The third day of the NCAA tournament featured some interesting results. However, most of the final scores were not anomalies, but instead trends that will continue throughout the next couple of weeks.
While it is too late to update your bracket, you should still change your expectations for the remainder of the tournament based on what we have seen so far.
These are the biggest takeaways from the first half of the round of 64 and how they will impact the future.
The Pac-12 Is Better Than People Thought
When the brackets were released on Selection Sunday, the common complaint was that the Pac-12 was severely underseeded.
The conference tournament champion, Oregon, was a No. 12 seed. California was also a No. 12 after a solid regular season, while UCLA and Arizona were both seeded on the sixth line.
Instead of complaining, however, the teams simply went out and won. Oregon dominated a talented Oklahoma State, and Arizona took care of business against potential sleeper Belmont.
Even Cal came through with a win over UNLV.
With UCLA set to face Minnesota on Friday, it is important to no longer underrate the conference. The Bruins should do well (even without Jordan Adams) after winning the Pac-12 regular-season title.
In addition, the teams that already won have a very good chance at continuing the run into the Sweet 16.
The Mountain West Did Not Live Up To Expectations
All year long, analysts discussed the merit of the Mountain West. The mid-major was filled with teams with impressive computer numbers and the conference finished the year with the No. 1 RPI in the nation.
It appears that we no longer should be using RPI to decide the best teams heading into the tournament.
After Boise State lost to La Salle in the opening round, No. 5 UNLV lost to No. 12 seeded California, and No. 3 New Mexico was stunned by No. 14 Harvard.
Only Colorado State was able to get a win for the conference, while San Diego State still has to play Oklahoma. However, it would not be wise to place a large bet on either team to advance.
The teams looked good during the year while facing each other, but they could not handle the big stage. This is certain to hurt in the future as well, as the selection committee is unlikely to forget this collapse.
Do Not Count Out the Atlantic-10
The best teams in the Atlantic-10 were on display on Thursday, and they did not disappoint. Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis were in control throughout their games, while Butler was able to pull away late.
Each of these teams has had various levels of success in the past, with VCU and Butler reaching the Final Four in recent years. Still, this should be a good sign for the other teams in the conference still to play.
La Salle has already won its opening game, but it will have a tough battle with No. 4 Kansas State in the next round. Temple will also look to pull the upset over No. 8 North Carolina State.
However, both of these teams have shown throughout the year that they can play with the trio at the top, and it would not be surprising if any of them were able to win at least one more game in the NCAA tournament.
In addition, VCU, Butler and Saint Louis all have the ability to make a deep run in this event and possibly get to Atlanta for the Final Four.
Full Scoreboard on March 21
No. 3 Michigan State 65, No. 14 Valparaiso 54
No. 6 Butler 68, No. 11 Bucknell 56
No. 9 Wichita State 73, No. 8 Pittsburgh 55
No. 4 Saint Louis 66, No. 13 New Mexico State 44
No. 6 Memphis 54, No. 11 Saint Mary's 52
No. 3 Marquette 59, No. 14 Davidson 58
No. 1 Gonzaga 64, No. 16 Southern 58
No. 12 Oregon 68, No. 5 Oklahoma State 55
No. 1 Louisville 79, No. 16 North Carolina A&T 48
No. 4 Michigan 71, No. 13 South Dakota State 56
No. 6 Arizona 81, No. 11 Belmont 64
No. 12 California 64, No. 5 UNLV 61
No. 8 Colorado State 84, No. 9 Missouri 72
No. 5 VCU 88, No. 12 Akron 42
No. 14 Harvard 68, No. 3 New Mexico 62
No. 4 Syracuse 81, No. 13 Montana 34
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