Day one of the tournament is always a great day regardless of the games, but as far as day one goes, yesterday was a very bland day. There were only a few upsets(four lower seeds won, a #9, two #10s and a #12) and none of them were shockers, and we only had one really good finish, as UCLA and VCU went to the buzzer. Not sure if that means that we’ll see more of the status quo today or if that means that today will be an absolutely crazy day. I’m just hoping for some closer games and a little more drama.
The nickname trends from early in the day yesterday did not hold up last night as after going 0-2 early, Bulldogs finally got a win with Gonzaga and after going 2-0 early, Tigers took their first loss with Clemson.
Speaking of Gonzaga, does anyone else think their center, Josh Heytvelt, looks a lot like Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on “Saved by the Bell”?
Best/worst of day 1:
Best Team Performance: Washington-Really looked good in handling a Mississippi State team that came in hot and many people thought the Bullies would pull the upset. Washington was having none of that.
Worst Team Performance: Clemson-Yeah I know they rallied late and had a chance to tie the game at the end, but in the end it’s another quick exit by a Clemson team that always seems to win a bunch of games early in the season to create high expectations and then loses a lot down the strech before crashing and burning in the tournament. The Tigers have to prove they can actually perform on the big stage before I ever pick them to win a tournament game again.
Best Individual Performance: Roburt Sallie, Memphis-Sallie bailed the Tigers out against upset minded Northridge with an unbelievable performance. With Tyreke Evans in foul trouble and the Tigers sleep walking through much of the game, Sallie came off the bench to hit 10 three-pointers and score 35 points(2 more than he had scored in his last nine games combined and 22 more than his previous career high). Sallie went 10 of 15 from three-point range while his teammates combined to go 1 of 13 and his 35 points were the most points ever scored by a Tiger in an NCAA Tournament game, who woulda thunk it?
Best Game: UCLA 65 VCU 64-The only game of the day to come down to a last second shot as VCU missed an opportunity for the upset at the buzzer. had to wait till the very end of the day to finally get some good drama.
Worst Game: UConn 103 Chattanooga 47-There were other blowouts and bad games, but not only was this game a blowout from the start as often happens in the 1-16 matchups, it also served as a reminder that instead of seeing Stephen Curry and Davidson in the tourney again, the Southern Conference gave us the Mocs.
Tracking the power conferences after one day: Big 12 (3-0) Big East (2-0) ACC (3-1) Pac 10 (2-1) Big 10 (2-2) SEC (1-1)
Every year I like to track betting trends and lines to see how things play out in Vegas during the tournament. Here are some notes from yesterday:
Favorites went 7-9 on the day and of the nine dogs that covered, four won the game straight up.
The over went 10-6 on the day.
How good were the linesmakers yesterday?
Here’s how the games broke down as for actual outcome compared to the betting line on the game. For example, if the line is Team A -8 and they win by 4, that is four point difference.
Betting Line vs Actual Outcome
Within 0-5 points: 5
6-10 points: 6
11-15 points: 2
16+ points 3
So that’s a pretty good performance by the linesmakers with 11 of the 16 games having lines within 10 points of the actual outcome.
As for the over/under totals, the linesmakers were not quite as good when you compare the line to the actual total.
Game over/under line vs Actual Total
Within 0-5 points: 4
6-10 points: 3
11-15 points: 3
16+ points: 6
So on the total, the majority of games were more than 10 points off and the biggest category was the over 16 points.