It's not called March Madness for nothing.
After just one day in the NCAA tournament, brackets everywhere are already shattered as a handful of crucial upsets have already taken place. In fact, the first game of the tournament featured one of the most riveting upsets from Day 1 as No. 11 Dayton knocked off No. 6 Ohio State.
That defeat from the tip of the tournament resulted in millions of upset Buckeyes fans, but also resulted in just as many red marks on brackets. SportsCenter takes a look at the percentage of perfect sheets that remained after the tournament opener:
The loss also ruined President Barack Obama's bracket as he had the Buckeyes going all the way to the Sweet 16, as Chris Carlson of The Post-Standard notes:
Welp, there goes Obama's bracket. Mr. President had the Buckeyes beating #Syracuse.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) March 20, 2014
While the Buckeyes loss wasn't the only upset through Day 1 of the second round, it was certainly the most memorable with Aaron Craft ending his illustrious career on his back after missing the final bucket.
As the tournament turns toward Day 2 of the second round, here is a look at the schedule and picks for the next round of the opening weekend.
|Matchup||Time (ET||TV||Live Stream||Pick|
|Mercer #14 vs. Duke #3||12:15 pm||CBS||NCAA.com||Duke|
|Nebraska #11 vs. Baylor #6||12:40 pm||truTV||NCAA.com||Baylor|
|Stanford #10 vs. New Mexico #7||1:40 pm||TBS||NCAA.com||Stanford|
|Weber St. #16 vs. Arizona #1||2:10 pm||TNT||NCAA.com||Arizona|
|Tennessee #11 vs. UMass #6||2:45 pm||CBS||NCAA.com||UMass|
|UL-Lafayette #14 vs. Creighton #3||3:10 pm||truTV||NCAA.com||Creighton|
|Eastern Ky. #15 vs. Kansas #2||4:10 pm||TBS||NCAA.com||Kansas|
|Oklahoma St. #9 vs. Gonzaga #8||4:40 pm||TNT||NCAA.com||Oklahoma St.|
|Geo. Wash. #9 vs. Memphis #8||6:55 pm||TBS||NCAA.com||Memphis|
|Cal Poly #16 vs. Wichita St. #1||7:10 pm||CBS||NCAA.com||Wichita St.|
|Providence #11 vs. N. Carolina #6||7:20 pm||TNT||NCAA.com||UNC|
|SF Austin #12 vs. VCU #5||7:27 pm||truTV||NCAA.com||SF Austin|
|Coast. Car. #16 vs. Virginia #1||9:25 pm||TBS||NCAA.com||Virginia|
|Kansas St. #9 vs. Kentucky #8||9:40 pm||CBS||NCAA.com||Kentucky|
|N.C. Central #14 vs. Iowa St. #3||9:50 pm||TNT||NCAA.com||Iowa St.|
|Tulsa #13 vs. UCLA #4||9:57 pm||truTV||NCAA.com||UCLA|
Duke Takes Down Mercer Behind Parker, Hood
Throughout the season, Duke has been one of the best teams in the entire country. With talent at nearly every position, don't expect the Blue Devils to meet a similar fate as 2012 when they lost to Lehigh in the opening round.
Mercer does feature two talented players in Langston Hall and Daniel Coursey who can score at will, but the Bears don't have the athleticism to keep up with Duke's tandem of Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker.
Even as one of the most talented freshmen in the country, Parker is still enamored by the potential of playing in the NCAA tournament, according to Steve Wiseman of The Herald-Sun:
Shelden Williams, J.J. Redick, even before that with Chris Duhon and those teams. I always saw them doing well in the tournament and always having that energy and that focus as a team that always brought them together.
It’s something that isn’t going to be around too long. You have to cherish it when you are on the court. There’s no time to be in awe or shock or looking at it with anxiousness. It’s looking at it when you are on the court. That’s what’s going to help me out in our play.
The supremely talented duo has a shot at replicating what the aforementioned Duhon had a chance to do in winning a National Championship with Duke. But before they can get to that point, the Blue Devils will need to dispatch a Mercer team hungry to advance.
With plenty of offensive firepower and an improved defensive effort that they showed against N.C. State in the ACC tournament, Duke should easily advance to the round of 32. And with a matchup against either UMass or Tennessee on slate, the Devils will get to the Sweet 16 for a second straight season.
Oklahoma State Trounces Gonzaga
The Cowboys are anxious and ready after coming up well short of preseason hopes during the regular season.
Despite Gonzaga pulling off 28 wins and claiming the West Coast Conference title this year, they are running up against an offensive buzz saw in the Cowboys. The Zags still feature a strong offensive tandem of Kevin Pangos and Sam Dower on the outside and inside, respectively, but are no match for the Cowboys.
When asked who he would choose in the matchup, Patrick Stevens of Syracuse.com—the only bracketologist to correctly pick all 68 teams—said he believes OKSU will come out on top:
I'll go with Marcus Smart and Co. RT @NastyChicken47: A lot of people like OSU to beat Gonzaga. Who do you think wins?— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) March 18, 2014
Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, much like Hood and Parker for Duke, are as quick and accurate as any players in the country. Brown brings both senior leadership and a calming effect for the up-and-down program along with an outstanding shooting touch.
As for Smart, the sophomore is not only a lock as a lottery pick if he decides to leave Clearwater after this season, but is also clearly one of the best players ever in the Big 12 conference, as ESPN Stats & Info points out:
Marcus Smart became the 1st player in Big 12 history with at least 18 pts, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 steals in game (league began 1996-97)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 13, 2014
There have been issues for Smart this season, which have been well publicized. But with another shot at getting his team to the second weekend of the Big Dance, expect Smart and Brown to come out on fire against Gonzaga.
And with a huge matchup against Arizona on Sunday, the Cowboys will do everything in their power to end their season on a high note with a shocking upset.
North Carolina Gets Hard Fought Win Over Providence
North Carolina and Providence are two teams that appeared to have their hopes dashed early on in the season but rebounded nicely to wind up in the NCAA tournament.
The Tar heels got off to a shocking 1-4 start in the ACC including crushing defeats at the hands of Wake Forest and Miami. But a streak of 12 straight wins that was highlighted by two wins over in-state rival N.C. State and a home victory over arch-rival Duke, the Heels come in with hopes of another title under coach Roy Williams.
As for the Friars, an 0-2 start in the conference and an early loss to Seton Hall put the program in the doldrums of the Big East. But thanks to a late-season run and winning the conference tournament with a win over No. 14 Creighton, Providence has aspirations of continuing that run in the tournament.
But the talents of James Michael McAdoo and the premier shooting touch of Marcus Paige will overpower even Bryce Cotton, a true ironman in college basketball with 39.9 minutes per game this season.
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