Big Dance Week 1: What We Learned
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Well as you can tell, I didn't win the billion dollars.
In fact, I was out of the running the first game of the tournament when Dayton defeated Ohio State. The killing part of it all was that I ended up the night 15-1.
Never fear. My bracket really fell apart with everyone else's Saturday, but I digress. We learned quite a bit this weekend from the NCAA Tournament, so let's get to it.
The ACC may have been a little overrated ... Can you believe that only one team from this conference -- top-seeded Virginia -- is the only team left? Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, and North Carolina State, were all vaporized over the weekend. The biggest upset may have Duke losing to Mercer, who later lost to Tennessee. In my opinion, though, if you paid any attention at all to the ACC this year, you could tell that most of these teams were not going to go far this year in the tournament. The conference's coaches were kidding themselves last year and apparently didn't get the message this year.
The SEC is Better everyone thought ... Raise your hand if you thought the SEC would have three teams in the Sweet 16. The only people who may have thought so reside in the South, and even most of us didn't believe it. The SEC is 7-0. We all knew Florida was good, but who knew that Kentucky and Tennessee would be in peak form when it counts? I guess since the ACC won the national championship in football, the SEC is trying to return the favor by winning the Big Dance.
Dayton ruined everybody's bracket ... This year's Cinderella is the Dayton Flyers. First, they take out Ohio State and then Syracuse. The Flyers did their bit to ensure none of us will be billionaires. They're a dangerous team and from the looks of it, they aren't done turning this tournament upside down.
Wichita State loses to Kentucky ... Well let me say -- and pardon the pun -- I'm not shocked by this. I knew the Shockers wouldn't make it to the Final Four because, quite frankly, they didn't play anyone this year. But was I surprised they lost to Kentucky? Yes. For most of the season, the Wildcats haven't been all that impressive until the last couple of weeks. They gave the top-ranked Gators all they wanted in the SEC tournament, and it seems as if they're peaking at the right time.
Most of the top seeds are still alive .. Despite all the upsets, the Selection Committee's prime choices are haning in there. Florida, Louisville, and Michigan State, among others, all made it through the weekend, which does not bode well for the rest of the field. Most of the upsets come in the first two rounds, and now that those are in the books, expect the top teams to rule the rest of the way.
One of those favorites is Arizona, part of the Pac-12 trio to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. The Wildcats get a re-match against San Diego State, a team they beat, 69-60, early in the season, so the Aztecs are looking forward to a second bite of the cherry in Anaheim:
Unlike the first weekend where we saw our share of cliffhanger finishes and upsets, the Sweet 16 should settle down, and we'll see the usual elite teams rise to the top. Enjoy the second half of the tournament and remember, you still have a chance at $100,000, so keep hope alive.