'Zags almost do it again
Every year, after the March Madness tournament has come to an end, I think to myself, "It just can't get any better than that." But the following year, I'm once again bewildered at the amount of jaw-dropping, jump-out-of-your-seat-and scream-like-a-little-schoolgirl action that I witness during the NCAA tournament.
The first weekend of the 2003 tournament was no different, beginning with California's Richard Midgley hitting a game-winning three pointer just seconds after North Carolina States' Scooter Sherrill buried one of his own, and finished with the perennial fan favourites, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, coming oh-so-close to ousting the Arizona Wildcats in double overtime.
However, overall, the bracket wasn't as upset intensive as it has been in past years.
In the West region, all the favourites (and Notre Dame) advanced to the Sweet 16. Duke and Kansas exploded on Saturday night on their clearly overmatched opponents, setting the table for a Sweet 16 showdown. As mentioned above, the Arizona Wildcats squeaked by and will face the upstart Fighting Irish.
Marquette and Pittsburgh looked extremely impressive in their second round games. They will be joined by Wisconsin, who made a valiant comeback to defeat a complacent Tulsa squad, and the favoured Kentucky Wildcats.
Canadian Denham Brown was a defensive stalwart against the Stanford Cardinal, helping his University of Connecticut Huskies advance to the second round. On the bottom half of the bracket, defending champion Maryland looked strong against Xavier, winning 77-64. The Terrapins meet Michigan State, who upset Florida and are looking the best they have all season.
The East was the "upset special" bracket as a number 12 (Butler) and a number 10 (Auburn) advanced. Butler will play Oklahoma, and Auburn takes a shot at Syracuse, whose freshman and future NBA lottery pick Carmelo Anthony looked downright unstoppable in both Orangemen games.