NCAA Tournament: 2nd Round Preview & 1st Round Recap

Last Updated: March 20th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

March Madness has struck hard in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. There were plenty of exciting games and a few big upsets that surely have busted many people’s brackets. The unexpected is inescapable as we head into the second round of the tournament. Taking a look at how some of the team’s have played there are many things to evaluate after round one to give everyone an idea of what to expect in the days to come. We will take a look at the teams that looked good and those that really struggled in their opening performances. The biggest shocker of the opening round came from last nights upset where 13 seed Cleveland State took down a former number 1 from earlier this season no. 4 seed Wake Forest in a big win 84-69. Cleveland State dominated the game becoming the lowest seed to win in the first round.

One of the most interesting aspects of the opening round was how the Big East teams that really disappointed. The heralded conference put 9 teams in the top 25 at once this season and many thought they would really shine in the NCAA Tournament including some of our predictions. However, the majority of these schools underperformed to say the least. No. 6 seed West Virginia lost to the Dayton Flyers in a shocking defeat. Dayton controlled the entire part of the game and West Virginia never really got any type of rhythm knocking off one of the teams from the Big East that many figured would make a solid run in the tournament.

While the Mountaineers were the only Big East School to actually get beat, there were a few others that barely escaped upsets. One of our teams to watch for the NCAA Tournament which is the Marquette Golden Eagles held on in an exciting clutch win over 11 seed Utah State 58-57. Utah State held the Golden Eagles to their second lowest scoring total of the season narrowly missing what would have been a huge upset for the Aggies. Another Big East school that did not overly impress was the Villanova Wildcats at least for one half of play. Villanova trailed 14 seed American by 10 points at the half. However the Wildcats did come out and play well in the 2nd half coming back to win by 13 points. Still the performance was anything but convincing. These two schools were really expected to shine well in the Tournament, but have left many wondering if they will be able to make it past the next round.

The no. 6 seed UCLA Bruins barely escaped an embarrassing upset from Virginia Commonwealth. The Bruins only got 5 points from their entire bench in the disappointing performance and they will take on Villanova in round 2. After two disappointing performances from both teams, it will be interesting to see who steps up and plays like they were expected entering the tournament.

Nearly all the number 1 and 2 seeds took care of business like expected in the opening rounds. Pittsburgh beat East Tennessee State by only 10 points which was the closest margin of victory for any top seeded team. Number 2 rated teams Duke, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Michigan State all won without many problems. There was also not a single loss from the number 3 and 4 seeded teams outside of Wake Forest in the opening round.

Breaking down some of the most impressive teams in the first round were mainly some of the teams from out west residing in the Pac-10. No. 12 seed Arizona was one of the lowest rated seeds to pull off a first round upset over no. 5 seed Utah. The Wildcats strong showings from Nic Wise and Chase Budinger as they controlled the game from start to finish. There were many people who felt like Arizona was one of the least deserving teams to make the Tournament after losing 5 of their last 6 games of the season. However, the Wildcats silenced those critics from selection Sunday with a very impressive 84-71 victory as they move on to play Cleveland State.

The USC Trojans were another member from the Pac-10 that really looked good on Friday. USC hammered Boston College on Friday by a score of 72-55. Taj Gibson, DeMar DeRozan, and Dwight Lewis combined for more points than the entire Boston College team with 62 points. The Trojans momentum from the Pac-10 Tournament has definitely carried over into the NCAA Tournament and they could give Michigan State all they can handle in round 2. Do not be surprise if the momentum continues and they pull off another big win.

Another team to keep on the radar this week is Texas A&M. The Aggies looked strong in their 79-66 win over BYU on Thursday. Junior forward Bryan Davis led the scoring effort knocking down 21 points in the win over BYU. Unfortunately, Texas A&M gets no. 1 seed Connecticut next diminishing any big hopes for the run to continue. However, if Texas A&M can come out playing well they are the type team that could present problems for Connecticut. While an upset over top rated Connecticut seems near impossible, don’t be surprised if the Aggies hang around for a while. The question is how long will they be able to hang with the Huskies?

In final notes there were few more teams that came away from the opening two days on high praises. Late last night Wisconsin pulled off an overtime thriller against a solid Florida State team 61-59. Western Kentucky pulled off an upset of their own 76-72 over the Fighting Illini of Illinois These two teams were part of another group that many expected to a one and out, but will never have chances to continue their season. Be sure to check back in after the round two games as we will have a full break down of the sweet sixteen with a more in depth preview of what to expect as the tournament progresses.

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Posted in NBA Basketball, NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Friday, March 20th, 2009 @ 1:33 am (EST)
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