After a wild Thursday, the 16 games played Friday were boring chalky affairs.
I didn't need a break? Did you need a break? Nobody called for a break in the action here. We were off to such a great start, too.
Every single high seed advanced Friday, save one. 6 seed Providence went down to Dayton in the last game of Friday night that became the first game of Saturday morning, ending around 2 a.m. Columbus, Ohio time. Who scheduled that thing? A drunk person?
And Dayton, man, talk about getting an absolute kiss from the Selection Committee. In two NCAA tourney games so far, Dayton has had to travel a whopping total of 71 miles. Head Coach Archie Miller's Flyers were given a literal home game in the First Round play-in game and then had to drive just an hour east for their Round of 64 and now Round of 32 games.
Dayton's win extends the streak of at least one of the play-in game participants winning their next game since the tournament expanded its field to 68 in 2011. Kansas fans are sure to remember 2011 when VCU, as an 11 seed, won their First Round play-in game and then kept on rolling, through KU in the Elite 8, all the way to the Final 4.
Yes, Friday was boring by comparison to Thursday, but at least we are done with those atrocious 1/16 games. Will we ever see a 16 take down a 1? We've seen a very small amount of close games in those 1/16 match-ups, but most of the time it's more akin to televised gladiatorialism.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FsqJFIJ5lLs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
What We Learned from Friday's Action
You can apparently be T-ed up for losing your temper with your own team, in your own huddle. That's new. If Providence head coach Ed Cooley's rather mild venting of his frustrations towards the end of his team's losing effort to Dayton is T worthy, then by comparison Bobby Knight should have been drug out to the middle of the court and publicly flogged by officials for the crap he used to pull with his own players...
The Midwest Region confirmed that it was the strongest in the field as it was the only one where all 8 top seeds held form and advanced...
Wisconsin may be the best jump shooting team I've ever seen...
And Chris Webber is right. The Wichita State Shocker does look like a pissed off Spongebob Squarepants...
Midwest Region: Sunday Round of 32 Games
4 Maryland - v - 5 West Virginia: Sunday, March 22, @ 7:40 p.m. (CT) on TNT
Maryland was outplayed by Valpo in the second half of Friday's contest. Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon's squad wasn't helped out by Jake Layman's terrible effort, but with that kind of team wide half-hearted performance they did not look like a team that will stand a chance against Kentucky if they make it to the Sweet 16.
Gotta hand it to West Virginia. I hate the way this team plays basketball. It's ugly, it's lucky, but it's effective. I'm kinda curious to see what this press could do to Kentucky. My feeling is that Kentucky would adjust and that West Virginia can't shoot well enough from the outside to do any actual damage to the Wildcats.
Winner: The Terps
2 Kansas - v - 7 Wichita State: Sunday, March 22, @ 4:15 p.m. (CT) on CBS
Here we go! This one is like Tyson-v-Holyfield, or more current, Mayweather-v-Pacquiao. In other words, it's a fight that is long overdue. Kansas and Wichita State went to back to back Final 4's a few years ago (2012 KU, 2013 WSU). Wichita State has begged for this match-up ever since. You want a shot at the title as best team in Kansas? Let's go then.
Kansas fans, how great was it to see Brannen Greene stroke multiple threes for the first time in about a month? That poor kid. He went from barely being able to miss to looking and sounding like he was throwing up medicine balls at the rim. Through it all, Bill just kept running him out there hoping he'd rediscover his shot. Let's hope that on Friday he did.
And how about some love for Landen Lucas? Self had to start him a few weeks ago out of necessity and in so doing Landen won the starting job for good. At 6'10", Lucas is the only Jayhawk with real size and length. Way to show up and play your best ball at the best possible time.
Wichita State's Van Vleet was balling his ass off against Indiana. He's the main reason the Shockers earned this long awaited shot at Kansas, because Wichita's other star, Ron Baker, played terrible. I wonder if Brannen Greene and Baker shook hands in the tunnel earlier in the day and had a Freaky Friday moment where they switched shooting touches. Baker was that bad. Don't count on him being so two games in a row. This Shockers roster has more tournament experience on it than the Jayhawks' roster. Should be tight. Should be fun.
Winmore's Midwest Region Record after the Round of 64: 5-3
West Region: Sunday Round of 32 Games
1 Wisconsin - v - 8 Oregon: Sunday, March 22, @ 6:45 p.m. (CT) on truTV
In the NCAA déjà vu bracket, Wisconsin will meet Oregon in the Round of 32 just as they did last year. It was in that game last year that Oregon just about ended Wisconsin's Final 4 run in the first weekend of the tournament. The Ducks put 49 points on the Badgers in the first half and held a 12 point lead going into the break. Wisconsin rallied for a huge 48 point half of their own, seemingly unable to miss late. Ducks' senior guard Joseph Young lit Wisconsin up for 29 points in last year's meeting. He'll be coming off a game where he just rung up 27 against Oklahoma State.
The Badgers had quite a bit of trouble with the Chanticleers speed in the first round. Coastal Carolina outscored Wisconsin 40-39 in the second half. The 16 seed had no one who could match Kaminsky's size and skill. He tore them up for 27 points and 12 boards. Kaminsky is Christian Laettner-esque in being that big and with those kind of athletic ball handling skills and footwork.
Oregon has no size to match Kaminsky. The Ducks are built for speed, but have much better athletes than Coastal Carolina. This one might be one of the best games of Sunday.
