News And Notes From An Excellent First Day Of NCAA B-B-B-B-B-Basketball ...
• The main reason everyone was so befuddled by Billy Packer's demented rant on the NCAA Selection Show last Sunday was because he was railing against exactly what fans like the most about the tournament; small-school teams knocking off established favorites. The rambling Packer revealed himself as less a moron than dangerously out-of-touch, particularly for the supposed No. 1 basketball analyst in the country. Anyway, yesterday was a day that would have made Packer happy, if no one else. No major upsets — unless you consider Oklahoma losing a big upset, which we don't — and the favorites mostly moved on, even with a scare or two. The tournament's first day is always thrilling ... but we're hoping for more shaking of the tree today.
• Particularly now that Illinois has already advanced. (We told you about Jamar Smith, people!)
• See, even the Syracuse game didn't feel like much of an upset. In fact, when we were putting together our big NCAA tournament preview thing, we had Texas A&M's preview assigned before we had Syracuse, because they were more of a lock for the tourney. So not your typical 12-5.
• "I feel great. We lost my last game, and we lost it because of me. So yeah. I feel great." That's from Gerry McNamara. Oof. Happy St. Patrick's Day, man!
• We think we might have Montana fever.
• Admit it; there was a tiny second you thought, "Southern's hanging in with Duke!" and you started bouncing a bit. We'll admit it. We always do this until a No. 16 seed is down by 20 or more.
• We hate it when the heavily favored team hits a wild shot to win a game, and we really hate it when Bruce Pearl coaches that team.
• After yesterday's mostly successful (unexpectedly so) launch of March Madness On Demand, we're going to try it today during our live-blogs. So all that positivity yesterday? Expect it to go away with a vengeance if we're stuck watching Connecticut-Albany exclusively.
• Congratulations to "Cheney's Goons" (S. Desai) and "Jewish Jordan Farmar" (B. Ashin) for being the only two members of 1,540 members of the Deadspin NCAA pool group to nail all 16 games yesterday. Impressive. Pull it off today, either one of you, and you're gods sent down to earth to save us from chaos and disorder.