The later games of the NCAA tournament last night saw just as much excitement as the first ones did. We saw 2 #14 seeds upset the #3 seed in UAB and Georgia State early in the day. The shot that was heard around the world came from R.J. Hunter from Georgia State University when he nailed a three pointer from NBA range that would eventually give his team the win. In the UAB vs. Iowa State game it all came down to who had the ball last as the teams traded go ahead baskets three times in the final minute.
Then there was North Carolina who barely managed to sneak by the Ivy League Champions, Harvard. North Carolina had a commanding lead in the second half, and then Harvard managed to pull off an insane rally to take the 65-63. The coaching of Roy Williams from North Carolina is eventually what drove them to the winner’s circle. The buzzer beater of the day came from North Carolina State’s BeeJay Anya. LSU went into the half with a commanding 14-point lead. When the second half started it was all NC State as they managed to close the gap and then it was Anya’s hook shot that put the nail in the coffin for LSU.
The hype that surrounded Kentucky was on display as the overall #1 seed shredded Hampton in what was figured to be a blowout. The most dominating performance of the day came from another #1 seed when Villanova faced off against Lafayette. This game was pretty much over from the tip as Nova rolled to a 41-point victory. Most people feel like if there is a team that has the capability to beat Kentucky, it may be Villanova.
What would the first day of the tournament be without a little controversy? UCLA and SMU were in a back and forth dogfight the entire game. It came down to the final two possessions where SMU took a 2-point lead, and then UCLA had the opportunity to answer. With the final seconds ticking down, UCLA’s Bryce Alford heaved up desperation three-pointer to take the lead that seemed to be off track. Then the unthinkable happened, SMU center Yanick Moreira leaped in the air and disturbed the ball’s path to the basket resulting in a goaltending coal. UCLA grabbed the one point lead and managed to steal a win in large part to the one of the oddest plays the tournament has ever seen.
Friday’s slate of action is sure to be just as exciting as Thursday. Brace yourself for the Madness.