NCAA Scores 2012: 5 Outcomes That Obliterated March Madness Brackets
After our first 16 games of the NCAA tournament's bracket bedlam, most games played out as expected—No. 3 Marquette's 88-68 defeat of the No. 14 play-in BYU Cougars came as a surprise to no one.
Nonetheless, every day including day one brings a few new bracket busters, upsets, oddities and scares that threaten to completely destroy a large number of pick-'em predictions.
Thursday proved no exception to that annual tournament rule, and even if not all was lost during the second round's first day, here are five outcomes that obliterated—or stand to seriously threaten—March Madness brackets.
Honorable Mention: Syracuse and UNC Asheville
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Even though top-seeded Syracuse defeated No. 16 UNC Asheville on Thursday, their harrowing battle and serious upset scare seriously jeopardized the safety of any bracket that has Syracuse going past the round of 32.
Prior to the start of the NCAA tournament, many fans and analysts wondered what the loss of Fab Melo would mean for the Syracuse Orange.
On Thursday we got our answer, and it was not pretty.
In their 72-65 defeat, UNC Asheville was just three field goals away from a tie and possible victory—the Bulldogs were 21-for-49 from the field and 9-for-23 from beyond the three-point arc.
Asheville was not helped by the human element of the game (officiating) late, nor were they helped by an overzealous effort in trying to board a key missed Syracuse free throw.
Stepping into the lane too soon, Asheville guard J.P. Primm was correctly called for a lane violation which, by rule, allowed Syracuse to shoot again. This time, the Orange made the first of a one-and-one, leading to a made second free throw and momentum swing.
Regardless of how Syracuse ultimately won the game, their near-defeat deserves an honorable mention, and should worry anyone who has the Orange advancing much further in the tournament.
VCU Defeats Wichita State
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As far as upsets go, No. 12 VCU's defeat of No. 5 Wichita State is one that some experts and fans saw coming ever since Selection Sunday.
ESPN analyst and voice-over specialist Dick Vitale lost big with Wichita State's early exit: Vitale had predicted Wichita State would make the Sweet 16, defeating Indiana on Saturday after a Thursday win over VCU.
Andy Katz joined Vitale in predicting a Sweet 16 appearance for Wichita State, and now their brackets are mini-busted.
Don't say Virginia Commonwealth didn't warn you. On March 12, VCU took out an ad in The Washington Post that simply read, "VCU ... Back to bust your bracket."
Why didn't more of us listen?
At least Pau Gasol tabbed VCU to advance. Unfortunately, he also predicted a No. 14 South Dakota State upset against No. 3 Baylor, that No. 13 Montana would upset No. 4 Wisconsin and that No. 10 West Virginia would upset Gonzaga.
Gonzaga Blows out West Virginia
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And speaking of Gonzaga...
Everyone remembers Gonzaga as the team UCLA used as their 17-point comeback victims to the tune of Gus Johnson's "Heartbreak City"—and other priceless sounds he generated during Jordan Farmar's huge game-deciding steal and assist with UCLA down and just 15 seconds left to play.
And then there's, "Bautista with the CAAAAATTCCHH!"
Or maybe it has to do with the East Coast bias that West Coast teams always complain about. With President Obama incorrectly choosing No. 10 West Virginia over No. 7 Gonzaga, it's tough to argue with that logic.
Well, at least there's this one glimmer of Northeast hope that Lakers fans especially ought to really enjoy: The Celtics' Rajon Rondo correctly chose Gonzaga, though he believes No. 2 Ohio State will wipe them out in the next round.
Colorado Bounces UNLV
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There goes that East Coast bias again.
Ever since joining the Pac-12 before the current NCAA basketball season, Colorado hasn't gotten any love. Come to think of it, Colorado hasn't gotten much of anything since the 2002-03 season when Colorado upset the then-No. 6-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
Still, Colorado's defeat of UNLV proves several things.
First, that ESPN's Tony Reali should stick to hosting Around the Horn, though PTI might want to get a new fact-checker. Reali had picked Wichita State over VCU, West Virginia over Gonzaga and UNLV over Colorado. That bracket's just about done.
Second, Colorado is hoping some really odd math will land on their side.
Follow along as I explain the highly unreliable transitive property of sports.
First, UNLV defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels earlier this season during the Las Vegas Invitational.
Now, Colorado has beaten UNLV.
Ergo, Colorado will beat UNC, though that might require the Buffaloes to actually get to the NCAA title game.
Iowa State Holds off UConn
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Colin Cowherd was one of many bracketeers who selected Connecticut to upstage Iowa State during Thursday's action, though most everyone admittedly has No. 1 Kentucky beating Iowa State or Connecticut on Sunday.
Picking those No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchups can be difficult, though in this case, Connecticut's recent back-to-back NCAA National Championship victories might have played a role—wait, what? Oh, that's right, for Connecticut basketball championships, please switch over to the Huskies women's basketball program.
Place that squad in the championship game and you're gold.
Unfortunately, the logic just doesn't work on the men's side, where Kentucky and North Carolina dominate the national championship discussion.
Always read carefully before voting based on reputation.
After just 16 games of action, is your bracket a dud? Fear not, Yahoo's Second Chance bracket is now open and closes on March 22.