Tracking the Madness: 1st Session Superlatives

Wrapping up today’s first session of Madness, which featured OK State (8) beating Tennessee (9) ; Syracuse (3) beating Stephen F. Austin (14); Marquette (6) beating Utah State (11); and Kansas (3) beating North Dakota St. (14).
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↵Game:
This is a really, really tricky call given that this is how the television above me looked as the first session today was coming to an end:
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↵At one point in the second half, the grand total of the score differential amongst three games was four points. But, I must pick one as the best of the session, so I’ll go with Kansas-North Dakota State. Sure, it didn’t have the exciting finish that Marquette-Utah State and Tenn-OK State had, but on the whole, it was the most thrilling game so far today. ND State kept it close all game and the back-and-forth between KU’s Sherron Collins and ND State’s Ben Woodside was great theater. ↵
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↵Oh, I might have mentioned something about an exciting finish in those other two games. Well, here is the shot of the Tournament thus far. It comes from OK State’s Byron Eaton, whose and-one with six seconds left gave the Cowboys a victory: ↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵

↵Man: Ben Woodside. Like Memphis’ Roburt Sallie yesterday, the Tournament gives birth to another previously unknown hero. Woodside averaged 22 points a game for North Dakota State this season, playing in the Summit League. Today, he put up 37 against Kansas, and was unstoppable at times. Although, granted, he’s use to playing against far superior competition. The Kansas Jayhawks are certainly no Centenary Gentlemen. ↵

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↵Disappointment: Tennessee’s last second three that would’ve tied that game came up just short, clanging off the front iron. It really would’ve been nice to see our first buzzer-beater, which would’ve won the game for the Vols. ↵

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↵CBS Coverage Highlight: Gus Johnson is just getting into full Madness Mode. A couple of gems from the Kansas-ND State game he was thankfully calling: ↵

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↵“I tell ya what folks, this kid is a baller! This is Steve Nash. Right here. In Minnesota!” That was in reference to Woodside, who is white and plays point guard. The comparison is oh so obvious. ↵

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↵“You are seeing two little FIRE PLUGS at point guard.” I don’t know what a fire plug is, but it sounds ... um, painful. ↵

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↵Bracket Status: Fair condition. I’d guess about 50% of the bracketing public got the Tenn-OK State game wrong -- it was a total toss-up. But that shouldn’t hurt much. I can’t imagine anyone picked either of those teams to get past Pitt. Also, if you’re like me, and picked Marquette to upset Missouri, you may have cause of concern after they nearly blew an early lead against Utah State today. ↵

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↵Implications: I haven’t mentioned Syracuse yet, who did, in fact, play a game in this early session. They crushed Stephen F. Austin and showed no signs of wear from their Big East marathon. Sure, it was against just a 14-seed, but it helped slightly justify their popular Elite Eight status. Or at least calm concerns about their energy levels. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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