It’s probably safe this qualifies as one of the best first days in a long time. Two No.6 seeds, one third seed and one fourth seed took a first-round exit. No.13 Murray State had the most exciting win as Danero Thomas drained a three as time expired to lift the Racers, 66-65, over No.4 Vanderbilt.
We had two overtime games and one game that went into double overtime.
BYU’s Jimmer Fredette had the best day of any player with 37 points. His teammate Michael Lloyd had a career-high 26. Butler’s Shelvin Mack hit seven second-half three-pointers and finished with 25 points. And Butler set the record for most three-pointers (13) in an opening-round game in its win over UTEP.
Tennessee escaped against San Diego State, 62-59, while No.1 Kansas needed a big second half to beat No.16 Lehigh, 90-74. Wake Forest overcame a 76-68 deficit in OT and topped Texas, 81-80, on a jumper by Ishmael Smith.
In what was probably the biggest shock, No.14 Ohio dominated third-seeded Georgetown in a 97-83 win. No.10 St. Mary’s surprisingly had an easy time with Richmond, at least in the second half. Villanova struggled to survive against a pesky Robert Morris squad.
No.11 Old Dominion topped sixth-seeded Notre Dame, 51-50, but was that really an upset? Luke Harangody is a shell of himself and scored just four points. And the Monarchs had a regular-season road win over Georgetown. Plus they have several players 6-8 or taller. Most mid-majors don’t have two players over 6-8.
Washington, an 11th seed, knocked off Marquette, 80-78. But it’s debatable how much of an upset that was.
And finally, No.3 New Mexico needed two late free throws to hold off No.14 Montana, 62-57.
All of this begs the question: Is it parity or mediocrity? The pundits will point to a weak NCAA field, while others will play up the strength of the mid-majors. It’s probably a little bit of both. There are some good mid-major programs out there.
Let's hope Friday can measure up. Good night!