WATERCOOLER CHAT: MARCH MADNESS UNDERWAY, WILLIAMS SIGNS HUGE CONTRACT WITH BILLS

BASKETBALL

Thursday, March Madness was underway.  A few highlights:

#1 Seed Syracuse was hoping for a big run in this tournament, but right before the tourney, their star big man, Fab Melo, was declared ineligible to play in the Big Dance.  People expected that Syracuse would stumble without this guy, as they did in the regular season when they were sans Melo, but nobody thought they would have such a difficult time against #16 seed UNC Ashville. Asheville didn’t let up all game.  Just when Syracuse thought they had them shook, they would tie it up with a big 3.  This game came down to the wire.  There were some controversial ref calls down the stretch, including a lane violation called against Asheville (a rare penalty), but, in the end, the Syracuse Orange prevailed and will move on to play Kansas State in the second round.  Syracuse 72, UNC Asheville 65.

Elsewhere, last year’s big surprise Cinderella story, VCU, took the court hoping to show that their incredible run was no fluke.  Their first test was against a very pesky #5 Wichita State team. Wichita State was the darling of a lot of experts, thinking that they had a possibility to be THIS year’s Cinderella.  Could new Cindy beat old Cindy?  VCU got out to a big lead, and maintained it for most of the first half and into the second. Bradford Burgess had a spectacular night with 16 points and 5 rebounds.  But, Wichita came back, and even took the lead towards the end.  So, it was up to Burgess again, and he hit a clutch 3-pointer to help the VCU Rams hold on and advance to the second round.  VCU 62, Wichita State 59.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, one of the best defensive players in the league has found a new home.  Back in 2006, when the Houston Texans drafted Defensive End Mario Williams OVER both Reggie Bush and quarterback Vince Young (both celebrity college athletes at the time), they were thought to be crazy.  But, the Texans got the last laugh as Williams developed into one of the most feared defensive players by opposing NFL quarterbacks.  But, for money reasons, the Texans had to let Williams go on the free agent market.  They weren’t willing to pay his salary, and have other plans for their team, as some of their younger defensive players are really starting to develop.  Mario Williams is a big name out there, which is why it was strange that a smaller team, the Buffalo Bills, decided to give him a huge contract.  This was a statement signing for the Bills, showing their fan base that they are serious about winning.  The Bills enjoyed a re-emergence early last season, but completely lost it down the stretch.  With Williams, the Bills actually stand a chance in the AFC.

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