By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications
Day one games in the first round of the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament are completed. I went 14-2 (.875) on my predictions.
Below is the scores and a brief recap of each game I predicted correctly. The two games I incorrectly predicted are listed at the bottom.
Games that I correctly predicted the outcome:
Kansas 85 Portland State 61: Kansas will live to see another day as they dominate the Portland State Vikings. They shot will from the outside to take the win.
Xavier 73 Georgia 61: Georgia's Cinderella story has ended at the big ball. It is always exciting watching a team come out of nowhere. America loves the underdog. They really looked like they were going to win this game and upset the No. 3 seed, up until Xavier showed why they won 24 games this season. Duncan has to be the player of the game for Xavier, but they can thank their defensive intensity for this win.
Michigan State 72 Temple 61: The Spartans shot nearly 50% from the field and Raymar Morgan leads the charge with 17 points.
Marquette 74 Kentucky 66: Great start to this always exciting tournament. Kentucky should hold their heads high in the loss, especially Joe Crawford and his career high 35 points in defeat. Both squads were lights out from downtown, with Marquette holding the edge at 50% to 40. Hayward and McNeal combined for 38 and 15, but it was Dominic James with some timely shooting down the stretch that iced it for the Golden Eagles. Kentucky will say goodbye to Bradley and Crawford and look for the future of the program to be a bright one.
Pittsburgh 82 Oral Roberts 63: Pittsburgh built a big lead at halftime and had it on cruise control from there. Five Panthers reached double-figures, led by Levance Fields' 23 points on 8 of 14 shooting (4 three-pointers).
Washington State 71 Winthrop 40: Winthrop had a valiant first half behind the efforts of McCullough and Gaynor. The defensive adjustments made by the Cougars completely confused the Eagles in the second half and held them to just around ten points for the whole half. Once Derek low figured out how to defend Gaynor, Gaynor did not score not one more point. After a dominating first by Weaver and Baynes, Robbie Cowgill came out in the second for the Cougars and just filled in immediately.
Kansas State 80 USC 67: Mayo misses a long desperation three and Sutton takes it the length for the door slamming jam. OJ comes right back with the nifty layup, but the Wildcats stopped playing defense a while ago. Kansas State will go to 13-1 when they score at least 80. Mayo continues to pad his stats, but it's a team game, isn't it. The first upset of the day as the Trojans fall.
Stanford 77 Cornell 53: Stanford led this game wire to wire taking out #14 seed Cornell Big Red. Cornell shot poorly in the first half and never recovered, trailing by 20 at the half and never getting any closer.
Texas A&M 67 BYU 62: Thrilling game this evening as the Cougars and Aggies battled back and forth throughout. But in the end, timely shooting and athleticism got the job done for the lower seeded Aggies. This game marks the first time that a lower seed has won thus far in the NCAA Tournament.
Duke 71 Belmont 70: The way the game ended, with Belmont taking a late run to outscore Duke 35-29 in the second half, it seemed like the Blue Devils were the ones to pull off the upset by holding on for a one-point win. Belmont suffers a heart-breaker, although Henderson's final driving layup was in itself worthy of a Duke victory.
Notre Dame 68 George Mason 50: Notre Dame has a complete team with Harangody in the box and Ayers and McAlarney on the perimeter. The only George Mason player to even show up was Will Thomas, who had over 25 points and half his team's points.
Wisconsin 71 Cal State Fullerton 56: CS Fullerton's 15 minutes of fame is over. The Badgers just playing keep away at the end of the game.
UCLA 70 Miss. Valley St. 29: This one was over before it started and #1 seeds are now 93-0 against #16 seeds all-time. The Bruins earn the right to face the Texas A&M Aggies in their next game on Saturday. I have UCLA going all the way in my bracket. They haven't disappointed me yet. Texas A & M should be a much tougher task.
West Virginia 75 Arizona 65: Budinger answered the call for his Arizona team and Hill stood out with 16 and 10, but the shooting of West Virginia was too much for anyone to handle. Even with superstar in the making Joe Alexander, having a sub-par outing, the combo of Alex Ruoff, Darris Butler and of course De'Sean Butler put together 54 points on 22-31 shooting.
Games that I incorrectly predicted:
Purdue 90 Baylor 79: Purdue was able to get significant contributions from all of their starters both defensively and offensively. Dunn was the only bench contributor for the Bears, while the Boilermakers had several bench players leave their mark on the game.
UNLV 71 Kent State 58: UNLV advances to the second round of the Midwest Regional Saturday to face top-seeded Kansas. The Jayhawks defeated Portland State earlier today 85-61 after scoring 49 points in the first half.
Check back tomorrow for the results and game recaps of day two of the first round.