Whenever something exciting happens, we’re always in a rush to proclaim it’s the best ever. But in the case of the first two rounds of this year’s NCAA Tournament, I’m comfortable saying it truly was the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve been following it religiously since it was expanded in 1985, and I never saw anything like what I saw this year.
- It ain’t over till it’s over. Nearly half of the 32 games came down to the final seconds, with three ending on baskets as the buzzer sounded. If adrenaline wasn’t coursing through your veins when Murray State beat Vanderbilt, Wake Forest beat Texas or Michigan State beat Maryland, you may want to check with your doctor to make sure you’re still alive.
- One and done. Kansas has a long, proud history of choking. Northern Iowa has been a very good team all season long. Yet I was still shocked when Ali Farokhmanesh drained the late three-pointer to crush the Jayhawks, not to mention my bracket. And I couldn’t be happier!
- The smart kids are making everybody look stupid. Cornell trashed Temple in the first round and wiped out Wisconsin in the second round. They are the first Ivy League team to reach the Sweet Sixteen since Penn in 1979. Can the Big Red beat Kentucky on Thursday? I’m stupid enough to believe it can happen.
- Speaking of looking stupid. I’m not sure who was more clueless…the Georgetown players or their coach. It’s one thing to get upset by a mid-major. It’s another thing when that mid-major was seeded ninth in its own conference tournament. And it’s just downright embarrassing when it beats you by the spread (14 points) THAT YOU WERE FAVORED BY!
- They were officially a problem. The bailouts the refs gave Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds at the end of regulation made the ones to AIG and GM seem palatable. The foul call on Robert Morris in overtime on what should’ve been a jump ball by an official who couldn’t have possibly seen the play with all the bodies in his way bordered on criminal. As my co-pilot might say, Tim Donaghy was embarrassed by the calls they made.
- I didn’t really want to see that anyway. CBS always drives me crazy with their coverage of the games. They saved their worst for last when they made me sit through the entire Duke blowout of Cal before switching me to see only the last 6.9 seconds of Xavier’s three-point win over Pitt. Not satisfied with that, THEY SWITCHED ME AGAIN WITH 0.4 SECONDS LEFT JUST AS PITT WAS ABOUT TO TRY ONE LAST SHOT TO TIE IT. I think the network needs to hire some of those Cornell kids.
THERE IT IS!