-So Monmouth blew out Hampton 71-49 in the play in game tonight. Hampton had the worst RPI of any team with a winning record in the entire country and you can thank those conference tournaments for that. Now every year after this game ends the ESPN analyst has to talk about the school getting it's first ever NCAA tournament win, which always annoys me, and tonight was no different. Did Monmouth really win a tournamnet game? After all it is the "play in" game which by the wording of it seems to indicate that the winner of the game gets into the tournament. In my view Monmouth has now qualified for the tournament while Hampton has failed to do so. Monmouth will win its first real tournament game if it were to beat Villanova, which we know won't happen.
-The other postseason tournament started tonight, the NIT. I normally never pay attention to it but after a lackluster year Stanford finds themself in it, snapping their 11 year NCAA tournament streak. They beat Virginia 65-49 in their Opening Round game as UVA looked like a team that traveled 3000 miles for a game they didn't want to play which tends to happen in the NIT as motivation plays a big factor in how long a team lasts in it. Cardinal travel to play the biggest snub of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State for their next game where they'll probably get slaughtered but hey for one night at least Stanford didn't look like mediocre team they are.
-Due to Stanford's lack of success they didn't have as many t.v. games as past years when they were a Top 10 team thus I paid a lot less attention to college basketball this year. This of course creates a problem filling out a bracket but sometimes less knowledge is a good thing. My typical formula is to look a trends for past tournaments. Things such as usually one 13, one 12, and one 11 seed will pull off a 1st round upset and at least one double digit seed will get into the Sweet 16. Of course this strategy is very hit and miss as it can really be a guessing game when it comes to picking true upset (#9 over #8, #10 over #7 aren't upsets). But I prefer doing this as I rarely play for money, including this year, so it makes it more interesting to try to have some low seed teams picked out that I can root for on the first couple of days. So here's my true upsets for the first round with very little actual research going into it:
Southern Illinois over West Virginia
Bradley over Kansas
Utah State over Washington
I then have Bradley beating Pittsburgh to become the 3rd #13 seed ever to get to the Sweet 16. Ya I've really lost it on that one. Northern Iowa is my #10 seed getting to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Ohio State. Other things of note is I having Syracuse beating Duke in the Sweet 16 which may just be my disgust for Duke but a #1 seed getting bumped for the Elite Eight is usually a strong bet. Everyone seems to be picking Tennessee to be an early exit so I put them into the Elite Eight before losing to UConn. I have Oklahoma reaching the Elite Eight which again I've probably lost it on that one. Then to finish it off I have Iowa getting all the way to the national championship game before losing to UConn.
-Annnnnnnnnnnd time to finish this off with some useless facts. Here's the biggest first round upset of every tournament since they expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
1985: #13 Navy 78, #4 LSU 55
1986: #14 Cleveland State 83, #3 Indiana 79
1987: #14 Austin Peay 68, #3 Illinois 67
1988: #14 Murray State 78, #3 N.C. State 75
1989: #14 Siena 80, #3 Stanford 78
1990: #14 Northern Iowa 74, #3 Missouri 71
1991: #15 Richmond 73, #2 Syracuse 69
1992: #14 East Tennessee State 87, #3 Arizona 80
1993: #15 Santa Clara 64, #2 Arizona 61
1994: #12 Wisconsin-Green Bay 61, #5 California 57
1995: #14 Weber State 79, #3 Michigan State 72
1996: #13 Princeton 43, #4 UCLA 41
1997: #15 Coppin State 78, #2 South Carolina 65
1998: #14 Richmond 62, #3 South Carolina 61
1999: #14 Weber State 76, #3 North Carolina 74
2000: #11 Pepperdine 77, #6 Indiana 57
2001: #15 Hampton 58, #2 Iowa State 57
2002: #13 UNC-Wilmington 93, #4 USC 89 OT
2003: #13 Tulsa 84, #4 Dayton 71
2004: #12 Manhattan 75, #5 Florida 60
2005: #14 Bucknell 64, # Kansas 63