Sorting through the Madness as millions fail Bracketology.
SURVEYING THE DAMAGE:
After the first round of the NCAA men’s tournament, there are no perfect brackets remaining on CBS, ESPN, Yahoo, Sports Illustrated or Bleacher Report, the major bracket contests.
INSTEAD OF PICKING FAVORITES, MAYBE THE LOWER SEEDS:
Eight teams, 11 or lower, won NCAA first-round games, a record.
MORE BRACKET-BUSTING STATS:
Seeds winning in the first round: 15, 14, 13, 12, 12, 11, 11, 11, 10, 10. Nos. 13, 14 and 15 seeds have never won on the same days as they did Friday.
GOOD FIRST DAY FOR ‘UNDER-DOGS’:
The Yale Bulldogs, Butler Bulldogs and UConn Huskies all won against higher seeds the first day.
SCANNING THE GLOBE AND EATING WORDS:
This from last Sunday’s Boston Globe in analyzing the NCAA bracket in picking Yale to beat Baylor in the 12-5 game: "Baylor’s knucklehead factor is always big in these types of upsets. It never happens to teams like Michigan State; it sometimes happens to teams like Baylor." The reality: It happens to Michigan State. The Spartans, second-seeded, lost to 15 seed Middle Tennessee State in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history, something no one saw coming.
THE ICING ON THE BIRTHDAY CAKE:
On his 22nd birthday, Little Rock’s Josh Hagins scored 31 points had five assists, five rebounds and five steals in the upset of Purdue. In Purdue’s basketball history, only two players, besides Hagins, have scored 30 or more points against Purdue. They are both Hall of Famers — Lou Alcindor (37) and Isaiah Thomas (30).
TOURNAMENT-HARDENED SUN BELT COACHES:
Last year, Ron Hunter of Georgia State tore an Achilles’ tendon while celebrating the conference championship. He coached Georgia State’s upset of Baylor on a stool with his leg propped.
This season, Little Rock’s Chris Beard broke a hand while pounding a Dry-Erase board during a halftime tirade at the Sun Belt tournament. He coached the Trojans’ upset of Purdue with a cast on his hand.
THE DREAM FAMILY MATCHUP IN THE FINAL FOUR:
Going into Saturday, it was possible that Stephen F. Austin, where Clint Conque is the head football coach, and Little Rock, where Conque’s son, Chase, is athletic director, could play in the NCAA semifinal.
THE STOCK RISES FOR THESE COACHES:
Chris Beard of Little Rock and Brad Underwood of SFA.
A NEW YORK BRACKET KIND OF MIND:
There were seven teams from New York State in either the NCAA men’s or women’s bracket or both. Can you name them? Answer at the end of this column.
35 YEARS LATER, U.S. REED 2.0:
Northern Iowa’s Paul Jesperson’s beyond halfcourt shot at the buzzer to defeat Texas was an eerie duplicate of the shot Arkansas’ U.S. Reed hit against Louisiville in the NCAA in 1981. Google U.S. Reed and check it out.
Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa all made it to the round of 32.
PAC-12 collapse: The Pac-12 sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament. Only two, Oregon and Utah, remained after the first round.
THE FIRST-ROUND MADNESS:
Thirteen teams beat higher seeds, five buzzer-beaters, one disallowed buzzer beater (Cincinnati vs. St. Joseph), two overtime games and five close calls No 4 or greater seeds.
The game clocked expired about a tenth of a second before Cincinnati’s apparent game-tying dunk against St. Joseph.
UCA WITH AN ASSIST:
Andy Landers, the coach at the University of Georgia for 36 years, was the color analyst for the ESPN2 telecast of the UCA Sugar Bears’ first-round NCAA game against Louisville. He noted his connection with UCA (or State College of Arkansas at the time). When he was a student at Tennessee Tech, he discovered he needed a kinesiology course to go into coaching. "The kinesiology professor there was very tough and I was worried about passing, so I took the course by correspondence at Central Arkansas."
ANSWER TO NEW YORK QUESTION:
The New York teams in the NCAA field are Buffalo, Holy Cross, Stony Brook, Iona, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Albany and Fairleigh-Dickinson (First Four).
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)