The first day of the NCAA Tournament is usually thrilling, with down-to-the-wire games and upsets galore.
Thursday? Eh, not so much. We had plenty of good games though, and one near-titanic upset that would’ve been among the greatest in Tournament history.
Yours truly watched much of the action and here are some idle thoughts:
— Syracuse, a No.1 seed, absolutely, positively, nearly lost to a No. 16 seed in UNC-Asheville. A 16 has never beaten a 1, but it damn sure came close. Asheville got totally screwed by the referees on two late calls, but you can’t say they definitely would’ve won had the calls gone their way.
Still, it was very exciting seeing a 1 seed getting so close to being upset. And clearly, ‘Cuse is not the same team without Fab Melo.
— My other favorite near-upset came from No. 14 South Dakota State, who almost beat No. 3 Baylor and their insanely bright Day-Glo uniforms (above). Seriously, those unis have got to go.
— Loved the Wichita State-VCU finish, even though I picked the wrong winner. I totally think VCU, with their suffocating defense, can win at least one more game at this tourney. Don’t bet against Shaka.
— Depressing seeing so many empty seats in the crowd, but when you play in huge arenas far from home to the schools who are playing, what are you gonna do? Seems like every year there are so many unused tickets for these early rounds.
— Best hair of the day has to go to Murray State’s Ed Daniel. Check out my man’s Afro here. I would kill to have hair like that, just for a day or two.
— Expecting some better upsets Friday. Watch out for No. 14 Belmont over No. 3 Georgetown.
**And now, a staple of Good News Fridays: A dancing baby. Try not to smile while watching this. Kid is all ready for St. Patrick’s Day.
**Finally, a very cool story from Brandon Sneed and HeyGoodcall.com, a website devoted to positive stories about athletes.
A former University of North Carolina baseball player named Chase Jones beat cancer in 2006, and while he went through it his Tar Heels teammates shaved their heads in solidarity.
That’s not so newsworthy; happens all the time. But Jones has taken it a step further, founding an organization called BaseBald for the Cure, getting baseball teams around the country to shave their heads to raise money for cancer research.
Good stuff. See, every once in a while I can give credit to a Tar Heel. Just not in the next few weeks…