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March Madness - Day 1 Recap

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

The tournament is living up to the height! After Day 1, I'm even more excited than I was going in after witnessing some great basketball, a lot of back and forth close games and stars emerging under pressure.

Boston College blew a large second half lead and needed double overtime to beat Pacific. What's even more amazing was that Boston College's Craig Smith, a senior, needed to hit 2 free throws to tie the game for BC - a 60ish% free throw shooter. He calmly swished both free throws to give his team a chance to win. Those free throws will be lost after the later rounds get played, but Smith deserves a ton of credit for stepping up when other seniors, like Steve Novak (Marquette), couldn't hit the shot to give their teams the same chance to win.

With the game tied, Chris Lofton of Tennessee threw up a fade away prayer from the corner to beat #15 seeded Winthrop to break their losing streak. Adam Morrison scored 7 points in the last 2 minutes to beat Xavier (who blew a 9 point lead). Now, it will be interesting to see how BC, Gonzaga and Tennessee respond in their next games as usually high seeded teams who get an early round scare tend to go on runs in the tournament.

The upset specials of the day were handed out by Montana who beat up Nevada by dropping 87 points and UW-Milwaukee who outscored the Big 12's Oklahoma Sooners. What about Texas A&M you say? Well, at game time, they were one point favorites against #5 seed Syracuse and they showed why. Gerry McNamara didn't score a field goal for the entire game and Syracuse was outrebounded, outhustled and overmatched.

The only #1 seed to play, Duke, looked bored, uninterested and unmotivated and only pulled away from Southern late after only holding a single point lead for 75% of the game. JJ Redick and Shelden Williams were the only Blue Devils who scored with any proficiency as their teammates could not get it done offensively. Williams and Redick had 58 of the team's 70 total points - an effort that cannot be duplicated if they have any hopes of knocking off George Washington in the next round.

Day 2 should have just as many great games - keep checking back for more updates.