Our plane was 45 minutes late due to windy conditions in NY, but we made it with 10 minutes left of the first half of the Davidson - Gonzaga. The RBS Center is a new arena, has a great concessionary area with lots of food but the design is kind of lacking. Its huge and the design seems off to me. The upper decks don't feel very close, though we were in the first row of the upper third section and our seats were center court third section, so not bad. Still, could be better. Especially the parking, which is really messed up. Can't even describe it here. However, props to the RBS Center for its great selection of food.
Despite the huge arena, the atmosphere was terrific. Believe it or not, this was my first men's NCAA tournament round that I have attended. Lots of Carolina Blue and a good number of Davidson fans there. The NC fans got behind their fellow North Carolina school especially when the Wildcats made their second half comeback. Very few Indiana or Arkansas fans at the day session. There were also a good number of UMBC retriever fans (by the way props to the very pretty UMBC dance team). A few Hoya fans, some Zag fans but mostly Davidson red and definitely Carolina Blue
Anyway, we were treated to a great first game. Davidson came back from an eleven point second half deficit to defeat Gonzaga 82-76 as Stephen Curry put on a show. Curry scored 40 points on 14 of 22 shooting including 8 of 10 from beyond the three point arc. Curry wasn't the only Wildcat hero. The stats will show it a little bit but Andrew Lovedale's hustling play at the end of the game (which he did with four fouls) really enabled Davidson to win the game. Lovedale had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Stephen Gray led the Zags with 21 points and Jeremy Pargo had 18 for the Zags.
The second game wasn't much of a contest as Georgetown downed UMBC 66-47. The Hoyas were just two quick and too strong for the Retrievers. Roy Hibbert led the Hoyas with 13 points and 7 rebounds as the Hoyas had three other double digit scorers. Darryl Proctor led the Retrievers with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
In other regions, sans one, the favorites won and won handily. In Little Rock, the Hurricanes scored 51 second half points to wipe out a five point halftime deficit and Miami defeated St Mary's 78-64. First team All ACC Jack McClinton scored 32 of his career high 38 points in that second half. Texas won the second game in Little Rock easily 74-54. In Birmingham, Texas downed pesky American 72-57. The game was actually tied at 40 in the second half before the Volunteers went on a 10-0 run and never looked back. In the second game, Butler crushed South Alabama 81-61 as Pete Campbell had 26 points. The Bulldogs made sure the Sun Belt only sent one team to the Round of 32.
That's because in the Tampa region, Ty Rogers hit a long range three with no time left on the clock in overtime and #12 Western Kentucky stunned #5 Drake 101-99. The Hilltoppers who shot 54 percent from the field, including 14 of 28 from beyond the three point arc, were ahead 66-50 with 11:58 left before the Bulldogs made an amazing comeback. I was standing out in the concession stands with my friend Mal and lots of fans watching the amazing comeback by Drake then watched the Bulldogs and the Hilltoppers go back in forth in overtime before we all saw Tyrone Brazelton got the ball to Rogers, who had a good look at the basket, but had three Drake players in his face before he nailed the 26 foot jumper. A loud roar came from our area as we were all amazed at the end.
Tyrone Brazelton led the Hilltoppers with 33 points. Jonathan Cox had 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Bulldogs as all five Bulldog starters scored in double digits.
Upsets and overtime were the theme in Tampa in the day session. Because in the second game, #13 San Diego stunned #4 UConn 70-69 in overtime when De'Jon Jackson hit a jumper with 2 seconds left to send the Toreros to the second round to face the Hilltoppers.
I'm back in the hotel room for my brief respite which ends shortly as we will be heading out for the second session tonight. I am watching WRAL news' coverage of the tournament and so far they have not mentioned a word of Davidson's win today. Its all about NC and now the announcer talks about Duke's one point win last night. Unbelieveable. Stephen Curry scores 40 points for Davidson, a school near Charlotte, North Carolina and the talk is all about NC and Duke. Amazing. Again another example of a good mid major squad getting no love. That's why this site exists!
That being said It will be real hot in the RBC Center tonight. Looking forward to it. And oh yeah, I got a Davidson shirt today. Will be wearing that proudly on Sunday. More talk on WRAL about NC..ugh. Now they mention Davidson and Curry. Christ, they only talked about it for not even 10 seconds. As my nearly three year old son Matthew would say "That's terrible!!"
Got to go, time for the evening session.