There is nothing bigger and better than March Madness. And the first round of action is officially in the books. Big dogs fell, and big dogs rose to the occasion.
But who survived enough to lay claim to the field of 32?
No. 1 Louisville 74, No. 16 Morehead State 54
The Louisville Cardinals were coming in with a chip on their shoulder. They had a chance to prove everyone wrong, and start strong right off the bat. The Cards needed to show their dominance early and often in their opening round showdown with Morehead.
They didn't disappoint.
The Tournament's team to beat started off sluggish, but stepped it up in the second half to cruise to a 20-point victory over a drained Morehead team that had to play their way into the tournament to begin with. So Louisville executed their patented full court press to get the win and advance to the Field of 32. But who would they play?
No. 9 Siena 74, No. 8 Ohio State 72
The Buckeyes were coming off a huge loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Championship, so they knew that they could make things right if they win their first round opener. But could they defeat a team that is notorious for pulling upsets on a regular basis during March Madness?
Some would say yes...but I highly doubted that they would.
Despite me telling a lot of people in the inner circle that they should pick Siena, they chose Ohio State. The result: A Double OT thriller that ended with Ronald Moore nailing a gut wrenching 3-pointer that sent the Saints to a second round throwdown with Louisville.
Hate to say I told you so, but...HOW DO YOU LIKE 'DEM APPLES?
No. 12 Arizona 84, No. 7 Utah 71
Many were questioning the tenacity of the Mountain West Conference. They had two representatives in the tournament this year, but would any of them survive?
Obviously, Utah never heard of a gut check.
From the opening tip, the Wildcats proved to everyone—including me—that they do belong in the party, as they flat out outplayed the Utes and handed the Mountain West another loss. Now the Wildcats will head to the next round where most would have figured they would be playing Wake Forest. But...
No. 13 Cleveland State 84, No. 4 Wake Forest 69
In an unprecedented shocker, everyone's bracket got straight blown up as the Cleveland State Vikings continued their unbeaten streak in first round games by taking out mildly favored Wake Forest.
And if you saw it coming, you got Lady Luck & The Luck of the Irish on your side.
Now the Vikings head into the field of 32, being the second straight lower seed to knock off an upper seed. Cleveland State plays a highly motivated Arizona this Sunday. But can they make it to the Sweet 16...or will the Vikings fall against the Wildcats?
No. 11 Dayton 68, No. 6 West Virginia 60
The Flyers were picked as an upset by a majority of the Nation. But when I say Nation, I mean the B/R Nation. So would Dayton send a Big East team packing?
You bet your ass they would...and they did.
The Flyers broke a huge curse over Bob Huggins as they managed to send his Mountaineers packing and earn their second victory in 15 tries over the legendary coach. Even more impressive for Dayton was the fact that they snagged their first victory in the tournament in 19 years. So Dayton is flying high...but for how long?
No. 3 Kansas 84, No. 14 North Dakota State 74
The Jayhawks didn't win the Big XII Tournament, but they were still favored to at least make a run for the Final Four.
But they are going to have a fight on their hands getting there.
Bill Self's team held off a late second half onslaught to win their opening contest and advance to a second round showdown with Dayton. Kansas will need to step up and show why they won the national championship last year. But can the 'Hawks survive a motivated Dayton team...or will the Flyers continue their one-game streak into the Sweet 16?
No. 10 USC 72, No. 7 Boston College 55
The Pac-10 has had some pressure ever since Arizona won the conference's last championship. So it was up to UCLA and USC to help Arizona continue the streak. USC was going in as an upset favorite, but would they do it.
In the words of Stone Cold: Oh hell yeah!
The Trojans dominated early and often by crashing the boards and raiding the paint to help their cause and become the next addition to the field of 32. But the Trojans will need to continue that domination they showed against the Eagles in order to defeat...
No. 2 Michigan State 77, No. 15 Robert Morris 62
Tom Izzo has a date with a pair of hair clippers when the season is over. But until then, he's determined to bring the Spartans back to the promise land. They started that quest with a sure fired victory over a determined Robert Morris team.
Led by Raymar Morgan's 16 points and five rebounds, the Michigan State Spartans stomped a mudhole in Robert Morris and walked it dry en route to a 15-point victory and a spot in the field of 32. The Spartans will face an upset minded USC Trojans team that just polished off an upset victory over the ACC's Boston College.
Will Izzo bring Michigan State, as well as the Big Ten another championship? Or is the Pac-10 ready to prove their dominance over the Big Ten one more time?
Coming Up: The East Region