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Monday, March 22, 2010

2010 NCAA Tournament: First weekend recap

Best games:

  1. Murray St. 66, Vanderbilt 65: This game was close throughout but a shot at the buzzer showed everyone what March Madness is all about.
  2. Wake Forest 81, Texas 80 (OT) - What makes a game great? Overtime: check.  Furious comeback: check.  Buzzer beater: check.  Basically Texas collapsed in the extra session but it still made for edge of the seat entertainment.
  3. Michigan St. 85, Maryland 83 - Four lead changes in the final minute without a single timeout taken? WOW!  How did Delvon Roe know to duck under that pass?
  4. BYU 99, Florida 92 (2OT) - Double overtime? No further explanation necessary.
  5. Purdue 65, Texas A&M 63 (OT) - An eleven point defecit erased in the second half to force OT.  If you like low scoring defensive games then this was right down your alley.  Purdue's man with the blue tongue scored the winning basket with under five seconds remaining.

Biggest upsets:
  1. Northern Iowa over Kansas: Did Kansas read any scouting reports?  I think not.  Either way, they dug themselves a hole and not even their full-court press could save them in the end. Ali Farokhmanesh's name will live forever in Cedar Falls.
  2. Ohio over Georgetown: A team that wasn't even supposed to win their Mid-Major conference tournament annihilates a good Big East squad? Don't say you weren't warned.
  3. Cornell over Wisconsin: It's not the end result that's so surprising but the means they went about it. Kentucky has their work cut out for them.
Best players:
  1. Evan Turner, Ohio St.: Nearly posted a quadruple double versus Georgia Tech (24-9-9 and 9 turnovers).
  2. John Wall, Kentucky: Has proven to be as good as the media said he was all year.
  3. Omar Samhan, Saint Mary's: One of the nation's best big men has finally gotten some national attention. His game against Villanova was just dominant (32 points on 13-16 shooting) including a block to seal the game.
Best teams:
  1. Kentucky: Made Wake Forest look like a team from the Colonial.
  2. Syracuse: Arinze Onuaku or no, this team looks as good as they have all season. 
  3. Duke: A lot of people questioned them getting a #1 seed.  A win over Purdue should put that to rest.
Underdog with the best chance to win this weekend:
  1. Northern Iowa: Knocking off the best team in the country got everyone's attention.  Now they get to play Michigan St. who's missing their best player.  Do you think Basketball Prospectus feels vindicated for listing the Panthers 17th in their championship rankings in February?
  2. Washington: For most of the season the Huskies were underperforming.  Isn't this the same team that lost in a close battle for a chance to make the Sweet 16 last season?  Until the Pac-10 Tournament the answer was no.  Now it's a resounding yes.  West Virginia could be in trouble.
  3. Saint Mary's: Baylor big man Ekpe Udoh will have his hands full with the Sand Man.  The Gaels are are facing that doesn't defend the three especially well so it's possible.
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