NCAA Tournament Primer: Day 1
I know four NCAA tournament games are already in the books, but let's be honest - the tournament starts in earnest with 16 games on Thursday, and 16 more on Friday.
With so much to choose from, and four channels plus an ultra-cool March Madness app to view the games, how should you divide your attention? I've created a daily tournament primer to make aid in your day of zero productivity.
Thursday, March 21
GAME OF THE DAY:
Butler vs. Bucknell. Don't expect a lot of scoring, but expect a very close contest. The 6th seeded Bulldogs have fallen out of the top-25, but when it comes to the NCAA tournament, they have worn the glass slipper on more than one occasion. Bucknell earned a tournament berth by winning the Patriot League tournament. Bucknell forward Mike Muscala is the best player on either team.
I also like Colorado State (8) vs. Missouri (9) and Oregon (12) vs. Oklahoma State (5).
UPSET PICK OF THE DAY
Belmont (11) over Arizona (6). This is a trendy upset pick for good reason. The Wildcats come limping in to the tournament having lost three of their last five games, including a pair of losses to the UCLA Bruins. Standing in Arizona's way on Thursday are the Belmont Bruins. Belmont is a perennial upset pick due to their on-court leadership, ability to knock down the three, and coaching.
Marquette, the number 3 seed in the east region, will take on 14-seed Davidson at about 2:10pm in Lexington. Davidson won the Southern Conference with a 17-1 record. The Wildcats only losses since January 1 are to Duke and at Georgia Southern. They currently own the nation's longest winning streak at 17 straight. While the overall strength of their schedule is low, Davidson's average margin of victory is over 11 points per game. They are smart, well-coached, and some so-called experts believe they will have the two best players on the floor.
PLAYERS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT:
Anthony Bennett (UNLV) - The 6'9" freshman forward averages 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Bennett reminds me of former stud Runnin' Rebel, Larry Johnson. Bennett will be a lottery pick in June's NBA draft should he decide to go pro.
Mike Muscala (Bucknell) - Big. Mobile. Versatile. Muscala was the Patriot League player of the year and averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Sim Bhullar (New Mexico St) - Dude is a 7'5" freshman from Toronto. I'm guessing he will be trending on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
Nate Wolters - South Dakota St - The 6'4" senior guard has NBA talent. He averaged 22.7 points per game and just under 6 assists. His matchup against Michigan's Trey Burke figures to be an outstanding battle of two great scorers.