Everyone's excited to watch the Sweet 16, but keeping all of those pesky narratives straight is such a hassle. No one wants to read a wall of text summarizing every minute detail of each minute played last weekend, which is why I took all those scary-looking words and smushed them into some neat GIFs! Once you finish perusing this quick refresher course, you'll be primed for optimal tournament viewing. All you have to do to is kick up your feet, grab a snack, and look at the pretty pictures.
The Stanford Cardinal
First up on the docket tonight, we have this year's Cinderella story squaring off against an underdog from a power conference. We'll start with the No. 10 seed, The Stanford Cardinal, who kicked off their tournament run against the 7-seeded Lobos of New Mexico.
The game was closer than the highlights suggest, but margin of victory means nothing in March! Stanford triumphs, 58-53. (Lobos fans, I'm so sorry.)
Up next, the Cardinal were fortunate enough to have a shot at the annual "Hand the jayhawks and early exit" game. Would they be able to rise to the challenge?
A 60-57 win over the jayhawks sure looks good from where I'm sitting. Well done Stanford, your jersey will fit smashingly on Big 12's wall.
The Dayton Flyers
These gentlemen have strung together some decent wins in the past week. They faced Ohio State their first game. The big kid from down the street. Win, and they'd have bragging rights at all the block parties this summer. Here's how it went down.
Man, this summer is gonna be SWEET! As their reward for pulling off the big first-round upset, the Flyers were treated to the Syracuse Orange. But Dayton was flying high, and they weren't about to let anyone rain on their parade.
The next game on the schedule is a big one. Big (12) against B1G, it just doesn't get any bigger than that. Who will be the bigger man in this contest? Only time will tell. And the final score, that'll tell too.
The Baylor Bears
The Bears are the big underdogs here, but all they've done in their first two games is put up big points. Hanging 74 on #Nebrasketball is quite the feat, but to follow up that performance with a 85-55 shellacking of Dougie McDermott and his Creighton Bluejays? That's not just big, that huge. Unfortunately for Baylor, their next opponent doesn't set up shop in good ol' NE. Something about playing teams from Cornhusker State seems to bring out the best in the Bears. In order to illustrate this, I've created a diagram. Imagine that this Pikachu is the state of Nebraska, and then watch as the big green bear punches the crap out of him.
The Wisconsin Badgers
Another team with some big, big wins under their tournament belt. They beat America. AMERICA. And they beat the HELL out of it. Wait no, sorry, they beat American University, the 15-seed out of the Patriot League. That makes more sense. Anyway, their second round game against Oregon was a lot closer. Well, it was close for about 85% of the game, but then the Badgers got hot and left the Ducks behind. Once that much cheese gets rolling, it's almost impossible to stop it.
With the first two games out of the way, we move on to the past-my-bedtime slate. It's too bad these games tip so late, because they should be some pretty competitive match-ups. Those of you that stay up and watch, I salute you.
The UCLA Bruins
This is a very talented team, and they've been using that talent very efficiently during the tourney. The knock on them so far is that they've played two lower-seeded teams who weren't able to match up with them athletically. I mean, just look at the highlights from their 76-59 victory over Tulsa.
The talent gap there is huge, and the same can be said about their 77-60 win over the lovable Lumberjacks of Steve F. Austin. (Sensing the pattern yet? Time is a flat circle and whatnot.)
The Bruins have definitely looked strong, but have they really been challenged yet? The answer to that question doesn't matter one bit, because you can bet your ass they'll be challenged tonight.
The Florida Gators
The tournament's number 1 overall seed has definitely lived up to their ranking. In the opening round, they avoided a 16-over-1 scare by giving the poor Great Danes of Albany an awful scare of their own.
2spooky4me. The Gators kept their win-streak rolling in the second round, where they weathered Pitt's best shot and walked away with a solid 61-45 win. No matter how you try to slow Florida down, they seem to just keep on ticking.
The final Thursday game is another promising 1 vs. 4 match-up. I'm looking forward to an entertaining game that ends on the same day it started.
The San Diego State Aztecs
Everyone please give a big round-of-applause to this year's buzz-kill team. They got everyone's hopes up when they let New Mexico State take them to overtime in the first round, only to grind out a 73-69 win that wasn't ever close in the extra period. Then they had the nerve to knock out my personal favorite Cinderella bid, North Dakota State, in the round of 32 with a decisive 63-44 victory. I suspect foul-play. This tournament has been as wacky as ever, and yet the Aztecs have survived a close-call AND a fan-favorite. They've got some serious juju working in their favor, y'all.
The Arizona Wildcats
For being a 1-seed, I really haven't heard that much hype about the Wildcats. All they've done is breeze through the first two rounds, so I guess there really hasn't been much to discuss. They opened with an easy 68-59 win over Weber State, and followed it up with an 84-61 trouncing of Gonzaga. Life is good in the desert, and I'm sure Sean Miller and company would be delighted to keep cruising right on to the Final Four.
And just like that, we've tidied up that big narrative jumble happens when you leave all your story-lines heaped together for a week. It's not really your fault though, those things tangle up worse than a set of Nintendo 64 controllers.
And to you I exclaim, as these last words I write,
Merry Madness to all, and to all a good night!