Well, that didn’t disappoint.
Fans around the country are still trying to catch their breath after a thrilling day one. If this is any indication of what this tournament is going to be like, we’re in for an epic few weeks.
Let’s get right to it…
As the immortal Dick Vitale would say, “PTPers BABY!!”
The big names didn’t fail to disappoint. Jimmer Fredette poured in 32 points (on a very Carmelo-like, 10-25) and dropped 7 dimes in a blowout of Wofford. No surprise there.
“The Bridge Over The River” Kawhi Leonard (too obscure for you? See here) had an excellent game (21 points, 10 boards) in leading SDSU over the pesky lilliputian, Devon Beitzel and No. Colorado. Beitzel put up 25 in a losing effort.
Jacob Pullen didn’t disappoint either, scoring 22 in a win over Utah State, a game which many analysts had picked as an upset special.
The performance of the night, however, probably belongs to Kemba Walker who nearly put up a triple-double, notching 18 points, 12 assists, and 8 boards in an undressing of Bucknell. This is just the beginning for Kemba, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him just get better and better as the tournament rolls on.
Upset Specials & Buzzer Beaters
There were a few big upsets yesterday that blew up a lot of brackets (and a couple that didn’t happen that blew up my bracket…I drank the Izzo-Kool-Aid and it led me to ruin), and more than a few scintillating buzzer beaters.
Richmond stunned Vanderbilt with a big shot by guard Kevin Anderson (25 points), a floater with 18.7 seconds left that proved to be the game winner.
Butler beat ODU at the buzzer thanks to a great hustle play and an enormous amount of luck.
Michigan State was down big to UCLA before mounting a furious comeback on a barrage of threes and a cavalcade of missed free throws from the Bruins (a putrid 30-47 from the charity stripe). The comeback eventually fell short but it was a valiant effort from a tourney-tested team that simply dug themselves too deep of a hole.
Kentucky narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of Princeton, saved by a buzzer beating layup by stud freshman (as if Kentucky actually had any non-freshman in the Coach Cal Era) Brandon Knight. Knight had played poorly up until that point but redeemed himself with a tough scoop in traffic as time expired.
The upset of the day, however, was Kenneth Faried and 13-seed Morehead State downing Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals, the 4-seed. Faried played a monster game putting up 13 points, ripping down 17 boards, and the game saving blocked shot on a last second 3-point attempt. If you read my “Top 5 Under-The-Radar…” piece yesterday, then you know how excited I am to get to watch Faried do work yet again. I love his game and so do NBA scouts. I can’t fail to mention Faried’s teammate, Demonte Harper, who, with ice-water in his veins, nailed the game winning 3 with just over 4 seconds left to play.
In all, a GREAT first day of action. Enjoy day 2.
-by Max Joice