This is a guest post from Terence Blackburn. A former academic leader at Michigan State and long time basketball fan, Terence will add own, specifically annotated takes on the NCAA Tournaments. He is also the father of Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer, who writes here (that guy with the “BBD’s” thing). You can read his Round 1, Day 1 recap HERE
THE BIG 10
OK, the big news here is the second super-major stop-the-presses upset in NCAA history. For those who read yesterday’s summary, the 1996 Princeton upset over the UCLA Bruins has been eclipsed, the 2018 upset of the #1 Virginia Cavaliers by the #16 University f Maryland Baltimore County has been equaled, and we now have the second ever No. 1 seed defeated by a 16 seed.
There’s a small private university in northern New Jersey – Fairleigh Dickinson, fondly known in the region as Fairly Ridiculous - with less than 8,000 full-time undergraduate students, most of whom are commuters. They field a basketball team whose average size is the SMALLEST of any of the 366 NCAA division 1 teams – average height 6’1”. And their mascot is IAN. Actually Ian the Devil – REALLY!. Wouldn’t you, if you were going to name an impressive, imposing, and perhaps a somewhat scary devil, wouldn’t YOU name it Ian? As I said, Fairly Ridiculous.
And this David of college basketball went up against Goliath, the biggest basketball player in the NCAA – 7’4” Zach Edey, and the rest of the Big 10 champion Purdue Boilermakers and they won 63-58. There are a few theories going around as to how this could happen. One is that the Purdue Boilermakers thought they were bartenders instead of metalworkers and actually drank the boilermakers. The other one that seems more likely to me is that the wrong team showed up – the FDU Devils actually defeated the Frank Perdue Chickens. And since coach Matt Painter is certainly a good tough coach, the results certainly proved out old Frank’s favorite slogan – it takes a tough coach to make a tender Chicken .
Yes, folks, there’s another Big 10 upset – it was the biggest in the Big10 at that point, until the Devils ate the Chickens for lunch. 11 seed University of Pittsburgh Panthers turned the 6 seeded Iowa State Cyclones into a mild breeze. Although the Panthers made only 34% of their FGs and 31% of their 3 pointers, the Not So Big Winds shot far worse – 23% overall, 9% of their 3s (2 of 21!) and 58% of their free throws. The Cyclones started the first half 2 for 19. And then to prove that this wasn’t a mistake, they started the second half with 2 for 19 again. We all know this was the result of stifling defense by Pitt but STILL! The final score was 59-41.
4 seed Indiana Hoosiers hoovered up the 13 seed Kent State Golden Flashes 71-60. The Hoosiers never trailed and got out to a 15 point lead during the second half.
The 7 seed Michigan State Spartans did the job. After a first half 31-31 tie with the 10 seed USC Trojans, the Spartans put their own protective sheaths on the Trojans in the second half, and the defense won the game, holding the Trojans to only 28 points, for a win 72-62.
There goes everyone’s brackets again. No, there were no perfect brackets anywhere after the carnage of Day 1, but lots of folks pinned their hopes of winning their personal pools on the 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks. Those hopes were rooted out by the 8 seed Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hog’s only lead in the first half was 2-0, they were down by 11 points early in the second half, and they only caught up to the Jayhawks 52-51 with 8:52 remaining. They held that lead for less than 40 seconds, and didn’t regain the lead again until there were only 51 seconds remaining (67-65). From that point forward the only scoring attempted was free throws, and Arkansas made just enough of them, 72-71.
The 15 seed Princeton Tigers did it again! In a Tiger - Tiger game, the 7 seed Missouri Tigers turned out to be toothless. With nearly identical overall FG scoring percentages, the East Coast Tigers did it with 6 more threes, 14 more rebounds, 4 more assists and 9 less fouls than their Midwest relatives. The Misserable Tigers never led after the 15:44 mark in the first half, were down by 14 points in the first half and never got closer than 7 points in the second half. Final score 78-63.
9 seed Florida Atlantic Owls stayed just out of the reach of the 8 seed Memphis Tigers 66-65 on a layup with 2 seconds left in the game.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
- The 1 seed Houston Cougars snarled their way past the Auburn Tigers, 81-64.
- 2 seed Marquette defeated 15 seed Vermont 78 to 61
- 3 seed Baylor defeated 14 seed UC Santa Barbara 74-56; 3 seed Xavier overcame 14 seed Kennesaw State 73-67; 3 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs held on tight and beat the 14 seed Grand Canyon Lopes 82-70 and 3 seed Kansas State Wildcats outfought the Montana State Bobcats 77-65.
- 4 seed University of Connecticut bounced 13 seed Iona 87-63 and 4 seed Tennessee ducked the Dukes 65-52.
- 5 seed Saint Mary’s College tossed 12 seed Virginia Commonwealth 73-51 and 5 seed Miami quacked 12 seed Drake 63-56.
- 6 seed Creighton defeated 11 seed NC State 72-63 and 6 seed Kentucky Wildcats fried the Providence Friars 61-53, powered by Oscar Tshiebwe’s 25 rebounds (the rest of the Wildcats all together managed 23 rebounds – Oscar just doesn’t share).
OK, if you’re too young to understand the reference, go look it up! I can’t spoon feed everything to you!
 OK, I TRIED, I really tried – but here it is – the Perdue Chickens certainly laid an egg. Sorry.
Don’t let that red-headed, yellow-beaked bird fool you. There is no such bird in Kansas or anywhere else. Although the term was originally applied to anti-slavery group associated with John Jay (first chief justice of the US Supreme Court), the name became associated with the Kansas territorial period when Missouri pro-slavery Bushwackers fought the anti-slavery Jayhawks in Kansas. Kansans try to ignore the fact that the Jayhawks degenerated into driving pro-slavery residents from their land, and to robbing and murdering. See that impeccable source Wikipedia for more information.
 I’m sure you are wondering – the Lopes are actually Antelopes, and the mascot, for some unknown reason, is named Thunder. That’s better than their prior mascot, a fuzzy purple blob nicknamed the Purple People Eater. And so that you don’t need to look it up, HERE’S the link to the song.
 Have you ever wondered why Drake’s mascot isn’t a Duck instead of a Bulldog?
RELATED: The Rest of the Thoroughly Annotated NCAA Recaps