In the middle of madness

Whew!  Take a deep breath and soak in the last 48 hours.  The NCAA Tournament has shed half of its field.  And those who made it through all 32 games were rewarded with some drama in the wee hours on Friday.

The Vikings of Cleveland State pulled off the upset of the tournament so far (and the biggest upset for the program in 23 years) with their 84-69 victory over #4 seed Wake Forest.

The last two games of the opening round to finish brought the first overtime games of the tournament, as Siena pulled off the mild upset over Ohio State in 2OT, 74-72, and #12 Wisconsin finished off #5 Florida State, 61-59, on Trevon Hughes‘ spinning shot with 2 seconds left in OT.

We told you about the recent history of #12 seeds defeating #5 seeds and Arizona and Western Kentucky joined the Badgers in keeping that trend red-hot.

22 higher seeds won in the first round, but 5 of the 10 upsets took place in the Midwest Region where chaos reigns for now, or at least until top seeds Louisville, Michigan State, and Kansas attempt to bring back order in the next two days.

12 conferences are represented in the remaining field of 32.  Kudos to the Atlantic 10 (Xavier & Dayton), Conference USA (Memphis), Horizon League (Cleveland State), Metro Atlantic (Siena), Sun Belt (Western Kentucky), and West Coast Conference (Gonzaga) for hanging with the big boys.

And, speaking of the power conferences, here are their cumulative records through the first round:

Big 12 (6-0)
Big East (6-1)
Pac-10 (5-1)
Big Ten (4-3)
ACC (3-4)
SEC (1-2)

OK, enough analysis.  Back to the action.  UCLA and Villanova tip off in a few hours (1:05pm ET, to be exact) and an additional 15 games over the next two days will yield us our Sweet 16.

Hard to believe that it was less than a week ago that the selection committee unveiled the field.  Even harder to believe that 49 of those teams will have begun their offseason by the time the sun sets tomorrow night. 

Dizzying, maddening, and amazing – the tournament never fails to deliver.

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~ by acm213 on March 21, 2009.

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