March Madness has descended upon us – with a heavy dose of madness, as usual. The first two days’ worth of games that make up the first round of the tournament were exciting, unexpected, and certainly entertaining.
Plenty of people are now burning or tearing up their brackets. It was that crazy. Two #2 seeds lost – and this is just the first round! Before this, only four #2 seeds had lost in the first round ever (at least since 1985 – the more modern version of the tournament).
There were plenty of other upsets, some more surprising than others, along with a slew of close and competitively entertaining games and finishes. Some teams squeaked by as others let the second round slip through their fingers. Round two of the tournament promises to be entertaining as well.
Surprisingly, my bracket is not busted. Yet. While that may seem great for me now, it’s a bit tragic in the fact that this is the first year I’m not in a big pool to potentially bank some money off this tournament (a four person pool is fun, but not quite the pool of money that really pays off…).
It’s also important to remember that this is only round 1… The madness has only begun. So while I’m rejoicing in my early (emphasis on early!) success and others’ demise as Duke and Mizzou fell, I’m entirely aware that my bracket could be the next victim of the NCAA Tournament. But for now, I’m enjoying the fact that I picked both of those teams to have early exits from the tournament.
For those who are watching the tournament as IU fans and not just for the madness in general, there’s reason to be optimistic. The good IU Hoosier team showed up on Thursday night to play a team that was supposed to be a tough matchup for them (especially as far as size and rebounding went).
The Hoosiers seemed to find the right mix of an inside outside attack. With the sharpshooters they have around the perimeter and Zeller on the inside, the Hoosiers are an extremely dangerous and explosive team when they’re shooting the ball well. And they tend to shoot well when they get Hulls and Watford off to early starts – both of which happened on Thursday night. Watford hit a couple of threes to open up the game and Hulls continued to pour it on as he led the Hoosiers in scoring. The only Hoosier starter not in double figures was Oladipo, and this should not be a concern moving forward as Oladipo is arguably the most athletic player on the team with incredible scoring ability.
IU has to like their chances playing so well on the road away from Assembly Hall in the first round. This evening’s matchup against VCU will be a tough one, but if the Hoosiers have shown anything this year, it’s that they have the ability to play with anyone in the country when they’re engaged and focused. On the flip side, they’ve also shown that they have the ability to lose to anybody when they’re away from home and disengaged. Let’s hope the good Hoosiers show up this evening.
And the Madness continues…