WATERCOOLER CHAT: NCAA TIPS OFF

BASKETBALL

In college basketball, the field of 64 officially tipped off.  Just like last year, it was covered on 4 networks so people could see every single game of the day.

In the early part of the day, #11 looked to pull an upset over #6 Butler.  They were one of people’s favorite Cinderella candidates.  They gave it a good push, but in the end, Butler was simply more fluid and able to escape with a victory.  Butler 68, Bucknell 56.

Another Cinderella candidate, #14 Davidson was looking good against #3 Marquette.  It looked like they had them on the ropes, as they were up by a healthy 4 points with just under a minute to go.  But nerves got to Davidson and they made some horrendous mistakes down the stretch (like throwing the ball out of bounds) and gave Marquette the ball down by only 1 with 6 seconds to go.  Their point guard Vander Blue easily drove to the basket, got an easy bucket, and staved off an embarrassing defeat.  Marquette 59, Davidson 58.

Then it was time for the first #1 seed, Gonzaga, to get started.  There was a lot of hype surrounding the Zags heading into the tournament, and a tight game with #16 Southern certainly didn’t help their case as a dominant team.  This game came down to the final few minutes, but in the end Kelly Olynk took over and ensured that the Zags avoided a HUGE upset.  Gonzaga 64, Southern 58.

And in the evening, we got a glimpse of “Havoc”, otherwise known as Shaka Smart’s VCU team.  This team has an aggressive and impressive defense that can destroy opponents if they’re not ready for it.  They absolutely crushed the shellshocked Akron Zips by an alarming 46 points.  And VCU is a #5 seed taking on a pretty good Akron team.  Now, VCU looks like a team that could not only advance to the Final 4, but actually win this whole thing.  But, before they do, they have a very difficult second round game against #4 seed Michigan — a team that looks like they’re back to their true form from the beginning of the season.  VCU 88, Akron 42.

Finally, the big shocker of the day came from #14 Harvard vs. #3 New Mexico.  New Mexico has a very strong team this year, and planned to make a Final Four run.  Meanwhile, Harvard has never won an NCAA Tournament game.  But they came ready to play, and were hitting three-pointers lights out.  New Mexico made a few runs to get back into the game, but Harvard never got rattled, and just kept making their shots.  When the buzzer sounded, Harvard was on top and earned a trip to the second round against Arizona.  Wow!  Harvard 68, New Mexico 62.

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