It was a disappointingly sane opening to March Madness yesterday, writes ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. Only four out of the 16 games were won by the lower seeds, and only one of those—12-seed Western Kentucky over 5-seed Illinois—approached headline status. Top seeds UNC and UConn rolled, with UConn scoring the third-largest rout ever, despite the last-minute hospitalization of coach Jim Calhoun, who was being treated for dehydration.
The most exciting games were actually the upsets that nearly happened. Memphis, which had complained that it deserved a top seed, found itself down 6 points to 15-seed Cal State with 10 minutes to play. Third-seeded Villanova trailed by a whopping 10 at the half, and Gonzaga needed a 19-1 run to beat Akron. Most epic of all was the UCLA/Virginia Commonwealth tilt, in which VCU missed a 17-foot buzzer shot to fall 65-64.