Everyone still alive out there?
After yesterday’s incredible, hectic, crazy, fill in the adjective type of day to kick off the NCAA Tournament, there is plenty to look back on. There’s never been a day quite like what we saw, with five one-point games. On top of that there was an overtime game and five others finishing within single digits. Stars were born and had their legacies stamped in the history of their respective schools. We’ll get into all of that, but here’s observations from what we saw on a memorable day in college basketball.
- The biggest conference winner of the day was the Big East. The conference went 4-0, despite many experts knocking them as if the conference was a mid-major. Villanova lived up to the hype as a No. 1 seed by blasting No. 16 Lafayette. Georgetown, who even I predicted would lose, took care of business in what was essentially a road game against Eastern Washington. Xavier, another team many people thought was overseeded as a No. 6 seed easily beat Ole Miss and Butler ended Texas’ disappointing season. On top of that, Xavier is looking like a Sweet 16 team, thanks to an upset by Georgia State against Baylor and the Musketeers will draw their second double digit seed.
- Speaking of Texas. Everyone say bye to Rick Barnes. This writer has labeled him the worst coach in America, and he lived up to the hype by blowing a game against Butler. The Bulldogs didn’t score for nearly six minutes, yet Texas couldn’t take control of the game. This has to be the last game Rick Barnes will ever coach for the Longhorns.
- I’ll speak for everyone at Today’s U when we voted Ron Hunter as the most fun coach and the coach we’d most like to grab a drink with. Coaching from a stool during yesterday’s upset over Baylor, he literally fell off his chair in response to R.J. Hunter’s three right before the buzzer. Yes, they are father-son and arguably had the best father-son moment since Bryce and Homer Drew from Valpo.
- R.J. Hunter just threw himself into star mode across the nation with that shot. Hunter is a pro prospect and was held in check for the majority of the game against Baylor. However, he finished with 16 points including 12 of Georgia State’s last 13 points. That three at the top of the key and about six feet behind the line will be shown for quite some time.
- The VCU-Ohio State game lived up to the billing. It went back and forth and was physical, as seen by D’Angelo Russell’s bloody face. Russell did his best Kemba Walker impression, scoring 28 points and grabbing six rebounds. The biggest shots, though, came from barely used freshman Keita Bates-Diop, who hit two massive threes for the Buckeyes.
- It was not a goaltend in the UCLA-SMU game. You don’t call that, and you let the game play out. That was a terrible decision by the refs, and you can’t convince me otherwise. Watching the replay over and over again, it’s still baffling the ref from 30 feet out on the wrong side of the hoop made the call. This has to change. College basketball is too great of a sport to be constantly ruined by terrible officiating. They have no idea what’s a foul anymore and just blow their whistle to blow the whistle. Please change this, NCAA.
- It wasn’t great basketball we watched, but it was entertaining. The games featured a ton of unforced turnovers and missed shots leading to massive comebacks, but as a fan you couldn’t have asked for a better day. Brace yourselves for a wild Friday.