After winning the Big 10 tournament, Michigan St hoped their excellent season would be rewarded with a number one seed. Instead, the Spartans were given the second seed in the South Region, where they would meet Conference USA Champion Middle Tennessee St. The Blue Raiders jumped on Sparty early, getting off to a 10 point lead just four minutes into the game behind the outside shooting of Giddy Potts. Michigan St pulled within two points multiple times, but MTSU lead wire-to-wire in this stunning upset. Spartan fans will forever be wondering what could have been with this team if they hadn't overlooked their first round opponent.
2. Daniel Ochefu's ankle looks healthy
The Villanova big man was hobbled for much of late part of the season with a concussion and ankle injury, and has not been effective on floor during that time. Ochefu finally seemed to be getting back to his old self on Friday, as he lead the Wildcats with 17 points and 10 rebounds in their first round victory over UNC-Asheville. The senior leader will need to be a major factor for Villanova if they want to make a run in the tournament.
3. Press Virginia can be broken
The most exciting game of the day may have Stephen F. Austin's upset of West Virginia. The Lumberjacks were able to break Bob Huggins' vaunted press defense with their four guard lineup, as they set the pace in this up and down affair. Thomas Walkup maybe had the performance of the day with his 33 points, making 19 of his 20 free throw attempts.
4. Villanova will face a tired opponent in Round 2
Iowa's game Friday was very reminiscent of their season. They got off to a great start as their offense was clicking on all cylinders, but failed the close out the game with their defense.
After Temple overcame multiple double digit deficits to force overtime, the Hawkeyes were finally able to put the game away for good on a last second put back by Adam Woodbury. Despite the overtime victory, Iowa cannot feel good about the way this game went down. They were sloppy in the second half while letting Temple back in the game, and missed multiple opportunities to put the game away in regulation.
Iowa will feel lucky to escape this round and advance to meet Villanova.
5. Boring is good for Xavier
The Musketeers played no part in today's madness, and for a two seed that's the best news you can hear. Xavier were able to impose their physical dominance on Weber State, as they out-rebounded the 15 seed 41-25 in the game. James Farr was had one of the best games of his career with an 18 point, 15 rebound performance. Xavier didn't really have to break much of a sweat in this one, and that's exactly what they wanted in their opener.
6. Not having two starters hurts Cal
Many people had pegged California as a team on the rise entering the NCAA Tournament. That was before Tyrone Wallace and Jabari Bird were lost to injury prior to their first round game. The Cal offense looked stagnant at best without its point guard Wallace, and when they needed someone to hit a tough shot, they could not turn to Bird as they had so many times throughout the year.
Give Hawaii credit as they are a very talented team who deserved to win, but this was not the same Cal team we saw over the final months over the season.
7. Friday Nights in Brooklyn are fun
The Barclays Center was the place to be Friday. After Villanova dismantled UNC Asheville in the early game, every minute in Brooklyn was absolutely electric. Iowa and Temple battled in a overtime thriller, Stephen F. Austin upset 3rd seeded West Virginia, and Notre Dame came back to defeat Michigan in what may have been the best atmosphere of any game on the day.
In its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Barclays Center has shown that College Basketball and New York City are a perfect fit, and the more games the merrier.
8. The buzzer-beaters live on
Northern Iowa had the best buzzer-beater of the day with Paul Jesperson's half court bank shot. Meanwhile Adam Woodbury tipped in a as the clock ran out in overtime advance Iowa to the next round.
Isaiah Miles drained a three pointer with seven seconds left to give St. Joseph's a two point lead, and Octavius Ellis nearly tied the game on a last second dunk, but his attempt came just after the buzzer.
9. Syracuse can make a run
Many people thought the Orange didn't deserve to make the NCAA Tournament. But after beating Dayton in the first round game, those thoughts are falling on deaf ears. Syracuse will now face Middle Tennessee St in the second round, giving the Orange have a tremendous opportunity to make the Sweet 16. Jim Boeheim's zone is always a weapon come March, so do not count this squad out if they advance on Sunday.
10. We know nothing...
Coming into this tournament everyone was predicting insanity, but these first two days have been everything we were hoping for and more. There have been all-time upsets, buzzer beaters, scoring outputs, and more. And the madness has just begun. This truly is setting up to be a great tournament.