Xavier the only other double digit seed to advance to Second Round
Sheryl Crow, “Be Myself”
From same album title as above song, released April 21, 2017
Very little substance to report after a crazy afternoon on Day One.
Caleb Swanigan had another double-double, his 27th in extending his Big Ten record and only three away from tying Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin when he had 30 double-doubles in 2008-09. Purdue’s Vincent Edwards had 21 points and was the game’s high scorer in a decisive 80-70 win over Vermont in Milwaukee.
Swanigan’s line was businesslike as it has been most of the season:
16 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and three blocked shots.
Vermont was led in scoring by 20 points on 9 of 12 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Purdue will next get Iowa State, as the 5 seed Cyclones got a nice game from Monte Morris who finished with 19 in a 84-73 victory over Nevada. The Cyclones shot 55.6 percent for the game, while the Wolfpack was mostly ice cold hitting on only 40 percent of their shots. Another key was the play of the bench, as the Boilermakers bench outscored Nevada’s bench by a blistering 20-4 margin.
It is one thing to bring the offense during the early rounds of the Big Dance, but for teams that can shut the other team’s high scorer–you have a very good chance to move on to the next round. Nevada was led in scoring by Cameron Oliver with 22 and Jordan Caroline chipping in with 20.
Xavier ends career of Melo Trimble at Maryland
The career of Melo Trimble has ended in a Terrapins uniform. He only had 13 points as his Maryland teammates gave up 41 in the second half as the Xavier Musketeers are looking to prove more people wrong as one of the last teams to make the field with a decisive 76-65 win at the Orlando pod. Maryland shot only 40.7 percent for the game, while Xavier hit on exactly 50 percent of their shots. Since this was a Power 5 conference game, this was not a seismic upset in terms of changing too many people’s brackets. In terms of historical significance, the 11 beating out the 6 again will add to the luster that has been going on since 1985.
Xavier will next draw Florida State, who ended the high-flying “Dunk City” squad of Florida Gulf Coast 86-80. Four Seminoles finished in double figures, led by Dwayne Bacon’s 25 points. FGCU was led by Brandon Goodwin with 28 and Zach Johnson with 17 points.
Defending champs trail for first 18:14, then turn on cruise control for easy win
Mount St. Mary’s had Villanova right where they wanted them–for a half, at least.
In spite of All-American candidate Josh Hart only having 11 points on the night in Buffalo, his teammates helped pick up the slack as Villanova outscored The Mount 46-27 in the second half en route to an easy 76-56 victory and a date with Wisconsin. The Badgers eeked out a close win over Virginia Tech 84-74, with Bronson Koenig again coming up large with a solid 28 point effort.
While You Were Sleeping
St. Mary’s outlasted VCU in Salt Lake City 85-77, while Arizona set a new team record for points scored in an NCAA Tournament game hitting the century mark in a 100-82 pasting of 15 seed North Dakota.
Final Thoughts on Day One
My picks, I was 12-4 to start:
I did not have Virginia beating UNCW, Maryland simply did not have enough firepower to get past Xavier, or Florida Gulf Coast over Florida State.
Equally surprising to me was Minnesota, since going in–I thought they would come out with a much better effort against Middle Tennessee State. I guess Head Coach Richard Pitino forgot to text Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo on how to stop the Blue Raiders’ high powered offense.
We will see come Saturday, but conventional wisdom says Butler should win decisively. But the game to watch will definitely be Northwestern against Gonzaga. Northwestern had to sweat all 40 minutes to get their win, while Gonzaga acted like Villanova–struggle for a half and then put things on cruise control the rest of the way.
Notre Dame vs. Virginia and St. Mary’s vs. Arizona might also be good theater as well.
Looking ahead to Friday, Erin Go Bragh in honor of St. Patrick’s Day:
- Michigan returns to the former site of the Big Ten Tournament as Bankers Life Fieldhouse plays to its’ first ever NCAA Tournament against the 10 seed of Oklahoma State to kick off the fun 15 minutes after The Price is Right wraps up another week at noon Eastern time on CBS.
- At 12:40 p.m. on truTV in Tulsa, it will be the 3 seed of Baylor against the 14 seed of New Mexico State. Will the Aggies give triple heartache everywhere in and around Waco, after Baylor has been unceremoniously knocked out in the first round each of the last two years?
- To kick off CBS in prime time shortly after 7 p.m., it will be the 10 seed of Wichita State going up against the 7 seed of Dayton. Will the Shockers come out firing like they have had most of the season? Again, the Dayton Flyers arrive in the tournament in pretty good shape–but will they manage to stay one step ahead when time gets short?
So far, the best thing I like is seeing each network be assigned one pod site each. CBS has Buffalo and Indianapolis, truTV has Milwaukee and Tulsa, while TNT is airing games from Orlando and Greenville, and TBS is stationed out West in Salt Lake City and Sacramento.
As I wrap up, a final pair of selfies taken early on from the evening session.
You can safely say I was definitely looking forward to rekindling one of my past loves of all things Pac-Man related (or are Q-Bert, Frogger, or Donkey Kong your thing, perhaps for people that are old enough to owning an Atari 2600 VCS should know exactly what I am talking about). The final pic is me following my current interest in following on the radio and especially streaming online for free when I get the chance, I have enjoyed reading some independent rock music magazines once the games ended.
See you all tomorrow.