California Polytechnical Institute started the 2013-2014 season losing their first 3 and floundered with a 4-9 record shortly after Christmas. But they righted the ship winning the Big West title on Saturday and held a 12 point lead in their play-in contest with Texas Southern. Mike Davis took his third different school to the Big Dance (Indiana when they were a 5 seed in 2002 and parlayed that to being national runner-up losing in Atlanta to Juan Dixon and newly minted Big Ten member Maryland along with UAB), but it was mostly the Aaric Murray Show–38 points on 14 of 23 shooting from the field, 3 of 5 behind the three-point line and 7 for 7 at the line. They are the second team with 19 losses to win an NCAA Tournament game–the first was Bradley when they ended up in the Elite Eight way back in 1955. If you are wondering who the last school was to win a Tournament game with a losing record, you don’t have to go too far. In the early days of Blackberry, it was the Grizzles of Oakland University (Michigan) in 2005.
Another key to the game was the Mustangs committing only one turnover. That’s called getting it done, my online friends. The rest of the Texas Southern starters finished 3 of 13, but the rest of the statistics were relatively even.
Really difficult day and night for Iowa
Earlier in the day, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffrey had to fly overnight from Dayton back to Iowa City to await the news starting after 5 a.m. Central Time that his 13 year son Patrick had a thyroid tumor removed. Hopefully, the tests will come out ok.
At first, it looked like the Hawkeyes were doing things very well. But, Tennessee got the rebounding going in the second half and caught the Hawks with Jarnell Stokes first of 2 made free throws with 2:40 left in regulation. When the overtime started, it appeared to drag in the first 2 minutes before Tennessee simply ran roughshod over Iowa outscoring the Hawkeyes 14 to 1. The final was 78-65, with nine of their final 10 points coming from the free-throw line. Roy Devyn Marble finished his college career with only seven points on the night but managed to score 1,687 points in his Big Ten career.
Are You Ready For Some Real Basketball Action?
Thursday morning is when the real tournament begins.
With the ‘play-in’ games finally a blur in our memory banks (at least for another year)…it is time to see whose brackets will have a fighting chance to linger into the first weekend.
My plan for covering the second and third rounds is simple…
Had CBS kept their exclusive rights to the Big Dance like they did from 1982 through 2010 (they took over from ESPN the first two afternoons starting in 1991), I would have given key blurbs on what was taking place through my eyes, what announcers and analysts were saying, and any other noteworthy sidebar notes or key tidbits involving the game action itself.
Instead, with all of the proliferation of mostly cable coverage on the three Turner owned outlets, I will blog twice a day (the key highlights or any buzzer beaters or upsets of a lower seed darling looking to crash our brackets) during the next four days.
My goal is to post a blog once in the late afternoon and again when the coverage is either concluded at night or in the rare instance where the last game of the night turned into a blowout by halftime.
IT IS TIME FOR THE REAL TOURNAMENT TO START!
Three simple words…I can’t wait.
See you then after Drew Carey has his little fun on The Price is Right.