NCAA Bracket 2012: 5 Results We Never Saw Coming
Day one of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament is in the books. While it may not be fair to categorize the day as a bit of a "yawner," the higher seeds won 14 of 16 games.
Most of the favorites won in commanding fashion.
There were a few tight contests, including one that wasn't expected to be nearly so close.
There were a few big performances, and several that fell flat.
Following are five contests that caught many by surprise.
Baylor Bears Beating South Dakota State
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To be clear, the outcome of this game was expected. The problem is fans watching the game had difficulty seeing the end of the contest.
The Bears took to the court in what might be best described as camouflaged yellow highlighter. Early reports are the uniforms caused rampant retina burning, leaving fans struggling to see the end of the game.
Perhaps that is a bit of a stretch, but it is difficult to find unexpected results in today's field.
Virginia Commonwealth "Stuns" Wichita State
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It is a bit of a stretch to say fans didn't see a Virginia Commonwealth win coming. Those that read the Bleacher Report article on setting up a winning tournament bracket saw VCU listed as a No. 12 seed that could make a strong run by virtue of their strong defense.
Wichita State looked as though a late rally might stave off the upset. They came back from a 13-point second-half deficit to take a 59-57 lead late in the game.
However, a three-point field goal by Bradford Burgess with 1:33 remaining gave VCU a 60-57 lead.
Garrett Stutz missed a game-tying three-point shot at the buzzer.
VCU will play Indiana on Saturday in an attempt to return to the Sweet 16.
Syracuse Orange Almost Loses to UNC-Asheville
Syracuse almost laid an opening-round egg.
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The Syracuse Orange survived a very tight match with No. 16 seed UNC-Asheville. They overcame a 34-30 first-half deficit to secure a 72-65 win.
The loss of center Fab Melo was expected to be a factor in the tournament, but not a significant one in their opening game. The Orange's lack of a solid presence in the middle led to them not being able to control the zone and almost hung a loss on the Big East powerhouse.
The score was tied at 54-54 with just over six minutes remaining. Syracuse called a timeout and responded by scoring eight straight points.
UNC rallied to cut the deficit to just three points with 25 seconds remaining.
The Orange are expected to struggle without Melo, but nobody had them almost becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round.
West Virginia Blown out by Gonzaga
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Despite being a higher seed, the Gonzaga Bulldogs had to travel across country to play the West Virginia Mountaineers...just 75 miles from their own gym. The home crowd was expected to give West Virginia an advantage in the opening-round game.
Gonzaga has learned one secret to playing on the road, though. Take an early lead and don't let the crowd become a factor.
Against West Virginia they took that approach to the extreme. They dominated the paint, played solid defense and were hitting outside shots.
The Bulldogs proved they deserved their at-large bid and seeding.
Gonzaga's center, senior Robert Sacre, had a simple message for his teammates before the game."Hit 'em, is all you've got to say. Hit 'em, be physical, let everything else work itself out. As long as you're physical, that's all that matters. Show that Gonzaga's not soft."
Gonzaga used a 16-1 run to separate from the Mountaineers and never looked back. They'll have a tough matchup on Saturday, squaring off against Big Ten co-champion Ohio State.
The Pac-12 Won a Game
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The Pac-12 entered Thursday's action with a struggling reputation. They landed just two teams in the Big Dance, and the regular-season champion Washington Huskies were the first regular-season major conference champion to not make the field of 64...or 68, as the case may be.
Washington received a No. 1 seed in the NIT, but played a lethargic opener. They eventually pulled out an 82-72 win over Texas-Arlington.
The Arizona Wildcats, also a No. 1 seed, lost a 65-54 NIT contest against Bucknell.
The real hit came when the California Golden Bears limped to a 36-13 halftime deficit. They eventually lost to South Florida, 65-54, in a play-in game of No. 12 seeds.
The Colorado Buffaloes were fifth in the Pac-12 regular season. Their conference tournament championship led to a No. 11 seed and a first-round matchup with UNLV.
Despite their best efforts to blow a late lead, Colorado held on for a 68-64 win.