March Madness is once again upon us! This is the time of year when the bright spotlight is on college basketball and all of the drama, excitement and heartbreak that it brings. Whether you root for a ‘blue blood’ team with a rich, championship past (think UNC, UCLA, Kentucky) or you root for an underdog, the tournament provides plenty of entertainment and upsets for even people who don’t follow sports.
Here is a recap of the crazy, historic, upset filled first day of the tournament.
Georgia State Panthers (upsetting Baylor): The Baylor Bears came into the Big Dance as a 3 seed in the West hoping to make some noise and to eventually have a chance to show the naysayers that they deserved their high seeding. Georgia State had other plans. Led by head coach Ron Hunter‘s son, R.J. Hunter, the Panthers overcame a 12 point deficit in the second half to upset the Bears. Georgia State will now face Xavier on Saturday. Along with the upset, the game produced an already classic Vine of head coach Hunter falling out of his ‘coaching seat.’
UAB Blazers (upsetting Iowa State): The Blazers pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far by knocking off the Cyclones. More than a few “basketball heads” had Iowa State as their sleeper to make it to the Final Four. Coming in with a young team and a “we have nothing to lose” attitude, UAB played loosely the entire game. The Blazers will now play the…..
UCLA Bruins (upsetting SMU): Aided by a controversial goal tending call, the Bruins were able to knock off the Mustangs in a 60-59 nail biter. The SMU head coach Larry Brown was livid after the head referee explained that the goal tending call was non-reviewable, you be the judge.
SMU did have a few more shots late to win or tie the game, but ultimately came up short.
Most Impressive Teams from the first day
Kentucky Wildcats (1 seed in the Midwest Region): After putting away a feisty Hampton Pirate squad, the Kentucky Wildcats are now sitting at 35-0. The Wildcats have a chance to go down in history as one of the (if not the) greatest college basketball team of all time. The last men’s NCAA team to go undefeated for a whole season was the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers. This Kentucky team is led by star big men Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Anthony Towns. Standing at 7’0 and 6’11 respectively, this Kentucky front court is the best in the country. They both are very athletic shot blockers and are dominant on the glass for the #1 ranked Wildcats. Plus, the two big men are talented on the offensive end as well. But they are only the beginning of match-up nightmares for other teams. Head coach John Calipari and his Kentucky squad can go 10 players deep in the rotation – including another talented big man, Trey Lyles. With 3 or 4 players in the Kentucky lineup slated to maybe become lottery picks in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft, this team is still the overwhelming favorite to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.
Arizona Wildcats (2 seed in the West Region): Playing on the west coast (which means later game starts on TV for basketball watchers on east coast); the Arizona Wildcats come into the tournament relatively unheralded. Led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and star freshman Stanley Johnson, the Wildcats showed that they have the firepower and personnel to potentially give Kentucky a good game down the road in the Final Four. Arizona was too athletic, too deep and had too many weapons for Texas Southern to keep up. Arizona will face Ohio State on Saturday, who are led by freshman D’Angelo Russell.
Villanova Wildcats (1 seed in the East Region): With Villanova playing a soft schedule in a weakened Big East conference, many felt that the Villanova Wildcats number 1 seeding was the shakiest out of the four number 1 seeds. However, Villanova showed why they were one of college basketball best teams all year. They pummeled the over matched Lafayette Leopards by 41 points. All five starters scored in double figures. With stars such as JayVaughn Pinkston and Ryan Arcidiacono, similar to Kentucky, this Villanova roster can go 8-9 players deep without missing a beat. Next up for Nova is the Wolfpack of NC State.
Other first day results:
East Region winners
Midwest Region winners
South Region winners
West Region winners
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