Five very close endings to close out first full night of Big Dance

You have to really feel for schools like Purdue, Eastern Washington, LSU, Harvard, and Wofford.

Each of those schools did not quit easily, but nearly pulled off more lower seed upsets.  We have seen six (including the one from Dayton) games decided by one point–which I believe is a new NCAA Tournament record.

The toughest clashes were in two pods:

In Louisville, Purdue led by two at the end of regulation and Cincinnati hit a circus shot where it bounced several times before dropping into the hoop.  The Boilers then cooled off, failing to score in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the extra session before the Bearcats pulled one out by a 66-65 close shave victory.

The other near cliffhanger was at the Moda Center in Portland…

I think Wofford ended up taking too much time to try and hit a game-tying three.  The first shot went in and out, and the second shot just before the buzzer grazed off the left side of the rim.  Arkansas escapes with more than their boots on slipping by the same school that shocked Notre Dame several years ago in the first round by a slim 56-53 final.  North Carolina held off a feisty comeback attempt by Harvard in the final game at Jacksonville.

Otherwise, form pretty much held as Utah was a bit better than Stephen F. Austin, VCU lost for the second straight year in the opening round–this time to Ohio State 75-72 in overtime.  Likewise, the same can be said about Eastern Washington which hung with Georgetown for most of the way before finally succumbing to the Hoyas in a narrow 84-74 decision which wrapped up the first full day at about 1:10 a.m. Eastern time on truTV, some 40 minutes after CBS went off to local news.

And yes, Kentucky was not challenged much as they went to 35-0 in outpacing Hampton over the final 30 minutes in cruising to an easy 79-56 win.

My picks did pretty well in the day, but mostly sucked at night–so I am currently batting .500 at 8 up and 8 down.

Friday’s games to watch include…

2:45 p.m. Wichita State vs. Indiana in Omaha.  The fourth Indiana school to appear in this year’s Big Dance, so far the Hoosier State is 2-1, with Valparaiso to come on at around 4:45 Eastern time on TNT from the Columbus pod.

In prime time, skip Duke and watch Iowa battle Davidson.  I think the Wildcats might surprise the Hawkeyes, but we will see how that game turns out.

Also late on Friday night, I will have your complete Third Round TV schedule–so please look for that then.  Please have yourselves a great night.

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