Winmore's West Region Record after the Round of 64: 6-2
East Region: Sunday Round of 32 Games
4 Louisville - v - 5 Northern Iowa: Sunday, March 22, @ 8:40 p.m. (CT) on TBS
The Cardinals got a fight from the Anteaters in the Round of 64. UC Irvine, in their first ever tournament appearance, played their hearts out in a losing effort. They had a chance for a tying possession before looking lost and taking too much time outside the three point arc. Louisville should count themselves lucky that they survived.
In beating Wyoming, Northern Iowa set a new school record for wins in a season with 31. Louisville had trouble with UC Irvine's size down low. Now, the Anteaters had a sky scraper in Mamadou Ndiaye at 7'6". Northern Iowa's biggest guy doesn't even go over 6-9, but the bulk of their scoring comes from big Seth Tuttle down low. The Cardinals have just been so up and down over the last half of the season and you saw why in their first game.
Winner: The Panthers
3 Oklahoma - v - 11 Dayton: Sunday, March 22, @ 5:10 p.m. (CT) on TNT
Last year Dayton made a surprise run to the Elite 8 as an 11 seed. This year, with a third straight home tournament game, Dayton looks poised to return to the second weekend once again. That partisan Dayton crowd was rocking in the wee hours of Saturday morning as the Flyers upset Providence.
They have to get by Oklahoma first. The Sooners did their part on Friday to help the Big 12 save a little face, but they looked lethargic in the second half against Albany. Oklahoma just loses their minds in their shot selection sometimes. It cost them twice against Iowa State. It almost cost them against a depleted Kansas team at home. The Sooners are ripe to lose their focus in front of this packed house of mostly Flyers fans. Another high seeded Big 12 team is about to bite the dust.
Winner: The Flyers
2 Virginia - v - 7 Michigan State: Sunday, March 22, @ 11:10 a.m. on CBS
‘Twas the mighty Izzo who slayed the Cavaliers' Final 4 dream last year in the Sweet 16 on his way to nearly making the 7th Final 4 of his legendary coaching career. Izzo's presence must have been in Virginia's head as they were sleep walking through their game against Belmont. That game was still in doubt with 3 minutes to go. Virginia has been playing just .500 ball over their last four games. The Spartans are playing their best ball of the season. Travis Trice is a senior. You know what Izzo does in the tournament with senior stars. With Nova going down in this region, we might be seeing another Izzo Final 4 run brewing.
Winmore's East Region Record after the Round of 64: 6-2
South Region: Sunday Round of 32 Games
1 Duke - v - 8 San Diego State: Sunday, March 22, @ 1:40 p.m. (CT) on CBS
Duke looked sensational in their practice game against the 16 seeded Robert Mo. That's not much to brag about, but with the way the Blue Devils had been biting the dust in their first game the last couple of seasons, their fan base was surely no less relieved to be done and on to the next round.
Jahlil Okafor's game is absolutely sick. He looked like he was toying with Robert Mo's defenders out there, holding the ball out with one hand, reaching over them for dunks. It looked like someone's older brother being a bully to a bunch of little kids on the playground.
The last time San Diego State coach Steve Fisher went up against Duke's Coach K, Fisher was leading his fabled Fab Five of freshman stars, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson into the National Title game against Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill and the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils all the way back in 1992.
Steve Fisher has built San Diego's program up from nothing, but he's yet to land that first big meaningful tournament win as Aztecs' coach. Taking down Duke would be huge. They will have to play an almost perfect game.
2 Gonzaga - v - 7 Iowa: Sunday, March 22, @ 6:10 p.m. (CT) on TBS
Gonzaga, do you guys ever truly want to make a deep run in the tournament? The nation has been told that you're going to make a run every year for almost two decades and you always flame out early. I want to believe in you, but there I was Friday night watching the same old Bulldogs fart around with an inferior opponent. North Dakota State's Chubby sophomore forward Dexter Werner (By the way, 6'6" apparently makes you a forward at a school like North Dakota) came off the bench for the Bison and absolutely worked the big guys of Gonzaga to the tune of 22 points.
Now here comes Iowa, after throttling Davidson in their opening game, with their star big man (who's actually big) Aaron White who just threw down 26 points. Gonzaga might be in trouble here.
In my pre-tournament West Region Rundown, I stated how I felt the bottom half of the South Region bracket appeared to be assembled with leftover teams that the Selection committee just shuffled into the corner. As such the bracket didn't waste any time in proving me right as it proceeded to fold in on itself like a pillow soft towel. It now has an 11 seeded UCLA team that shouldn't have even been in the field sitting in the Sweet 16.
Gonzaga shouldn't like to see that, because the last time they made it to the Sweet 16 with a so called Final 4 caliber team with Adam Morrison (2006) it was UCLA who broke their hearts. Remember? The Gus Johnson "Batista with the CATCH!!" game.
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sgeqrYxu_YM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
God, I miss Gus Johnson calling these games...
Anyway, if Gonzaga blows this golden chance staring them in the face this year it will be even worse than that game was. My gut tells me to pick Iowa here, but... One last time Gonzaga. I swear to God this is it though. My mid-major loving heart can't take you dogs breaking it no mo.
Winmore's South Region Record after Round of 64 Games: 2-6 Just absolutely killing my win percentage South Region.