Oh, Richmond! The Spiders almost did it again. I picked Wisconsin in my pool, but I was pulling hard for Richmond. I can’t help it. Unless it’s an ACC team in trouble, I always pull for the underdog.
Richmond is sort of underdog royalty. It’s amazing how a few upsets over a nearly 20 year period can so define a program. Whenever anyone thinks of Richmond basketball, they think of upsets (or maybe Dick Tarrant’s magnificent afro). For the players, it has to be a wonderful advantage for their NCAA games. They are surely aware of their school’s history and it gives them confidence. They feel like they should pull off the upset. And their opponents know it too. Maybe they didn’t know the history before, but by game time, they’ve been asked about it several times. Then when Richmond gets close or gets a lead, the crowd gets a buzz, the Spiders get confident and the favorite gets tight. Or at least, that’s how it sometimes goes. Tonight, that worked for a while until the Badgers had a hot spurt and squished the Spiders. It was fun while it lasted.
The big upset that did happen was Pacific beating Providence. What kills me about this one is that I picked it, but then erased it and changed it! Curse the fates! I only changed two picks in my whole bracket, and one of them has bitten me already. Oh well, it’s not like I don’t suck at picking the tournament anyway.
In other news (sounds cheezy, but I couldn’t think of another segue), the ACC completed its undefeated first round, going 6-0. Basically, it won all the games it was supposed to win. That’s an accomplishment to be sure, but the big games are this weekend. Power conference teams are nearly always favored in their first round games. It’s the teams that make it to the second week that really make their mark though. That’s where the ACC will validate (or not) it’s great year. Six teams in the final 32 is great, but that won’t mean much if a bunch lose in the next round. Six Sweet Sixteen teams is still a possibility, but so is a flame out. All the games are tough now.
Tournament performance by conference:
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