"It's Friday; I'm in love."
That may be the famous line from The Cure's "Friday I'm In Love," but it also perfectly describes how most of us feel about the NCAA tournament during the second day of the round of 64. As if the start of the weekend wasn't great enough, we also got 16 college basketball games to sink our teeth into.
And boy oh boy, did the early games live up to the hype.
Below, you'll find the day's early scores and a collection of thoughts about what we learned on an exciting day of action. Friday, never hesitate...
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|Midwest||No. 14 Mercer||78-71||No. 3 Duke|
|West||No. 6 Baylor||74-60||No. 11 Nebraska|
|South||No. 10 Stanford||58-53||No. 7 New Mexico|
|West||No. 1 Arizona||68-59||No. 16 Weber State|
|Midwest||No. 11 Tennessee||86-67||No. 6 UMass|
|West||No. 3 Creighton||76-66||No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette|
|South||No. 2 Kansas||80-69||No. 15 Eastern Kentucky|
|West||No. 8 Gonzaga||85-77||No. 9 Oklahoma State|
Once again, upsets were the major theme in the early going on Friday.
Mercer knocked off Duke. Tennessee crushed UMass (though, let's be honest, that was a pretty popular "upset" pick). Stanford handled New Mexico. And while Arizona, Creighton and Kansas won, they were really challenged by Weber State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Eastern Kentucky, respectively.
We learned quite a bit on Friday.
We learned that Mercer knows how to get down after an upset over Duke, for one.
If that doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing will. Well, unless you're a Duke fan.
We learned that Doug McDermott is still really, really good, as he led Creighton with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Is there anybody better in college basketball?
We learned that Tennessee isn't to be trifled with amid a streak of hot play that has seen the team win seven of eight. In the process, we also learned that the First Four teams shouldn't be taken lightly. From SportsCenter:
Oh, and we learned that the laws of physics don't always seem to apply to Andrew Wiggins.
Tennessee hammers UMass, 86-67. A First Four team has made round of 32 all four years since tourney went to 68 teams. pic.twitter.com/1HjaZ5JxXS— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 21, 2014
Good grief, what a dunk.
We again learned that the top teams in this tournament are vulnerable. Teams like Arizona, Creighton, Louisville, Florida, Kansas and Villanova have all been really challenged thus far.
Call it a byproduct of one-and-done superstars, call it the madness that is only conjured during March, call it whatever you like—there is a very real sense of parity in this tournament thus far, and the upsets are starting to feel inevitable.
We learned that Marcus Smart can literally contribute in every single facet of the game—he had 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six steals against Gonzaga—and it still isn't enough to get the Cowboys past the round of 64.
We also learned that complaining about the refs or feigning fouls that don't exist won't help you advance. From Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated:
Famous last words. Literally last words—Smart surely will head to the NBA this summer.
What we already knew, of course, was that the NCAA tournament is the best yearly sporting event around. And it was certainly proved Friday in the first eight games.
So what do we have to look forward to on Saturday?
We get old Big East rivals, Villanova and UConn, squaring off. Upstart Dayton gets to deal with Syracuse's suffocating zone defense. Popular upset pick Harvard has to find a way to slow down Michigan State's Adreian Payne, who scored 41 points against Delaware. Texas will try to solve Michigan's efficient offense with its imposing interior play. And North Dakota State will see if it can make it two upsets in a row when it takes on San Diego State.
That's just a sampling, of course, as an already brilliant tournament rolls on. It's going to be a fun weekend, folks.