Despite the fact that they were the top seed in the weakest region of the NCAA Tournament, you could pretty much guess that Gonzaga was going to be the first No. 1 seed to get bounced. That scenario became a reality last night as the No. 9 seed Wichita State Shockers willed themselves to an upset vicory, 76-70, handing the ‘Zags their first loss in nine weeks … Gonzaga was in the driver’s seat deep into the second half, but WSU hit a stream of incredible jumpers down the stretch while flustering Gonzaga on the defensive end, exploiting a real weakness for the No. 1-ranked team in the country [They could have used some of this]. Gonzaga was basically playing 3-vs-5 on the offensive end, because David Stockton and Mike Hart rarely, if ever shoot, leaving everything to Kevin Pangos, Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris to play against five guys. That might work when you’re beating up on the University of Portland, but that doesn’t fly in this setting. The ‘Zags struggled down the stretch to get good looks while the Shockers kept scoring … Outside of that upset, the majority of Saturday felt like the top seeds were out to send the message early that play time is over. The day started with Michigan blasting a very good VCU squad, 78-53. The majority of the damage for the Wolverines was done by Trey Burke (17 points), who seemed to be able to get whatever shot he wanted, whenever he chose to go get it. And the big boost was provided by the still-emerging Mitch McGary, who busted up VCU for 21 and 14 boards. McGary looked so good yesterday, twitter was all about draft pundits talking about his stock if he decides to go to the League … And one last bit on Michigan: Wherever you have their run ending in your bracket, unless it’s the Final Four, you might be losing out. Bill Raftery nailed it when he said, “You get the feeling that Michigan was getting tired of hearing all the naysayers down the stretch.” Yesterday was the best they’ve looked in weeks and now they have a level of momentum and confidence that makes them super dangerous … Louisville, the hottest No. 1 seed, just shredded a tough Colorado State squad, 82-56. There’s really nothing that the Rams â€“ or likely any other team in the country â€“ could have done to beat the Cardinals yesterday … We’ve discussed a scorching No. 1 seed and a 4-seed (Michigan) that is getting hot at just the right time. Now let’s talk about the Orgeon Ducks, a team clearly feeling completely disrespected for their 12-seeding following their conference tournament championship. And now they’re taking it out on everyone in their way. They killed Oklahoma State in their first game and then yesterday just bludgeoned nationwide office bracket Final Four darling St. Louis, 74-57. The Ducks are a machine right now, seemingly drilling every shot they take (shot 53% from the floor yesterday, including eight threes on 73% from behind the arc). Pair that shooting with the manic, single-minded rebounding attack of Arsalan Kazemi (16 more boards yesterday â€“ no one else on either side even had double figures) and you have a serious problem … Arizona was another one of those high seeds that took care of business, smashing Harvard, 74-51. It felt like the ‘Cats were sick of all the hype around the Ivy champs and just wanted to stomp them out. Mission accomplished …
Did you catch Butler/Marquette last night? Possibly the best game of the tournament so far. So much back and forth, so many big shots, and both teams were just killing each other. Unfortunately, what will likely stick with people will be the debacle of a final shot for Butler. With the opportunity to tie or win with a three with 2.5 seconds to go, Bulldogs center Andrew Smith got hung up at the top of the key and hurled some sort of sidearm brick at the glass. Ballgame … Here’s an alarming development for the Memphis Grizzlies and their fans: Marc Gasol is out indefinitely after re-aggravating an abdominal tear last night against New Orleans. At the very least, Gasol is probably out for the rest of the regular season, and there’s no telling what he’ll be like when he does return … They were matched up last night against the Kevin Garnett-less (ankle) Celtics, and were in control for much of the game until they let Boston get within two on the back of a 30-point Celtic fourth quarter. With no Gasol, Jerryd Bayless took advantage of the extra looks on offense, coming off the bench and getting 20 of his 30 in the first half, a season high by any Memphis player. And all five Memphis starters had 10+ points … A hot start by Carmelo Anthony allowed the Knicks to jump out and coast to a victory against the Raptors. In the first half, Melo put up 19 of his 28 on 6-11 shooting. He only needed to play 30 minutes … How about Kenyon Martin? Another strong game â€“ 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks … In other notable NBA action, the Denver Nuggets beat the Sacramento Kings for their 15th straight win and the Clippers beat the Nets in L.A. thanks to a 17-point fourth quarter from Chris Paul … We’re out like the ‘Zags.
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