Wichita State 86, Seton Hall 66 [72 possessions] – Amid all of the Selection Show hullabaloo, it was mostly lost that Seton Hall had quite a shaky case for an at-large. With a bid seemingly on the line, they went to MSG and got beat easily by Rutgers. Wichita State has a great chance to get by Tennessee and into the Sweet 16. Later in the day, Dick Enberg drinks the Billy Packer Kool-Aid and states that this was an upset. Um, it wasn’t an upset by seeding or according to Vegas. Big East 0-1.
UW Milwaukee 82, Oklahoma 74  – Tim Brando noted how Oklahoma’s four consecutive one-point victories prepared them well for the rigors of NCAA Tournament play. I realize that’s a common notion, but all those close wins did was obscure the cracks in Oklahoma’s defensive infrastructure and make this seem like more of an upset than it was.
Boston College 88, Pacific 76 [71, 2OT] – BC’s defense had a so-so performance. Pacific settled for 3s a lot more than usual, but got a series of open looks at the end of regulation and in the first overtime. The Eagles are fortunate to move on, and now only have to beat Montana to make it to week 2.
Tennessee 63, Winthrop 61  – A ton of people were calling for the upset in this one and it nearly happened. Tennessee is going nowhere in this tournament.
Alabama 90, Marquette 85  – Jean Felix has been a bricklayer most of the season (29.6% from 3 coming in), but he returned to his 2005 form (45.3%) for one game with 31 points on 8-of-11 from 3. Big East 0-2.
Florida 76, South Alabama 50  – Along with UCLA, the most impressive performance of the day. The Gators big men, Al Horford and Joakim Noah, combine for 12 assists.
Montana 87, Nevada 79  – The most surprising outcome of the day, in my opinion. Montana torches Nevada for 57.1% in eFG terms.
UCLA 78, Belmont 44  – Total and utter destruction. Power to the Pac 10! Belmont’s Boomer Herndon, the national OR% champ, grabs only one offensive rebound during the game, a put-back that helped build an early 18-12 lead. The losing Bruins shot 32.2% eFG.
LSU 80, Iona 64  – Kudos to Iona for hanging in for a half. LSU coasts to victory with only 19 minutes of Tyrus Thomas.
George Washington 88, UNC Wilmington 85 [71, OT] – GW puts together a 19-0 run in the second half to overcome an 18-point deficit. You have to think Duke would have much rather faced the more methodical and perimeter-oriented UNCW.
Gonzaga 79, Xavier 75  – A high-scoring close game. Who would have guessed that? The Zags overcame serious foul trouble to Raivio and Batista to pull this out late. The notable moment during this game was when a “Tournament Summary” graphic indicated the Big East was 2-0 so far. Is Billy P. moonlighting on the CBS production crew?
Illinois 78, Air Force 69  – Seeing all of the possession stuff in SI made me think the movement was gaining momentum. But it took exactly seven minutes of CBS tournament coverage for Clark Kellogg to blurt out that Air Force had a tremendous defense as evidenced by their nation leading points per game total. Truth is, the Falcons’ defense rarely holds up against a decent offense, and that was their undoing in this one. Now the Air Force offense, that’s something to admire. A 115 offensive efficiency against the 14th-best defense, and doing it by getting one offensive rebound for the whole game? There isn’t another team this side of Morgantown that could have pulled that off.
Texas A&M 66, Syracuse 58  – If you want a true example of a team that wins with D, it’s Texas A&M. Should be a fun game against LSU. Big East 0-3.
Indiana 87, San Diego State 81  – These two were the circus clowns of the field. Both teams are occasionally entertaining, but you can’t take either seriously. And the last 25 seconds were representative of that notion, with bad and occasionally stupid play resulting in a thrilling finish.
Duke 70, Southern 54  – A systematic victory. But Duke did get outrebounded by Southern (38.1% to 36.0%) and committed more turnovers (20 to 16).
Washington 75, Utah State 61  – Theoretically, a very interesting battle of styles between fast Washington and slow Utah State. The game action left a lot to be desired. At the 15:00 mark, it was 2-0 Washington. The UW victory creates a battle of second-tier heavyweights on Saturday as the Huskies tangle with Illinois.