NCAA Tournament: Recap of a Wild Friday


After a lackluster start to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, we were paid off for our patience with a wild Friday that included eight upsets and a couple of nail-biting contests. Two No. 2 seeds (Missouri, Duke) and a No. 4 (Michigan) were among the casualties.

Norfolk State defeated Missouri 86-84 while Lehigh defeated Duke 75-70 to become the fifth and sixth 15-seeds to defeat a 2-seed in NCAA history. Michigan was defeated 65-60 by 13-seeded Ohio.

Along with those upsets, Florida State avoided embarrassment with a come-from-behind victory over St. Bonaventure and Purdue squeaked by Saint Mary’s. Purdue led by as many as 13 but had to hold off a late Saint Mary’s rally for the 72-69 victory. Saint Mary’s Rob Jones missed a potential game-tying bucket as the buzzer sounded.

Game of the day: Norfolk State defeats Missouri 86-84. Norfolk State became the first 15-seed to beat a 2-seed since 2001. Senior center Kyle O’Quinn paced Norfolk State with 26 points and 15 rebounds, including 5 on the offensive glass. Pendarvis Williams and Chris McEachin each added 20 in the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. Missouri didn’t play a bad offensive game; they just couldn’t stop the blazing-hot 15-seeded Spartans. Missouri became the first team in NCAA Tournament history to make at least 10 3-pointers, shoot at least 50 percent, commit less than 10 turnovers, and lose the game. That’s because Norfolk State shot 54.2 percent from the field – including 62.5 percent in the second half – and hit 10 three-pointers. Other(s): Lehigh defeats Duke 75-70, Florida State defeats St. Bonaventure 66-63, Xavier defeats Notre Dame 67-63.

Most Impressive: Florida defeats Virginia 71-45. How they got the victory – not the victory itself – is the most impressive part in Florida’s dismantling of Mike Scott and Virginia. On a day when Florida struggled behind the arc, the Gators dominated on the boards (36-21) and were efficient inside the three-point arc. Florida – who averages over 9 threes a game – shot just 4-of-23 from behind the arc but finished 24-of-30 from two. They sliced up the vaunted Virginia defense – who only gave up 53.7 points a game in the regular season – and continually pestered star Mike Scott. Scott was the only Virginia to score in double-digits (15 points on 6-of-10 shooting) but the Gators focused in on stopping the All-ACC player no matter what it took. Other(s): North Carolina defeats Vermont 77-58, Georgetown defeats Belmont 74-59, N.C. State defeats San Diego State 79-65.

Impressive in defeat: St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies held a halftime lead over Florida State and led by as many as 10 points. They displayed heart, grit and determination but fell just short in their upset bid. Andrew Nicholson – considered a good NBA prospect – was the most impressive for the Bonnies with 20 points and 7 rebounds. St. Bonaventure made 7-of-14 from behind the arc including 4-of-5 from Nicholson. Other(s): Notre Dame, Missouri’s offense, Saint Mary’s in the second half.

Reason for concern: Florida State’s offense. The Seminoles are known for their great defense and inconsistent offense. We definitely saw the bad offense on Friday. Florida State’s ability to score at a consistent basis is their kryptonite and will likely be their downfall in this tournament. ACC Tournament MVP Michael Snaer went scoreless and finished 0-of-7 from the field including 0-of-5 from downtown.

Biggest let-down: Missouri. Frank Haith’s squad looked poised and used good guard play as the Tigers surprised many with an outstanding regular season and Big Twelve tournament title. In the end, they were just too undersized. Missouri – who doesn’t have a player over 6’8” – were outrebounded 35-23 including a crucial non-rebound on a Rodney McCauley missed free throw in the final seconds. Other(s): Duke, Virginia, Snaer.

Looking ahead (Saturday): Syracuse vs. Kansas State, Ohio State vs. Gonzaga, Marquette vs. Murray State, Wisconsin vs. Vanderbilt, Indiana vs. VCU, Kentucky vs. Iowa State, Baylor vs. Colorado, Louisville vs. New Mexico.