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WhatIfSports.com says...

Everyone can stop wondering what will happen in the tournament, because thanks to WhatIfSports.com we already know how every game will turn out.

I've run every game and saved every box score, and in some specific cases even saved the play-by-play.  I took the first result, every time, no matter how outlandish it might seem.  All games were run on a neutral floor.

With that, I give you the first part of our feature presentation:  The Worstest Bracket:  The Story of the 2011 NCAA Tournament - Day 1

The 2011 tourney starts off with the 16-seed Play-In game between UNC-Asheville and Arkansas-Little Rock.  UNC-Asheville rides a halftime lead of 29-18 to coast to a 58-45 victory.  Asheville's Matt Dickey led all scorers with 14 points on 5-12 shooting, while D.J. Cunningham controlled the middle with 8 points and 10 rebounds.

UAB and Clemson capped off the first day of the tournament with a hard-fought affair resulting in UAB giving the collective finger to the ESPN pundits by downing Clemson 63-59.  UAB's Jamarr Sanders was red hot, hitting on 8-11 shots including 4-5 from three-point to lead all scorers with 24 points, while Clemson's Jerai Grant turned in the tourney's first double-double grabbing 11 rebounds to match his 11 points.

Wednesday's games started off with a great 2nd half comeback when Alabama State erased a 3-point half-time lead to put away Texas-San Antonio 65-59 to earn their way into the "second" round.  Alabama States Tramayne Moorer came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points on 6-10 shooting and 6-8 from the line and also grabbed 9 boards in just 21 minutes of play.

The first round finale between USC and VCU saw the Trojans hold off a hard-charging effort from the Rams as they held on to win 59-55.  The Rams outscored the Trojans 30-23 in the 2nd half but couldn't make up for the big halftime deficit.  USC's Nikola Vucevic left no doubt who the best player was, leading the game in points (19) and rebounds (12) and also hit 2-2 from three-point range.

 

As the REAL madness gets underway on Thursday, the opening game brings us a team's second effort with #12 UAB taking on #5 West Virginia.  The Mountaineers led by a single point, 31-30, at the half but left no doubt in the 2nd half as they blew out the Blazers en route to a 73-51 win.  WVU's trio of Kevin Jones, Casey Mitchell, and John Flowers led the way 14, 14 and 12 points respectively.

Meanwhile, #9 Old Dominion took on #8 Butler.  The Monarchs of ODU jumped out to a huge 48-29 lead at the half and coasted to a 85-60 win over the Bulldogs.  Ben Finney carried the day with 22 points on 7-11 from the field including 5-6 from three and also grabbed 11 boards.  His teammate Kent Bazemore added 20 points as the Monarchs shot 55% from the field and a ridiculous 75% (9-12) from long range.

#4 Louisville was far too much for #13 Morehead State as the Cardinals rolled to a 72-54 opening round win.  Kyle Kuric had 13 points, while Preston Knowles added 12 and Peyton Siva contributed 10.

Though I'm sure nobody was watching, #7 Temple still played #10 Penn State and it was a pretty competitive if slow-paced game.  The Owls were able to hold off a late charge from the Nittany Lions to win 66-60.  Penn State's Talor Battle led all scorers with 20 points but Temple's trio of Ramone Moore, Scootie Randall and Juan Fernandez each had 11 as Temple's balance was just too much to overcome.

When #13 Princeton took the floor against blue blood #4 Kentucky most people expected a lopsided win.  What they got was a yeoman's effort from the Ivy League Tigers pulling out to a 33-22 halftime lead and then holding off the more-talented Wildcats to pull this year's first major upset in a 67-60 win.  Princeton's Douglas Davis was the story, leading the way with 21 points on 7-9 shooting including 5-6 from three.  The Wildcats were ice cold all day, hitting just 41% from the floor and 27% from three.

Over on TruTV the #1 Pitt Panthers were taking on the play-in game winners #16 UNC-Asheville.  The game, as expected, was never close as Pitt coasted to a 75-55 win.  Nobody had an outstanding day, but Pitt did have three in double-figures led by Ashton Gibbs' 13 points.  Gary McGhee added 13 rebounds as Pitt dominated the glass 45-24 in the game.

In the always dangerous 12 vs 5 matchups the #5 Vanderbilt Commodores wasted no time taking care of #12 Richmond.  The Spiders were no threat all day as Vandy cruised to a 66-54 win led by Festus Ezeli and his 20 points.  Four Vandy starters scored in double-figures while the bench contributed only 6 points in 57 minutes.

#2 San Diego State yawned their way to a 61-52 victory over #15 Northern Colorado.  No. CO's Devon Beitzel led the way with 17 points but the Aztecs did just enough to make sure the game was never in question.

The Primetime games of day 1 started off with #2 Florida asserting their dominance over #15 UC-Santa Barbara in a 82-62 win.  The Gators' Erving Walker was lights out scoring 29 points on 9-11 shooting including 6-8 from long range.  UCSB's James Nunnally used his brief time in the spotlight to show off with 18 points on 4-5 from three.

