Tournament at a Glance

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Big Dance at a Glance:
First Round, Day One

 
At the Water Cooler
What happened Thursday
Here's a news flash: some college athletes don't complete assignments on their own ... Call it two perfect 10s: Gonzaga and Creighton dropped their seventh-seeded foes, shorthanded Minnesota and unlucky Louisville ... Who says point guards rule? Ohio State SG Michael Redd (27 pts) put on a show ... How many more can Iowa win for Dr. Tom? With Arkansas up next, probably none ... Oklahoma State PG Doug Gottlieb (11 assists) has some serious court savvy ... No miracle for Valpo this year. Maryland waxed 'em ... What jitters? South No. 1 Auburn rolled over Winthrop .

Name to know
New Mexico SF Lamont Long , who hit the tournament's only last-second game-winning shot so far, a traffic-defying leaner in the lane that rattled home with just seconds to play to give the Lobos an unlikely 61-59 win.

Top storyline
Athletic department academic counselors under fire! Meanwhile, the NCAA pushes its tournament through many schools' mid-terms....

Random speculation
Saturday morning, we'll all be calling it "Upset Friday." Start with Evansville and Rhode Island.

Tourney trend
Army fatigues. George Mason's star sophomore center, George Evans, is a 28-year-old Gulf War veteran. Patriots -- appropriate nickname -- fans have taken to wearing camouflage gear at games to salute him.

Who's hot

  • Rhode Island F Lamar Odom: Averaged 23 ppg during Atlantic 10 tournament, carrying Rams from Bubble oblivion to bid.
  • Utah: On 22-game winning streak.
  • Duke's offense: Averaging 93.2 ppg, tops in the nation.

    Who's not

  • Minnesota: Vanquished on the court, humiliated off of it.
  • The Cinderella Bandwagon
    Weber St. The Show!
    Siena Aints
    Detroit Titanic
    Valpo No Bryce, no dice
    Samford Dread Storm
    Gonzaga Thank the tutors
    Murray St. E-Raced
    Penn They're no Princeton
    Winthrop Parting gifts...

    By Dan Shanoff, CNN/SI

    Read a new "Dance at a Glance" Thursday through Monday throughout the NCAA Tournament.

    Weber-lieve

    I had this great column written about how unusually boring the first day of the NCAA Tournament was, until Harold Arceneaux and Weber State "Showed" us why this sports event is more captivating than any other.

    The game had all the ingredients: unknown school (even the most hard-core college hoops fan couldn't tell you where Weber State is -- Ogden, Utah), a "take-us-lightly...please" seed (14), a memorable individual performance (Arceneaux had his way with UNC's defense, scoring 36 points on a variety of swooping drives and improbable long-distance connections) and perhaps the biggest "name" team of all on the wrong side of a 76-74 upset (North Carolina, with those 25 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, 18 consecutive first-round tournament wins, and so many Final Fours, the famous color and the famous alumni and the famous shoe contract, all of which mean nothing today).

    While you were sleeping, you might have missed another storied program get bumped when Detroit knocked out UCLA 56-53. But many predicted the No. 12 Titans' win over the No. 5 Bruins in the South.

    Seattle turned out to be a pretty sensational sub-regional: Weber State's upset of the year, Gonzaga's combination of great timing and deadly accuracy, Stanford's sweat past Alcorn State, and Florida's second-half surge past Penn. We'll see if the magic continues Saturday when Weber State takes on Florida and Stanford battles Gonzaga. Cinderella will definitely be in the house.

    You call this Madness?

    Other than the Weber State shocker, what stood out about the first day of the 1999 NCAA Tournament?

    The day side's greatest excitement happened off the court, when Minnesota suspended four players pending the outcome of an inquiry into allegations of academic fraud.

    On the courts, the Dance was mostly a dud. Upset City? More like TopSeed Town. The opening miles on the Road to the Final Four are proving unfamiliarly smooth.

    Which lower seeds beat higher ones? Oklahoma State and New Mexico, two No. 9s, came away with close wins -- but over eight seeds Syracuse and Missouri. They don't count (although the way New Mexico had been dogged as tourney unworthy since Selection Sunday, you'd think they wouldn't be able to beat the Little Sisters of the Poor, let alone the Tigers of the Big 12.)

