- There were TWO #15 over #2 upsets on Friday. That's right. Two in the same day. Early in the day, Missouri went down down in a heap with an 86-84 shoot-out loss to Norfolk State. Norfolk shot 54% from field, 52% on threes and won the rebounding battle 35-23 including a huge and-1 off of an offensive rebound late in the game. Kyle O'Quinn had 26 points and 14 boards to lead the Spartans, and despite the best efforts of the Missouri guards, they couldn't get any stops in this one and couldn't get over Kim English's no-show (1 of 7 FG, 2 points). And later, Duke fell at the hands of Lehigh by a score of 75-70. This one was a little less shocking to me (and most that I've seen comment on both) because of Duke's track record as a team that is so heavily reliant on the jump shot, making them upset-prone. The Blue Devils shot just 6 of 26 from three and Lehigh shot 37 free throws in this one to seal it. Craziness.
- The "lesser" upsets were out there as well. Michigan took a dive against Ohio in a game that saw the Bobcats shoot 51% from the field and lead throughout, while Temple got decimated in the second half in their 58-44 loss to South Florida. You won't see a less entertaining/worse half of basketball than you did between Temple and USF in the first half, but USF made plays in the final 20 minutes.
- There was a selection of more closely-seeded games that went to the wire headlined by Xavier outlasting Notre Dame 67-63. In one of the craziest calls you'll ever see, the Irish were whistled for a lane violation on a late free throw, and sadly that's what will be remembered in this one despite an entertaining 40 minutes. Purdue fended off a huge late charge by St. Mary's to win 72-69. STM saw a game-winning three point attempt go begging with 12 seconds to go, and a game-tying triple bounce off the rim at the gun. Saint Louis "upset" 8-seeded Memphis in a slugfest, Cincinnati survived a late run by Texas, and Creighton inched by Alabama after a crazy timeout sequence late in the 2nd half by Bama coach Anthony Grant.
- Oh, and there was even a near-upset miss. Florida State escaped St. Bonaventure by 3 points and needed a 16-2 second half run to hold on for the victory. The Bonnies have an NBA forward in Andrew Nicholson, and he made plays all night, but FSU made all their free throws, and played their notorious stingy defense on the final possession that curiously saw the Bonnies attempt two separate 2-point jumpshots despite the 3-point deficit.
- The Rest? Chalk city! (lol)
On to Saturday... in chronological order...
- 12:15 pm CBS - #1 Syracuse vs. #8 Kansas State - I really think K-State has a chance here. Those that read me consistently would know that I'm not a Frank Martin fan and generally don't love the Wildcats, but they are really scrappy on the glass and they could really expose 'Cuse here in that aspect. I'd still pick Syracuse with a gun to my head, but this isn't a typical 1 vs 8.
- 2:45 pm CBS - #2 Ohio State vs. #7 Gonzaga - The Zags were really impressive on Thursday in their dominating win against WV, but can we expect to see that again? They are certainly deeper than OSU, but I think Aaron Craft will bother Pangos and Sullinger could go off here.
- 5:15 pm CBS - #3 Marquette vs. #6 Murray State - Was really, really impressed with what I saw from Marquette, especially in the frontcourt, and I think the Murray State cinderella run ends with their 2nd loss here.
- 6:10 pm TNT - #4 Wisconsin vs. #5 Vanderbilt - I'm all-in on Wisconsin. Vandy is certainly capable of winning this game, but I trust Bo Ryan and I trust Jordan Taylor.
- 7:10 pm TBS - #4 Indiana vs. #12 VCU - I have no idea what to make of this one. Indiana looked terrible at times in their opener, and VCU isn't the same team as they were in 2011. If Indiana pounds the ball to Zeller, they should win.
- 7:45 pm CBS - #1 Kentucky vs. #8 Iowa State - The Cyclones played pretty well in dismantling UConn, but this is another stratosphere. Kentucky has the best team in this field, and this shouldn't be the stumbling block.
- 8:40 pm TNT - #3 Baylor vs. #11 Colorado - You won't find anyone lower on Baylor than I am, and Colorado is playing well. Upset alert.
- 9:40 pm TBS - #4 Louisville vs. #5 New Mexico - Maybe my favorite game of the day for the style matchup. Louisville's pressure can disrupt anyone, but I like New Mexico's offense a lot. Toss-up game.