The NCAA tournament got underway on Thursday and after 12+ hours of watching hoops, there was plenty of excitement to talk about...
*How about my Hilltoppers? Western Kentucky held off Illinois, 76-72. They were up big and made me stress things out at the end, but a win is a win baby! All five starters scored in double-figures for Western Kentucky, including a team-high 17 points from Steffphon Pettigrew. The Hilltoppers became the second team to win a tournament game in consecutive years as a 12-seed or worse (Tulsa in 2002).
*Top Teams Roll - Memphis and Villanova got a bit of a scare in the opening round, but for the most part the top teams rolled with North Carolina, Connecticut, Duke Memphis, and Oklahoma winning their games by a combined average of 29.1 points.
*Close But No Cigar - VCU, a trendy No. 11 seed pick, had the ball in their best player's hands (Eric Maynor) with a shot to win it at the buzzer, but Maynor drove the lane and his shot roll off the rim and the clock hit zeroe and the Bruins squeaked out a 65-64 win. UCLA, which has made the Final Four each of the last three seasons, narrowly escaped a first-round exit.
*Tigers Impressive - Two streaks ended Thursday: LSU got its first NCAA tournament win since the 2006 Elite Eight, while Butler had its four-game, first round winning streak snapped. The Tigers are underrated and play great defense. They are going to push North Carolina more than most think on Saturday.
*Watching Games Online - I loved my setup yesterday. I have my desktop computer going right into my HDTV and watched split screen with CBS-TV on one side and CBSSports.com on the otherside. Pretty sweet, especially since it was free. The delay is annoying at times, but I will deal with it.
*My Bracket - 14-2 so far as I had lost with Clemson and VCU. Today is going to be a bit more crazy though, mark my words.
*Prediction Time - Arizona and Utah State today are my underdog picks. Also, look for FSU to blowout Wisconsin.