What a long, long day of Madness. A summary of Day 1 of the Tourney.
BYU and Florida played in the longest game, BYU winning it 99-92 in 2OT, thanks to the 37 point performance of Jimmer Fredette. This was BYU's 30th win of the year, and the first in their school's history. BYU will face Kansas State, who won their 2 vs. 15 seed matchup, 82-62 over North Texas.
The most exciting game (in my opinion) came in the 4 vs. 13 match up between Murray State and Vanderbilt. Now, a few people on this site made sure to call this upset and thanks to the late-second heroics of Danero Thomas - whose buzzer beater lifted the Racers past Vandy 66-65 - made them look a little smarter today. Murray State faces off against #5 Butler, who also had a few betting against them, possibly being upset by UTEP in the 5/12 match up. A first half in which UTEP lead 33-27, was outscored by 24 in the second half and ended in a Bulldogs blowout.
Villanova found themselves in a heck of a lot more trouble than they expected today, not only winning close against #15 Robert Morris, but also having to play an extra five minutes to do so. Despite the efforts of Karon Abraham and Mezie Nwigwe, it was the foul troubles that ended up hurting Robert Morris most - 3 fouled out (2 of which before the OT started) while another 3 players ended with four personal fouls. Scottie Reynolds had another strong late performance and a last minute three vaulted Nova to the 73-70 win. St. Mary's will face Nova in the second round, after taking care of the Richmond Spiders. Omar Samhan had one of, if not the, best performances all day today with 29 points and 12 rebounds against Richmond and the Gaels won 80-71.
The Baylor Bears had a close one as well, playing #14 Sam Houston St., but in the last few minutes, they were able to pull away to a 9 point win. Baylor will face off against #11 Old Dominion who upset #6 Notre Dame 51-50. This was also a popular upset pick, and Frank Hassell's 15 point, 9 rebound performance is what the Monarchs needed (along with a missed 3 with two seconds left by Notre Dame to try and send it into OT) for the upset.
For the later games, Georgetown was the biggest shock in my mind (as I had them making the Sweet 16, and in most brackets, the Elite 8) going down to the Ohio Bobcats, the 5th place team in the Mid-American conference. Thanks to Bobcats' leading scorer Armon Bassett, who went 9-18 from the field, scoring 32 points - Ohio won 97-83 in a pretty dominant fashion. G'Town big man, Greg Monroe's double-double was not enough, and for a Hoyas team that looked so good in the Big East tournament, see themselves going down in the 1st round for the first time since the 96-97 season - the first 3 seed to lose in the 1st round since 2006.
San Diego State vs. Tennessee, another good 6 vs. 11 match up, had the Volunteers just being able to come out alive. A few costly turnovers along with some questionable calls handcuffed San Diego State enough to lose by the score of 62-59. J.P. Prince was the leading scorer for the Volunteers, and shot 5-9 from the field. UT will get to play Ohio on Saturday.
Marquette and Washington played a close one going back and forth for the entire 40 minutes, with 11 lead changes and 11 ties. Quincy Pondexter had one of his better 2nd halves of the season, ending up with 18 points and the game-winning lay-up with 1.7 left. The Golden Eagles had one chance, but it was a half-court heave that ended up being just short, and another 11 seed ends up on the winning side today.
An 8 vs. 9 matchup of UNLV and Northern Iowa was another close one, and it was Ali Farokhmanesh (5-9 3-pts, 17 points) that hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. UNLV had one more chance with 1.6 seconds, under their own basket, but the play did not surface, and the Rebels were left just short of advancing. UNI will now get Kansas next round, who defeated #16 Lehigh handily, even after a difficult first half, 90-74.
Kentucky looked like a #1 seed should, dominating right from the tip, and East Tennessee State proved to be no competition - 100-71. Wake and Texas were involved in yet another close game with the last seconds deciding the outcome. It also went back and forth all night long, and Texas' Damion James was able to tie it thanks to a blocking call that sent him to the line for two, even though traveling was obvious - James missed the 2nd free throw, however, and the game was sent to overtime. In OT, it was all Longhorns early - Wake Forest made some crucial turnovers in the first few minutes, letting Texas have an 8 point advantage with just over 2 minutes left. However, some late 3's and Ishmael Smith with a game-winning fadeaway jumper with 1.3 seconds left had the Deamon Deacons come away with a 81-80 victory. It will be Wake Forest vs. Kentucky on Saturday for the 2nd round.
New Mexico vs. Montana was the last game of the night, and like nearly all of them to this long day - it came out in single digits differential as well. Montana, behind center Brian Qvale, played a fantastic ball game, but ended up being just short of the victory. Qvale ended up with having himself a double-double game, including 26 points and 13 rebounds. But Darian Hobson (11 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) did enough for New Mexico to avoid another upset of the long night - winning 62-57. New Mexico will face #11 Washington.