NCAA Tournament Day 1 Recap

Everyone’s brackets busted? I feel fortunate to have only missed four today, but it cost me two of my Elite Eight’s with Baylor and Iowa State both losing during the first session of games.

What a day with a tournament record five games being decided by one point. First time since 1995 that two 14 seeds beat No. 3 seeds. The Big 12 went 0-3 and the state of Texas went 0-5 while the state of Ohio went 3-0 and 4-0 overall for the tournament.

How about my Dawgs!

Who would have thought Butler’s eight-point win over 11-seed Texas would be considered convincing on this day? It was and Butler advances to face in-state rival Notre Dame for a chance at the Sweet 16 Saturday night at 9:40p EDT on TBS.

The Bulldogs went 11 minutes without a field goal and also missed 15 straight shots during the game. As we have come to know through these NCAA Tournament appearances Butler defense is what carries them through. Butler shot 33 percent for the game but defensively held Texas to 34 percent.

A pair of Longhorns, Jonathan Holmes, and Isaiah Taylor tried to singlehandedly bring their team back. Holmes scoring at will to the end the first half and Taylor at the end of the game. Fortunately Butler got some key stops with the defense and Kellen Dunham hit a key 3 with about 1:18 to go to put the Bulldogs safely in front. Coach Chris Holtmann seeing Alex Barlow was having trouble guarding Taylor, switched Kam Woods on the Texas guard and Woods’ length appeared to make the stop needed.

The question mark heading into Saturday night’s game with the Irish – the health of Roosevelt Jones. In the second half, Jones landed wrong and looked to have hurt his knee. The Bulldogs’ next-man-up approach had Kelan Martin take Jones place. The freshmen did an admirable job scoring seven points, including a crucial three-point play. Jones did return and hit a key basket to help extend Butler’s second half lead. It appeared Jones had a brace on his knee and it has been reported he will have treatments through most of the off day today.

Butler looks to extend its current win streak against the Irish with a win Saturday. The Bulldogs haven’t lost to Notre Dame since 1989 and have won six straight.

While watching the game this afternoon yes the Texas front line outrebounded Butler, but for all the height it gave little production offensively, which dumbfounds me. For one of the rare times, Butler was outrebounded today by a 41-28 margin.

Controversial call

I’ll fully admit goaltending is one of those calls I am glad I never had to deal with when I officiated. The ending of the UCLA-SMU game may have the NCAA look to the international rules of playing the ball off the rim. It looked somewhat close that Yanick Moreira touched the ball as it approached the rim from Bryce Alford’s 3-point attempt to win the game, but it was too close to call. NCAA men’s basketball officiating coordinator John Adams said in a TV interview, “I’ve looked at it as many times as you, I’ll you this: I don’t know how you’d know if it had hit the rim, that it wouldn’t have bounced up and somehow worked its way in. We’re now at the hypothetical once the ball is touched.”

Father and sons

Georgia State’s Ron Hunter and his son RJ had the most exciting moment of the day as the younger Hunter drained the game-winning three from his home in Atlanta to defeat favored Baylor, 57-56. The elder Hunter coached the game sitting on a stool on wheels after suffering torn Achilles tendon during the team’s celebration on Sunday.

The other father-son combination in the tournament was in the controversial ending game in Louisville between UCLA-SMU as Alford showed he could shoot it just like his father/coach Steve Alford. The younger Alford connected on nine 3s for the game and a game-high 27 points to lead the Bruins. It’s also an Alford family record now. Steve made seven in the 1987 national championship game against Syracuse.

These teams Dale Brown-ed it today:

Iowa State

Baylor

Purdue

Well if we are going to talk about blowing leads in NCAA Tournament games and tag the headline Dale Brown – might as well throw in the team he coached to get this – LSU and it’s blown lead and eventual loss to North Carolina State

We shocked the world today:

Georgia State

UAB

We got a scare but won:

Notre Dame

North Carolina

Arkansas

We proved the basketball pontiffs wrong today:

Butler

Xavier

Georgetown

Utah

UCLA though controversial as Jim Rome says “scoreboard negates any argument you may have.”

The Big East was said to be weak despite being ranked the No. 2 conference heading into the tournament and here they went 4-0 on the first full day of the tournament with the three teams predicted to lose and Villanova with the more convincing win of the two No. 1 seeds which played today.

We did what we were supposed to do:

Villanova

Arizona

Game of the Day:

To me, the game of the day was Ohio State over VCU in the first overtime game of the tournament. As expected D’Angelo Russell guided the Buckeyes to the win over the Rams. The freshmen led Ohio State with 28 points and six rebounds. Shannon Scott and Russell forced VCU to abandon its patented “havoc” defense as they executed it at will throughout the second half. The Buckeyes trailed by as many as 12 points in the game. You have to wonder though if Briante Webber hadn’t torn his MCL and ACL what kind of run the Rams could have made this month for Coach Shaka Smart.

Note before bed: Butler student-athletes doing what Butler student-athletes do when participating in the NCAAs – The Butler Way

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One thought on “NCAA Tournament Day 1 Recap

  1. Good observations. But you forgot to scorch the SWC or Big 12. Arguably the strongest conference by some pundits. They went what….0- for the day!

    Like

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