A Coach K pants change, the most dynamic freshman duo in the country, and zero upsets, that pretty much sums up day 1 of the finest month in college sports. Despite popular belief the 2008 NCAA college basketball tournament provided alot of excitement especially after the east coast began to settle in for the night.
I'm completely finished with defending the "Dukies", for approximately three weeks I have been touting their live by the three, die by three philosophy but this morning, I'm done. It is one thing when you are shooting three's, missing and then getting the long rebounds to give yourself second chance opportunities, yet it is a complete other thing when you aren't even putting yourself in position to get rebounds. Duke is small and I firmly believe they have benefited from being in the ACC during a down year and playing at Cameron Indoor is a HUGE advantage. After escaping with a first round victory 71-70 to BELMONT, yes BELMONT, I'm embarrassed to say I have them getting to the elite 8 in one bracket and the round of sixteen in another. Conclusion? West Virginia dispatches of them tomorrow, Duke OUT.
The highly anticipated O.J. Mayo v. Mike Beasley was a 7:30 treat. K-State freshman forward and former high school teammate of Mayo, Bill Walker, came to crash the party. Walker's 22 points and 5 rebounds combined with Beasley's 23 and 11 to lead t (11) Kansas State over (6) So. Cal 80-67. What Walker did in the first half while Beasley was on the bench in foul trouble was what kept K-State alive in the tournament. I'm not sure wether or not to credit Bob Huggins, current West Virginia head coach and former K-State head coach who recruited the freshman duo, or Southern California head coach Tim Floyd who failed to develop a game plan to stop anyone but Beasley, which failed. Not to be outdone, super freshman O.J. Mayo poured in 20 points and 5 assists for the Trojans in the first round exit. What we came away with last night was exactly what we went into the game with, both of these future all-stars can ball, and Beasley isn't the only super freshman in his locker room, Wisconsin will have their hands full on Saturday.
My two sleepers moved right along, Xavier escaped with a win over a hot Georgia Bulldog team coming off their SEC tournament championship and Marquette methodically wore down Kentucky with junior guard Jerel McNeal putting 20 points on the Wildcats. So much for the SEC being one of the toughest hoops conferences in the country. The chalk pretty much held up for the remainder of the day with traditional powers Michigan State, Kansas, and UCLA all rolling through their first round opponents. My final note for you bracket animals, next year try not to pick George Mason to win based on a team that two years ago made it to the final four. They were littered with seniors who all took diplomas that Spring, they don't still PLAY for the George Mason.