After one day of the NCAA tournament, I stand at 13-3.  That’s not great, since “chalk” picks would have gone 14-2.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Head coach Shaka ...

My best pick was #12 VCU over #5 Wichita State.  (Note: numbers used in this article are seeds, and not rankings).  Personally, I didn’t even consider this to be an upset.  This is a team that made a Final Four run last year.  Regardless of player turnover, coach Shaka Smart  remains with the team.  I’m not yet anointing VCU as this decade’s Gonzaga, but I’d like to point out the fact that Smart is 10-1 all-time in post-season tournaments.  In addition to the success last year, he led the 2010 team to the CBI tournament championship.  Sure, the CBI is a far less prestigious tournament, but it would seem that Smart does well with the one-and-done philosophy of tournament play.  Whether Smart can continue to turn down opportunities to earn more money at other schools remains to be seen – but it would be nice to see him stick around VCU and turn them into a perennial power.

My worst pick was Davidson over Louisville.  Even worse, I picked Davidson to advance to the Sweet 16.  One of these years, I’m going to do a chalk bracket, I swear.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Royce White #30 of...

UConn became the first defending champ to get bounced in the first round since UCLA in 1996.  My Iowa State Cyclones roared out to a 22 point lead early in the game and fended off some late charges by the Huskies.  Iowa State now faces #1 overall seed Kentucky.  However, if the team can manage to play as well as they did early in last night’s game, I think they have a chance to win the game an advance.  I do have the concerns that Royce White may have punched his ticket to the NBA and will leave after this year.  I’d really prefer that he return for at least another year.  The 6’8″ power forward led the Cyclones in five statistical categories and is quick to exploit mismatches.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Fab Melo #51 of the ...

The biggest story of the day was #1 seed Syracuse needing a second half rally to beat 16 seed UNC Asheville.  Although coach Jim Boeheim didn’t thing that the Orange were the beneficiaries of any luck in the game, I would disagree.  This is a game that was hotly contested in the final minute, and could easily have gone either way – especially if a controversial call had gone UNC Asheville’s way.  I initially had Syracuse as a Final Four team in my bracket, but pulled them back to be just a Sweet 16 team upon the news that Fab Melo would not be allowed to play in any tournament games.  I think this was a wise decision.

Personally, I thought the biggest surprise in the Thursday session was the Pac 12 getting a win from Colorado.  The Pac 12 was a very mediocre (bad) conference this year, and was fortunate to get two teams into the 68 team field (Cal was bounced in the opening round).

Personally, I don’t find it that surprising that some of the teams from smaller schools play well in the tournaments.  The standard mantra from the analysts is that it’s all about having a team peak at tournament time.  For teams that come from one-bid conference, they are in the tournament because they won their conference tournament.  That’s the definition of peaking. 

OK, day 2 is about to begin.  Enjoy!

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