over Wisconsin. Fortunately, they play games on the court and for Badger fans, that's a good thing. Wisky controlled the play early behind Joe Leuer and Jordan Taylor. In the 2nd half when the Bruins tried to make runs, Wisconsin got big plays from unlikely sources to hold back Belmont and win comfortably, 72-58.
The 4th seeded Badgers will take on the 5th seeded Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. Kansas State was also one of those teams that alot of "experts" thought could be upset given their matchup against 30 win team Utah State. Instead, behind a less then 100% Jacob Pullen, the Wildcats held off the WAC champion Aggies to move on in the tournament.
The last two games of the night were in the West Region. 3rd seeded UConn tipped off first and didnt break a sweat in dismantling Bucknell. Kemba Walker didnt have to be Superman in this game as the Huskies coasted. UConn is peaking at the right time after winning 5 games in 5 days in the Big East tournament and look to be a difficult out in the round of 32.
The 3rd seeded Huskies will meet their Big East counterparts Cincinnati Bearcats in the 3rd round. Cincinnati had no trouble dispatching of the 11th seeded Missouri Tigers. The Tigers had no answer for the size of the Bearcats, who used their interior strength and size to control the paint. Cincy outrebounded Missouri by 18 boards, including 10 offensively. The Bearcat defense also shutdown the Missouri perimeter game, which is 99.9% of the Tigers offense.
We now have one day of action in the books. I'm happy to announce that my bracket has absolutely been busted. I've lost one sweet sixteen team...Louisville... and one Elite Eight team... Michigan State. I also scored on only one of my upset picks... Gonzaga over St. John's. I did however miss with Belmont, Utah State and like everybody else, Morehead State.
How did you do after the first night?