Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grading Friday’s games: Upsets show seed don’t matter


Minutes after South No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast upset No. 2 Georgetown, the effects could be felt throughout the college basketball world.

It really doesn’t matter what seed you are anymore. It is about matchups and whether you make your shots.

Georgetown was flat, and the reason for that is nervousness. Florida Gulf Coast played loose, with nothing to lose. And with a skilled, athletic team, Florida Gulf Coast was able to punch Georgetown with a quick barrage and by the time Georgetown realized it needed to fight for its life, it was too late.

Games like that has become the staple of the tournament. Parity is alive, and as reporters, bloggers or fans, we all love it.

I was 9-7 with my picks on Friday after going 15-1 on Thursday. Yeah, I love the madness.

Here are my grades for that game and the rest of the games on Friday.

No. 2 Duke (W) vs. No. 15 Albany – C

Let’s be honest. The matchup was not in the advantage of Albany, and it showed early when Duke was able to assert itself on defense and pick up points on transition.

Senior guard Seth Curry was on fire, picking up 26 points, and senior forward Mason Plumlee dominated, with 24 points and nine rebounds, which was fun to see for fans of good performances.

And Albany didn’t just rollover in the second half, which is also nice to see. But overall, this was a game to switch off early on with a lack of drama.

No. 7 Creighton (W) vs. No. 10 Cincinnati– B

It looked as though Cincinnati was going to secure an upset until the end, but overall this was a close matchup in a game that teetered back and forth.

Creighton might have come out as the winner, but the fans did too. Junior forward Doug McDermott scored 27 points for the Bluejays, which shows he might be a presence against Duke Sunday.

The one aspect that took away from the game was the poor 3-point shooting of Cincinnati.  But overall, this was a good game.

MIDWEST second-round grade – C

There were a couple of good games these last two days, but overall, this was the worst bracket to watch so far.


No. 2 Georgetown vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (W) – A

Although this game was never really a game with Florida Gulf Coast running away in the second half, this is a story we all crave during March Madness.

This is an upset that busts brackets but garners fans, because I bet many casual fans or fans of other schools that aren’t San Diego State will be rooting for the Eagles.

But Georgetown was only down two points at halftime and made a late run, but this game felt like Florida Gulf Coast’s the whole way and should be ranked with the top upsets of all time.

No. 8 North Carolina (W) vs. No. 9 Villanova – C

What started as a one-sided game ended with a little bit of uncertainty because of North Carolina’s terrible play.

Villanova was beaten early but didn’t give up, and North Carolina made this a game with turnovers and poor shooting at the end.

However, the game was really never that entertaining because of the bad play.

No. 3 Florida (W) vs. No. 14 Northwestern State – D

Florida easily won this game, and although Northwestern State had an early lead, it was overmatched against the Gators.

Florida had four players in double figures, while Northwestern State had just one.

No. 7 San Diego State (W) vs. No. 10 Oklahoma – B

San Diego State was able to knock down its shots at the end while Oklahoma was not.

Still, I really enjoyed this game because it was back and forth for most of the game until the end.

And even then, it seemed like San Diego State was the underdog, and the energy from the team as they pulled away was fun to watch.

No. 6 UCLA vs. No. 11 Minnesota (W) – B

A No. 11 seed over a No. 6 is not that big of an upset, especially when it is two major conferences, but still, UCLA came out of a very impressive Pac-10 conference and Minnesota faltered late in the Big 10.

That was out the window here though as Minnesota led by double figures most of the way and held UCLA off when it made its one run in the second half to run away with the win.

But I was entertained, possibly because my managing editor at my job loves the Pac-10. Take that Jim!

No. 1 Kansas (W) vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky – B

Much like the Gonzaga game Thursday, Western Kentucky was looking primed for the biggest upset in tournament history.

Kansas played timid, and Western Kentucky kept the Jayhawks off balance on offense.

But, in the end, the talent of Kansas was just too much, and senior center Jeff Withey was insane with 17 points, seven blocks and six rebounds.

This was fun to watch because of the potential upset and Withey’s performance.

SOUTH second-round grade – B

There were a few bad matchups, but Friday’s games made this bracket one of the better ones to watch.


No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 Temple (W) – B

A game of runs.

Temple looked like it was going to run away as NC State looked like they were going to go home instead of coming out in the second half.

That not only changed but nearly never changed back as NC State stormed back on offense.

But in the end, the lack of defense on both sides was a pain in my side to watch, keeping this game from an A.

No. 2 Miami (Fla.) (W) vs. No. 15  Pacific– D

This was not a matchup to see. Pacific could not contain Miami at the glass, and with the one-and-dones came transition baskets.

Miami lit Pacific up on the 3-point line and really made this a game to turn off.

No. 1 Indiana (W) vs. No. 16 James Madison – D

Indiana ran away with this game with the better team and more talent on the roster, but James Madison didn’t give up at the end.

That is something that should be commended.

No. 7 Illinois (W) vs. No. 10 Colorado – C

A game that many thought would be an upset went one-sided very quickly.

Illinois showed why the Big 10 is so tough with good defense and execution on the other end.

Colorado made a second-half run, but it was too late to create drama.

EAST second-round grade – B

Thursday was much better in the East, but overall, this was a good bracket.


No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Ole Mississippi (W) – B

The ending was great for everyone that isn’t a Wisconsin fan.

As a Wisconsin fan, I give this game an F, but as a basketball fan, the ending and upset was fun to see.

The shooting was horrible on both sides, and Wisconsin gave this game away. But it would seem that Ole Mississippi might be the darkhorse that people dubbed Wisconsin to be. 

No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 La Salle  (W) – A

How crazy is the West bracket? We now have a No. 12 and No. 13 matchup for round three.

This game was crazy. La Salle was dominating, and then Kansas State stormed back to grab a lead.

But La Salle never flinched and battled its way to edge Kansas State and win its second game of the tournament, the first since 1956.

No. 2 Ohio State (W) vs. No. 15 Iona – D

This was by far, the worst game in the bracket.

Ohio State easily handled an overmatched Iona team, and it was one I never really wanted to go back and watch.

No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Iowa State (W) – B

One thing people may have overlooked in this game was how well Iowa State uses its speed to catch teams off guard.

Iowa State was not the matchup Notre Dame wanted. The Fighting Irish are a methodical team that was never allowed to play their game.

But I was really impressed with Iowa State, and I enjoyed watching its fast tempo.

WEST second-round grade – A

When the No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 7 seeds are all eliminated, it is always a fun and crazy bracket.

OVERALL Friday grade – A

The upsets were a plenty, and the matchups created for round three were fantastic. I am very excited for the round of 32.

OVERALL second-round grade – B+

I cannot give an A because of all the blowouts and because of some teams that should have played well choking games away.

However, it was a great couple of days, and it sets up a great weekend as we fill in the Sweet 16.

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