#14 Wofford put quite a scare into #3 BYU but the Cougars were able to overcome a halftime tie at 44 to win the game 82-72.  Jimmer Fredette had 27 points on 9-21 shooting while Chris Collinsworth, starting for the departed Brandon Davies, grabbed 12 boards with his 8 points.  Wofford's Noah Dahlman matched Fredette's effort with 27 points of his own on 10-17 shooting and a perfect 7-7 from the line.

An exhausted #3 UConn bested #14 Bucknell in a muddy-paced 65-53 win.  Kemba Walker contributed 19 points in the win while Bucknell's Mike Muscala added 18.  The Huskies outrebounded the Bison 43-26 on the day.

Meanwhile, the #13 Belmont Bruins were putting the fear in #4 Wisconsin as they erased a 10-point halftime deficit to ultimately fall to the Badgers 76-71.  Keaton Nankivil's 21 points led the way for Wisconsin while Jon Leuer added 20 points and 9 boards.  Belmont, while scoring 71 points, only had a single scorer in double digits and that was Ian Clark with 10.  The Bruins got 28 points off the bench and only 2 players who played didn't score.

The nightcap started with a battle of storied programs in tough years with #7 UCLA taking on #10 Michigan State.  The game started ugly with UCLA holding a 28-18 lead at the half, but both teams came out on fire in the 2nd half and the Bruins went on to defeat the Spartans 70-62.  Four Bruins starters were in double-figures, led by 19 from Malcolm Lee.

In one of the more entertaining games of the first day, the always dangerous #11 Gonzaga Bulldogs upset #6 St. Johns 70-68 behind Steven Gray's 18 points.  St. Johns' Dwight Hardy did all he could, going 7-11 from the field including 2-3 beyond the arc en route to 19 points but the Red Storm couldn't put away the penultimate Cinderella despite having held a 40-36 halftime advantage.

#5 Kansas State held off a very dangerous and under-seeded #12 Utah State in a brilliant 76-67 battle.  The Wildcats were led by 19 points from Jacob Pullen and also saw Will Spradling come off the bench for 11 points in one of day one's best and most competitive games.

Finally, ending Thursday's first round games was #11 Missouri vs #6 Cincinnati.  If I told you that Missouri shot under 30% from three-point range, what would you think?  If I told you they shot under 40% for the game, what would you think?  If I told you one team held a 42-31 rebound advantage, what would you think?  If I told you that each team had 12 turnovers and each team had 8 steals, what would you think?  It doesn't sound like a game Missouri would win, does it?  Well  they did.  Mizzou played a very atypical game and pulled out a victory over the Bearcats 62-57.  Missouri was led by Marcus Denmon's 13 points by shooting 50% from the floor and from 3, but the real story was the work put in by the big men.  Both Ricardo Ratliffe and Laurence Bowers turned in double-doubles with Ratliffe scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while Bowers added 10 and 10 of his own.  Mizzou rode a hot hand from the line, hitting 17-22, to get the first-round victory.  The play-by-play of the game is available here.  The Box Score, which I apparently need help learning how to format properly, is below.  Coming later today is the rest of round 1!

Cincinnati											
NAME MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST BLK STL TO PF TP
Rashad Bishop* 27 2-6 2-4 2-2 1 2 1 1 0 1 8
Cashmere Wright* 26 1-7 1-3 2-4 1 3 0 0 2 2 5
Dion Dixon* 26 3-8 1-2 0-0 1 2 1 1 2 3 7
Yancy Gates* 23 4-10 0-0 2-4 6 1 0 2 2 2 10
Ibrahima Thomas* 23 1-5 0-2 1-2 4 0 0 0 1 3 3
Sean Kilpatrick 22 5-10 3-5 1-2 4 0 0 2 2 3 14
Justin Jackson 21 1-3 0-0 1-2 7 0 1 0 1 3 3
Larry Davis 16 2-3 0-1 1-1 1 2 0 1 1 1 5
Darnell Wilks 9 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 2 0 1 0 1 0
Anthony McClain 7 1-2 0-0 0-0 4 0 0 0 1 1 2
TOTALS 200 20-54 7-17 10-17 31 12 3 8 12 20 57


Missouri
NAME MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST BLK STL TO PF TP
Marcus Denmon* 30 4-8 3-6 2-2 5 0 1 3 1 3 13
Ricardo Ratliffe* 27 4-9 0-1 3-4 10 0 0 0 1 2 11
Laurence Bowers* 25 4-9 0-0 2-4 10 1 1 1 2 0 10
Kim English* 25 3-6 1-3 2-4 4 2 1 0 1 0 9
Phil (Flip) Pressey* 23 0-3 0-2 2-2 2 3 0 2 2 4 2
Michael Dixon 22 2-7 0-3 2-2 4 4 1 0 1 3 6
Justin Safford 15 2-7 0-1 2-2 2 1 0 0 2 1 6
Steve Moore 11 0-1 0-0 0-0 5 1 3 0 1 3 0
Matt Pressey 11 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Ricky Kreklow 11 1-1 1-1 2-2 0 1 0 1 1 0 5
TOTALS 200 20-52 5-17 17-22 42 13 7 8 12 16 62

<em>FanPosts may be posted by any RMN member and may not reflect the views of the management staff of Rock M Nation or SB Nation.</em>

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