NCAA Day 2: Mid-majors hold serve
Friday was not the spectacular day of basketball that we had Thursday in the NCAA Tournament. But it remained interesting.
Winner: Mid-majors. We didn’t see the big upsets we saw Thursday — no Ohio, no Murray State — but mid-majors went 2-4 vs. BCS conference opponents, after going 4-1 vs. the BCS on Thursday. That’s a first-round record of 6-5. Read that again. Mid-majors beat the big boys more often than they lost. Understand, I don’t rate anyone outside the BCS as mid-major. The MEAC and the Southland are not mid-major. Friday, Xavier beat Minnesota and Gonzaga beat Florida State. The losses? Purdue beat Siena, Maryland beat Houston, Michigan State survived New Mexico State and Texas A&M beat Utah State.
Loser: Big 12. And Oklahoma State is part of the problem. The Big 12 stood poised to dominate this tournament. With the SEC and Big East stumbling, the Big 12 went head-to-head with the ACC in three tossup games. Win two of those three, and the Big 12 would be the major-conference story of the tournament. Instead, the ACC won two of three, including Georgia Tech’s 64-59 win over OSU on Friday night. The Big 12 still has the most second-round teams (five), but the league could have been in much better shape.
Winner: Pac-10. California popped Louisville, giving the Pac-10 a 2-0 record. If Cal loses to Duke and Washington loses to New Mexico, then the Pac-10 goes bye-bye. But for one round, the Pac-10 has the tournament’s best record.
Loser: Big East. A 4-4 record after one round is horrible for a BCS league. The Big East was not impressive at all.
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