Day 1 of the NCAA tournament is over and there are some coaches who have some ‘splainin to do.
While higher seeds won for the most part, some teams that were favored in the gambling line got a shot to the jaw.
Syracuse, most notably, did nothing to extinguish the sentiment that it can be had, by struggling against North Carolina-Asheville. The Orange were a 15.5-point favorite but only managed to win by seven, and it was a bad call or two away from becoming the first top-seeded team to ever lose to a No. 16 seed.
Twenty years ago, Syracuse became the first second seed to lose to a No. 15 seed when the then-Orangemen underestimated an unafraid Richmond Spiders squad.
Kentucky doesn’t get off the hook either as far as the lines are concerned.
Kentucky was a 26.5-point favorite over Western Kentucky but only managed a 15-point victory. That’s not to say the Wildcats couldn’t have won by more, but it’s a good glimpse into the heart of Western Kentucky.
So what’s in a line?
For the following five teams, the line meant nothing. Whether by upset or confirmation of oddsmakers’ opinions, these five were vastly underrated by Las Vegas.
Third-seeded Marquette took on 14th-seeded BYU in Louisville, Ky.
According to the line, Marquette was only a 5.5-point favorite, but coach Buzz Williams and his cast had a difference of opinion.
Marquette charged to a 15-point halftime lead and ended up winning the game by 20.
With BYU barely getting in the tournament, this line was a head-scratcher.
Sometimes Vegas can give a team false hope.
This is one of those times.
In another game in Louisville, the Iowa State Cyclones were getting two points from the defending national champ Connecticut Huskies.
Iowa State seemed to take it personally and handed UConn a 13-point whipping.
UConn was outplayed in nearly every sense of the word.
The Cyclones took advantage of sloppy play and poor shot selection by the Huskies and made a liar out of Vegas.
The 10th-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers were a narrow 1.5-point favorite over the seventh-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.
This game in Pittsburgh was close enough to Morgantown, West Virginia, for it to feel like a home game for the Mountaineers.
Someone forgot to tell Gonzaga because they completely ripped apart West Virginia in a 23-point rout.
Bob Huggins’ teams are usually the ones to make a game physical and uncomfortable for opposing teams. The Bulldogs were unfazed.
In yet another game in Louisville, two teams that most people in America know nothing about squared off.
Murray State and Colorado State faced each other, with Murray State being a 5.5-point favorite. The line seemed a little low with the Racers only losing one game the entire season, but Vegas didn’t seem to have faith in the quality of Murray State’s schedule.
Murray State struggled in the first half and enters halftime down by one.
The Racers woke up in the second half and ended up winning the game by 17 points.
Maybe Murray State being ranked for most of the season was actually deserved.
Out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wisconsin was an 8.5-point favorite over Montana.
While the spread sounds reasonable, it should have been in the double digits.
Wisconsin did not take this slight lightly and dismantled Montana, 73-49.
Wisconsin was sort of a forgotten team in the Big Ten this season with all the hype surrounding Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State.
That probably ended Thursday.