    Meanwhile, the only other paper upsets were No. 10 Creighton over No. 7 Louisville and No. 10 Gonzaga over No. 7 Minnesota. The former was no shocker; the Cardinals' seeding seemed too high from the start. And the Gophers -- where to start? -- were minus four suspended players, plus psychologically devastated by the scandal's eruption. They would have lost to your high school jayvee team, let alone a talented Gonzaga, smelling blood and playing a virtual home game in Seattle.

    So much for these Cinderellas

    Until Detroit, Weber State or Gonzaga make it to the Sweet 16, save your Cinderella stories. The wheels fell off the bandwagons for a few teams that came into the tournament with the blessing of conventional wisdom and the burden of being the experts' upset "locks."

    Murray St.: A rookie 61-year-old coach makes for a great story and many liked the Racers' push-it-up style. Too bad they ran into Ohio State, a Big Ten team masquerading as tourney tough. Goodbye, Racers.

    Valparaiso: Come on...this team used up a decade's worth of hoops karma in one shot last year. And Maryland is no Mississippi. Too much size, too much depth, too little Bryce Drew.

    Penn: Perhaps we'd become spoiled by the tournament's Ivy League representatives lately. After all, Princeton's antiquated style of play was fun to watch, especially when they toppled big-name teams. Unfortunately, Penn plays like your run-of-the-mill major-conference team. Florida gave the Quakers a taste of the SEC and sent them back to answer to their Ivy brethren.

    Siena: Now this was the tough one to take, because I had the Saints going to the Sweet 16. How can you not love a run-n-gun, three-point bombing group that had "upset" written all over them? Someone forgot to remind me: those run-and-press teams only shock standard half-court teams that can't handle the pressure. Arkansas wrote the genre's owner's manual. When two teams of similar styles go at it, take the one with more talent. A hard lesson to learn.

    Friday at a Glance
    Matchup to Watch: Kansas (6) vs. Evansville (11) , (New Orleans)
    Everyone already has KU facing Kentucky in Midwest second round. Not so fast -- Purple Aces will surprise. Good news for Jayhawks fans: At least there's no No. 1 seed to choke on.

    Under the Glare: Wally Szczerbiak, Miami (Ohio)
    Just hype or the real deal? If he can lead his Red Hawks past Washington, we'll believe.

    Key Games to Watch
    Region Matchup Site
    East (5) Wisconsin vs. (12) SW Missouri St. Charlotte
    Subplot: Bears want respect? Earn it against Wisconsin's awesome D.
    East (7) Texas vs. (10) Purdue Boston
    Subplot: 10 seeds are winning, but Purdue is slumping.
    Midwest (5) UNC Charlotte vs. (12) Rhode Island Milwaukee
    Subplot: Two league tourney champs, two hard-earned bids.
    Midwest (3) Kentucky vs. (14) New Mexico St. New Orleans
    Subplot: Are Wildcats in championship form? Time to find out.
    The Glance picks Friday's games
    Matchup East Midwest
    1 vs. 16 Duke (1) d. Fla. A&M Mich St. (1) d. Mt. St. Mary's
    8 vs. 9 Tulsa (9) d. Charleston Villanova (8) d. Ole Miss
    5 vs. 12 Wisc. (5) d. SW Mo. St. R. Island (12) d. UNCC
    4 vs. 13 Tennessee (4) d. Delaware Arizona (4) d. Oklahoma
    6 vs. 11 Temple (6) d. Kent Evansville (11) d. Kansas
    3 vs. 14 Cincy (3) d. G. Mason Kentucky (3) d. N. Mexico St.
    7 vs. 10 Texas (7) d. Purdue Washington (7) d. Miami (Ohio)
    2 vs. 15 Miami (Fla.) (2) d. Lafayette Utah (2) d. Arkansas St.
    Predictions from Thursday's first-round games: 11-5
    (Missed: Arkansas, GW, New Mexico, UNC, Oklahoma St.)


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