NCAA Tournament 2012: March Madness Observations Day 1

Jeff PencekCorrespondent IIMarch 16, 2012

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 15:  Juvonte Reddic #15 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts in the second half while taking on Wichita State Shockers in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Rose Garden Arena on March 15, 2012 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

March Madness "madness" must be stuck at the airport.

Day 1 usually sets the tone of the tournament, and if this is any indication of how the rest is going to go, oh no.

2007 was the rare instance where the round of 64 was very plain but action really picked up in the round of 32.

So far, this tournament feels nothing like 2010 and 2011 and a lot like 2000 and 2009, and that isn't good for anyone.

Something exciting needs to happen tomorrow, or else this tournament is in trouble.

Chalk is bad for the tournament.

I can't think of people watching the last two tournaments being angry with Butler and VCU runs, since Duke and UConn did win in the end.

2000 was the greatest example of chalk early, and it brought us eighth-seeded Wisconsin and North Carolina into the Final Four.

Let's never speak of it again.

Instead, let us focus on the events of Day 1:

1. VCU is the ultimate party guest. VCU has been in the tournament four times since 2007, and all of those times have been eventful. They beat Duke in 2007, and then came back from 19 down to take Pittsburgh to overtime. In 2009, they were down at halftime to UCLA and had a shot to win at the end . They had the incredible First Four to Final Four run in 2011, and now provide the biggest seed upset of Thursday this year. Plus it's really fun to chant, "VCU. VCU. VCU."

2. A Kentucky-Indiana rematch would be great (although it would have been better in St. Louis). Yet something inside of me wants Kentucky-VCU. A No. 12 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed, and VCU would present a very fun challenge to Kentucky. It might be far-fetched to think VCU can make another run, but then again it was far fetched to think Butler could make another run last year,

3. The most interesting matchup for Saturday looks to be Marquette-Murray State. There's a clash of styles but guard play dictates the success of both teams. The West is dominated by M teams.

4. We need a committee to step in and control the Baylor uniforms. Highlighter yellow is not appealing.

5. I enjoy listening to the announcers cut to the TruTV promos. You can tell none of them enjoy it. I look forward to Marv Albert trying to sell Hardcore Pawn.

6. Speaking of Hardcore Pawn, can anyone take them seriously when they say they had 48 million viewers? Does that count all of the showings ever? I like the highest rated cable showing on Tuesday tag. The last Tuesday I looked at, it was No. 58. It barely beat a repeat of Chopped.

7. The secret to have a Pac-12 team win in the NCAA Tournament is to take the team from a better conference. Big 12 rematch on the way.

8. West Virginia and UConn once again showed the depth of the Big East. Oh wait, they both looked awful. Can we all raise a toast to the crumbling of this version of the Big East?

9. Albuquerque is a great venue for the NCAA Tournament, so how about next time, the afternoon session has teams that are actually somewhat close to there. Harvard waited 66 years so they could travel 2000 miles to visit Walt White at Los Pollos Hermanos.

Montana in Portland, New Mexico State in Albuquerque; There, I made the tournament better in two seconds.

10. Can we please agree that having the play-in game winner play late Tuesday night and then Thursday afternoon doesn't work? To the TV people who had to have BYU play early to get UConn at night, good, you got two dud-night games.

11. Through the rest of the weekend, I'm going to try to grow the mustache like the guy in the Buffalo Wild Wings commercial. He's got a weird retro 70's Flyers look going while he repeatedly ruins the eye patch guy's New Year.

12. I really enjoyed how Jamie Maggio was wearing a bright yellow shirt for the afternoon session, and then changed her shirt to pink for the evening session so she wouldn't help blind the rest of the fans during the Baylor game.

13. Out of 16 games on Thursday, only two were five points or less. In the first five games of last year's tournament, there were four.

14. With Friday's session starting out with no seed higher than No. 11, if this tournament is going to go into chaos mode it is in the hands of St. Bonaventure, Belmont, Vermont and Norfolk State. How come 2000 just flashed back into my head?

15. I tried to avoid this as long as possible, but the refereeing in the Syracuse game was horrendous.

UNC-Asheville didn't lose the game because of the officiating, but it didn't help. When No. 1 seeds are 106-0, the last thing Syracuse needed was awful officiating to push them over the top.

Think about three keys plays in the 2nd half.

There was an obvious goal tend against Syracuse on a foul not called, (the ball hit the backboard and then was blocked on the way down). UNC Asheville then made one of two foul shots, costing at least one point, maybe two. The second was the lane violation when JP Primm rebounded the missed free throw, with Syracuse up five.

This one amazes me, because Primm was behind the official, who was looking at the basket. Primm gets the rebound and is called for a violation, because the official's peripheral must be incredible.

Why didn't the other two officials correct that call? They had different angles where they could see when Primm entered the lane. Instead, they let the guy who had no clue when he did, make the call.

The last blown call was the one that caused the most anger.

Down three points, UNC Asheville trapped in the backcourt, and Syracuse threw in bounds and the ball obviously went off a Syracuse player. A foul could have been called for a push. Instead, no foul was called, and Syracuse maintained possession. Isn't that what the replay was for? Isn't that was two other officials are for?

If the correct call is made, UNC Asheville had a shot to tie the game. I'll put it another way, near the end of the game, a No. 16 seed where No. 16 seeds are 0-104 at the time would have had a chance to tie the game and the referee blew the call.

Syracuse most likely would have still won, but we as fans were robbed of that moment by a crew who didn't do their job when it counted.

I truly believe most officials do a very good to great job at their work. However, all of them should have a card in their pocket to look at before the game, to help them be humble and professional. The card would read, "It's not about you." The lane violation not called is 1000 times better than the lane violation that shouldn't have been called.


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