I’d say that was a successful first day of March Madness.
Until the last couple of games ended without drama (thanks for nothing, again, Michigan), Thursday was about as much as a basketball fan can ask for.
The first game of the day went into overtime, we had a mid-afternoon buzzer-beater and a pair of big upsets.
If not for Wright State laying an egg, my bracket would have looked pretty darn good since I’m assuming pretty much everyone else picked Arizona to beat Buffalo, too.
That was as far as I had those Wildcats going, though, so that’s a first-round upset that didn’t hurt me much in the big picture.
As for Wright State, well, I was optimistic going in, but Tennessee was favored for a reason.
The Raiders were bad offensively even compared to their normal game, which is obviously a recipe for disaster against a good Tennessee squad.
I thought the Volunteers played an average game while WSU came out cold and never recovered.
Of course, Wright State had to be at its best to win, and the Raiders were far from that.
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I would imagine some of those shots in the second half would have been more likely to drop if not for the hole the Raiders were in.
But this could be the type of experience they can build on for the future.
“I think as time goes on, they’ll be able to look back and see what a special season this was,” he added. “One thing I told them is that I haven’t enjoyed every team that I’ve coached, but I really enjoyed these guys. This team has been a joy to coach, and for as thin as we were and as young as we are, we accomplished so much.”
One of the fun parts of March Madness is seeing those teams that come back with the same group two or three times in a four-year span and get that big win after absorbing some hard lessons…
Then there’s Ohio State.
It was refreshing watching them be able to make shots again, at least until they fell in love with the 3-point line.
That was the type of game you can really look back on fondly if your team wins.
Sure, giving up a double-digit lead hurts, but on the bright side the Buckeyes then got to show some intestinal fortitude.
This was also a pretty good microcosm of Chris Holtmann’s first season coaching Ohio State.
Keita Bates-Diop showed off his all-around game while leading the team in scoring, C.J. Jackson ran the team and made shots, and Andrew Dakich had some key bridge plays to keep the team afloat.
Then the Buckeyes were able to play their wild card, Kam Williams, at just the right time.
Hats off to South Dakota State, too. That was a fine team.
The Jackrabbits were probably a little underseeded...
Tyler Eifert won’t have to change his Twitter avatar for at least another year thanks to his new contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Given that free agents have a tendency of not working out when they change teams, the Bengals are probably Eifert’s best bet for resurrecting his career.
Cincinnati did not have much money left to spend if it wants to extend Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins in the offseason, but this looks like a good use of it.
So the value of staying together was probably pretty high on both sides in this case, and the Bengals have another potential weapon if Eifert can stay healthy.
If he can’t, they already know they have some reliable options behind him.
And if they can’t afford to keep him next year, well, that’s good for Eifert because it means he had a pretty successful comeback…
The women’s tournament starts today with Dayton in action this afternoon and Ohio State playing tomorrow.
The ninth-seeded Flyers face Marquette at 2:30 p.m. with the winner (most likely) taking on No. 1 seed Louisville in the second round Sunday.
Ohio State is a No. 3 seed and plays host to No. 14 George Washington at St. John Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Buckeyes are again in the same region with No. 1 seed Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish knocked them out in the Sweet 16 last year. This time a rematch (pitting Fairmont grads Makayla Waterman and Kathryn Westbeld) would be in the Elite Eight.