NCAA Tournament Round 2

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 by Travis Cody in

Yes, you read the title correctly.  Yesterday was Round 2 of the NCAA Tournament.  The First Four games were Tuesday and Wednesday, and those comprised Round 1.

When the NCAA added a play in game to the field of 64, I didn't consider it a part of the tournament.  Now that the field is a full 68 so that 4 teams make 2 games, I include the First Four and call if Round 1 just like everyone else.

You know how much I love college basketball.  I don't fill out brackets ahead of time because I love the game too much.  I love the excitement of the games.  I definitely love the long as they don't take out my teams too early.

I love that CBS finally understands that its regional coverage sucks.  The tournament demands to be shown in full.  So now they partner with TBS, TNT, and TruTV to broadcast every game in its entirety.  I can pick my games to watch and peak into other games all day long. 

Here are some observations from Day 1 of Round 2.

The block/charge.  For the most part, I have been pleased with the changes made to the way blocks and charges have been called this season.  The NCAA rightly concluded that there was too much ambiguity and inconsistency in the way this foul was interpreted.  Now it's back to the way it was years ago...the defender has to get to the spot and establish legal guarding position with his shoulders square and his arms within his defensive frame.  He cannot be sliding into the path of the offensive player, nor can he slide under the player or bounce to the ground at the slightest contact like he's been shot.

You have to be nearly perfect to pull off the upset.  14 seed Davidson had the ball with :07 to play and a 1 point lead.  The Wildcats had control of the game for 38 minutes.  But you have to play for 40.  They turned the ball over on an inbound play and 3 seed Marquette got the winning bucket with :01 on the clock.  Davidson couldn't get the miracle buzzer beater, and the Golden Eagles survived the upset bid.

One of my buddies suggested that Gonzaga would become the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed.  It is going to happen someday and my buddy thinks the Bulldogs didn't deserve the spot on the 1 line over Ohio State.  Southern played an excellent game and kept it close with outstanding defense, timely shooting, and athleticism.  Don't call the Jaguars scrappy...they stood straight up to Gonzaga and played like they expected to win.  The Zags finally started to pull away about half way through the 2nd half behind the dominance of national player of the year candidate Kelly Olynyk.  Southern made a run to tie it with 4 minutes to play, and kept it close down the stretch, but Gonzaga stayed poised to survive and advance.

The Pac-12 conference hasn't gotten much respect over the last couple of seasons.  The perception has been that the league isn't keeping quality players at home in the west.  Some of those quality players are going to other western conferences like the Mountain West and WCC.  Oregon fell to the 12 line to face 5 seed Oklahoma State, mainly because it lost 4 games during the conference season when its starting point guard was out with an injury.  But the Ducks are a healthy team now and much better than the seed they got, and they dominated the Cowboys to record what we'll call an upset because of the seeding numbers.  OSU made a late run, but couldn't overcome the big deficit.  You can bank on a 12 seed beating a 5 side every year, but this isn't your typical 12 over 5 upset. 

The difference between pulling off an upset and getting blown out by a high seed always comes down to whether the low seed can shoot a high percentage and maybe force the higher seed into some uncharacteristic mistakes.  Teams that can't get into a good shooting rhythm don't advance - 14 seed Valparaiso, 13 seed South Dakota State, 13 seed New Mexico State, 11 seed Belmont, 12 seed Akron, 13 seed Montana.  Those teams got bowled over in part because they couldn't sustain offense.  In some cases the higher seed was just more talented. 

But 14 seed Harvard found a way to run its offense and shoot 50%, and pushed 3 seed New Mexico to the limit.  The Lobos couldn't seem to figure out how to close out on Crimson shooters.  Harvard ran its offense and got any shot it wanted, then locked down defensively to take control of the final 4 minutes.

So we had a couple of mild upsets.  The 12 seeds from the Pac-12 were under-seeded so we won't call them significant upsets.  It was a mostly pedestrian day, right up to the second to last game when Harvard took down New Mexico to win its first tournament game in school history.

3 Michigan St beat 14 Valparaiso
6 Butler beat 11 Bucknell
9 Wichita State beat 8 Pittsburgh
4 St Louis beat 13 New Mexico St
6 Memphis beat 11 St Mary's
3 Marquette beat 14 Davidson
1 Gonzaga beat 16 Southern
12 Oregon beat 5 Oklahoma St
1 Louisville beat 16 NC A&T
4 Michigan beat 13 South Dakota St
6 Arizona beat 11 Belmont
12 California beat 5 UNLV
8 Colorado State beat 9 Missouri
5 VCU beat 12 Akron
14 Harvard beat 3 New Mexico
4 Syracuse beat 13 Montana

The Madness is alive.


  1. Harvard is in it? I didn't know they had a team that good.