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GAMES THREAD: NCAA Tournament – Day 1

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 20, 2008

It’s finally here. The greatest weekend in all of sports. I could go on and on and on and on about why I love this game and tournament so much, but then I’d be preaching to the choir, wouldn’t I?

This is your thread for all that you see in the first batch of games. Here’s the slate, along with the picks from my bracket — lots of chalk in this session. All times PDT.

  • (3) Xavier vs. (14) Georgia, 9:20 a.m. — Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the morning. I think Xavier is the most overrated team in the tournament (blown out by ASU, lost twice to St. Joe’s), and Georgia is one of the hottest. Another No. 14 might have snuck up on the Musketeers, but I doubt the Bulldogs have enough left in the tank. Pick: Xavier.
  • (1) Kansas vs. (16) Portland State, 9:25 a.m. — The Vikings are one of the many Tournament teams the Cougs played this year. While others will be competitive, this one gets run over. Pick: Kansas.
  • (5) Michigan State vs. (12) Temple, 9:30 a.m. — This is a dangerous game for the Spartans, if only because of their own inconsistencies. I’m not convinced teams in the Big Ten are as good as advertised, but I’m even less convinced about the A-10. Pick: Michigan State.
  • (6) Marquette vs. (11) Kentucky, 11:30 a.m. — Wildcats did a tremendous job to get this far, but the injuries haven’t magically disappeared. Eagles’ guards just too much in this one, although I wouldn’t be shocked if the Wildcats pulled what I would consider a mild upset. Pick: Marquette.
  • (6) Purdue vs. (11) Baylor, 11:40 a.m. — The feel-good story of the year continues with this opening round upset. Pick: Baylor.
  • (8) UNLV vs. (9) Kent State, 11:45 a.m. — If Kansas wasn’t waiting in the second round, I’d like the Golden Flashes to go to at least the Sweet Sixteen. Their defense will remind you of the Cougs. Pick: Kent State.
  • (4) Pittsburgh vs. (13) Oral Roberts, 11:50 a.m. — Pitt is 17-1 with Lavance Fields in the lineup. Digest that for a second. Pick: Pitt.
  • (3) Stanford vs. (14) Cornell, 1:40 p.m. — No way the undersized Ivy Leaguers can even think about hanging around in this one. Pick: Stanford.

Editor’s note: I decided to add the afternoon session to the morning thread to make one big huge Day 1 thread.

  • (2) Duke vs. (15) Belmont, 4:10 p.m. — This game will be a blowout. Mark it down: Duke will not lose to any team that doesn’t have it dominated with height. Pick: Duke.
  • (6) USC vs. (11) Kansas State, 4:10 p.m. — Everyone is talking about how this will be a game between Mayo and Beasley. They ought to be talking about how this is a game between the other eight guys on the floor. Advantage, Trojans. Pick: USC.
  • (4) WSU vs. (13) Winthrop, 4:20 p.m. — As if you need more analysis on this game. Pick: WSU.
  • (8) BYU vs. (9) Texas A&M, 4:25 p.m. — My, how the Aggies fell this year. They’ve still got more talent than BYU, who I freely admit I know virtually nothing about. Pick: Texas A&M.
  • (3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Cal State-Fullerton, 6:30 p.m. — I want to root for Josh Akognon, I really do. But I don’t see any way Wisconsin loses this game, not with the size advantage they possess. I think the Badgers are a bit overrated, but this isn’t where they lose. Pick: Wisconsin.
  • (7) West Virginia vs. (10) Arizona, 6:30 p.m. — Great coaching job by Bob Huggins, but Arizona’s talent shows up at just the right time. Pick: Arizona.
  • (5) Notre Dame vs. (12) George Mason, 6:40 p.m. — Here’s my No. 12 pick. Notre Dame is overrated after coming from an overrated Big East, plus a little tight after last year’s early exit. Larranaga knows how to coach in the Tournament after the run of two years ago. Pick: George Mason.
  • (1) UCLA vs. (16) Mississippi Valley State, 6:40 p.m. — The Cougs beat MVSU 71-26. Uh oh. Pick: UCLA.

12 Responses to “GAMES THREAD: NCAA Tournament – Day 1”

  1. johnnycougar said

    Are these the same as your bracket picks? I’ve already forgotten mine 🙂

    Umm, Xavier, Kansas, Temple, Kentucky, Purdue, UNLV, Pitt.

    I’m number 62,627 in line to watch online! If only I had the fabled VIP pass, I would be 42,086. Alas!

    It may sound stupid, but the game I am looking forward to watching the most (at least the first half) is PSU vs. Kansas. Watching the twin 5’6 three point shooting monsters against the Cougs was very fun, and I think it’ll be great if the Vikings start off well – should be interesting to watch probably the most talented team in the country defending TINY guards. The Vikings are dangerous but the game should die by the second half.

    Other than that, the only game this morning I would like to watch is Temple vs. MSU. And that is mainly because I’d like to watch my upset pick unfold, but otherwise there aren’t many teams I care about this morning. Can’t wait for tonight…

  2. Nuss said

    Georgia up by 11 on Xavier with three minutes gone in the second half. I’m not surprised that Xavier is losing, but I’m a bit surprised that the Bulldogs are playing with as much energy as they are — way more energy than the Musketeers. When I saw that halftime lead, I wondered if Georgia would fizzle in the second half. If they can maintain that lead until the last six or seven minutes, you might see a repeat of Sunday, when they hung on for the SEC crown.

  3. Nuss said

    Xavier has come all the way back, now up 3. Georgia looks absolutely gassed. They’re trying to steal minutes in a zone, and it ain’t working. They’re turning the ball over and failing to finish. Xavier’s depth is taking over.

    By the way, can I make this the first time of 30 times I tell you how much I dislike Gus Johnson as an announcer? I don’t need to be yelled at for two hours. But I guess it’s better than listening to Vitale.

  4. Nuss said

    Guess I was a little off on that Baylor pick, huh? That was one I talked myself into late last night and actually changed my bracket. Note to self: Never talk yourself into a different pick after filling out your bracket.

  5. Nuss said

    Oh, and did I mention that while Kent State plays great defense, their offense can often suck worse than anything you’ve ever seen? Sheesh.

  6. Jo-Jo said

    Baylor and Kent State are making a fool out of me.

  7. Nuss said

    That makes two of us, homey.

  8. johnnycougar said

    Regardless of who wins UK – Marquette, they will fall to Stanford. The rebounding by both those teams is terrible right now, and I can see the Lopez twins each getting five offensive boards and putbacks.

    At this rate, this game is the only one so far today that looks to finish with less than 10 points difference b/w the teams. Sort of surprising, especially since a few games were very tight early in the 2nd half.

  9. Nuss said

    Joe Crawford is ridiculous.

  10. Nuss said

    Couldn’t agree more about Stanford. Imagine what Kentucky would have been like had they still had Patterson?

  11. Nuss said

    Just flipped it over to ESPN to catch the “analysis” of the Tournament. Instead what I got was 1) Vitale and Bob Knight saying how dumb the one-and-done rule is; 2) Vitale and Digger reminiscing about Knight’s undefeated team; 3) Everyone else genuflecting at Knight.

    Seriously, we know Knight was a good coach once upon a time. Can everyone at ESPN get their lips off his private parts now?

  12. Nuss said

    Akognon is playing out of his mind for Fullerton. Awesome!

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