I had a busy day yesterday so I wasn’t able to watch as much of the NCAA Tournament basketball as I would’ve liked, but I did watch some sporting news and now that I’ve got an updated bracket in front of me, I want to take a couple minutes to look at some of the current situations.

Northern Iowa (9 seed) beating Kansas (1 seed)
I was shocked to see that Nothern Iowa had defeated Kansas in the second round of the tournament.  It’s not unheard of for a 9 seed to beat a 1 seed, but Kansas was supposed to be the top team in the tournament.  Tons of people across the country are ripping up their bracket sheets today as their pick to win the tournament is now eliminated after getting them only one correct selection.  Is Northern Iowa for real?  Probably not, since they won their first game (against UNLV) by only 3 and now they beat Kansas by only 2.  If you’ll be filling out a Sweet 16 bracket on Monday, I wouldn’t get too excited about Northern Iowa.

Michigan State vs Maryland
There has been some ado about this game because of President Obama.  Apparently when making his yearly bracket picks, Barack Obama said something to the effect of “Maryland has a great player (Vasquez) but Michigan State has a great coach (Izzo)”, with some saying it’s a knock on Maryland’s coach Gary Williams, who has the same number of National Championships (1) as Izzo.  I’m not too concerned about it.  I think more people nationally know who Izzo is, and the people who follow college basketball closely know who Gary Williams is, and I’m not going to fault Barack Obama for having other things to think about / remember.  I’m sure Gary Williams doesn’t really care, either.  That doesn’t mean he won’t use it as motivation, but deep down, it doesn’t matter.  This should be a great game today for those who will see it at 2:30.

Ohio’s run comes to an end against Tennessee
Some thought that after beating Georgetown by 14, the “little school that could” Ohio was potentially going to find a way to go deep into the tournament.  Sorry Cinderella, the slipper doesn’t fit, and it wasn’t glass anyway.  Tennessee (6 seed) steps up and drops the 14 seed in the second round by 15 points.  It would’ve been a nice story and it would’ve felt good for Georgetown fans had Ohio found a way to look like a great team, minimalizing Georgetown’s loss to them, but it’s a no go.

Against Georgia Tech, Ohio State attempts to avoid repeating Villanova’s short-coming
We already saw one 10 seed (Saint Mary’s) beat a 2 seed (Villanova), and with two other 10-vs-2 games in the second round, there is opportunity for more upsets to occur.  Ohio State took care of business in the first round, winning by 17 over a team whose initials (UC S.B.) I don’t even care to lookup (partially because I’m guessing it’s “California – Santa Barbara, partially because it doesn’t matter).  Their opponent on Sunday, Georgia Tech, could provide a tough match up.  Georgia Tech only beat Oklahoma State by 5 in the first round, but they did advance all the way to the finals of the always-tough ACC Tournament, losing to 1 seed Duke by only 4 after a run which included victories in the tournament against UNC and 2 seeded Maryland.  Ohio State better be better prepared for Georgia Tech than they were for games in their first two rounds of the Big Ten Tournament.  They nearly lost to their woeful rivals Michigan (GO BLUE!) in the first round, winning by only 1 point to a team which wasn’t even invited to the NIT.  Their second round game was a double overtime win against Illinois, another team which didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament.  I’m guessing that Vegas is getting plenty of action on Georgia Tech v Ohio State.

Syracuse (1 seed) takes on Gonzaga (8 seed)
In a tournament where there are plenty of upsets, Syracuse and Gonzaga are taking care of business, and if everything goes according to plan, Syracuse will end up in the sweet 16, but it seems as though nothing is for certain this year.  Just after noon today you can watch to see who advances to play Butler.

Murray State (13 seed) comes up just short of second upset against 5 seed Butler
After a big upset over 4 seeded Vanderbilt in the first round, Murray State should be proud of the outcome of their game against 5 seeded Butler, losing by only two.  Whether they get 1 seeded Syracuse or 8 seeded Gonzaga in the Sweet 16, Butler should be looking to have a game more similar to their first round’s 18 point victory over UTEP, though blowing away a 1 seed or an 8 seed with a good tournament resume seems unlikely, and I’d highly doubt Butler makes it to the Elite 8.

3 Pittsburgh and 6 Xavier on Sunday afternoon
Both Pittsburgh (3 seed) and Xavier (6 seed) scored comfortable double-digit victories on Friday against lower seeds, Xavier winning by 11 and Pittsburgh by 23.  It’s unlikely this game will be a blow-out victory for either school, but it should be an enjoyable watch.

Kansas State continues to take care of business against Bringham Young
After beating North Texas by 20 points in the first round, Kansas State beat Bringham Young by 12, making them look like one of the elite teams in this year’s tournament.  I’m highly anticipating their Sweet 16 game, which is likely to be against Pittsburgh, and a likely Elite 8 game against Syracuse.  Kansas State could be the team to watch.  now it’s time to watch Syracuse / Gonzaga and Xavier / Pittsburgh today to see the other teams which would compete to face Kansas State in their path to the Final 4.

Kentucky Dominance
Their first round 29 point win over 16 seed East Tennessee State was expected, but a 30 point win over 9 seed Wake Forest was a statement:  Kentucky is capable of rolling over their opponents.

Cornell looks to keep up Ivy League run against Wisconsin
Though most would expect that a 4 seeded Wisconsin wouldn’t have much problem against a 12 seed, I don’t buy into that, given that this 12 seed is Cornell.  With a first round 13 point victory over 5 seed Temple, Cornell made a statement that they’re going to represent the Ivy League well, and Andy Bernard (see: fictional character, The Office) isn’t likely to be the only one who thinks Cornell can beat Wisconsin this afternoon.  A friend of mine told me that Wofford could beat Wisconsin in the first round, and as I watched the game on Friday, I was amazed to watch as Wofford had a 1 point lead late in the game.  My confidence in Wisconsin is non-existent, and from everything I’ve heard, Cornell has the offensive-and-defensive skills to take the Badgers down.

Washington proves first round upset was no fluke
When an 11 seed beats a 6 seed like Washington did to Marquette in the first round, people don’t usually get excited.  It’s not like a 13-over-4 upset.  With an 18 point victory over 3 seeded New Mexico on Saturday, 11 seeded Washington is making a statement that they aren’t flukes.  Now they’ll be watching intently this afternoon as West Virginia faces Missouri to see who will take on Washington in the Sweet 16.

Missouri hopes to be another 10 seed to overcome a 2 seed
After an 8 point victory over 7 seed Clemson, Missouri (10 seed) looks to see if they can do better than Morgan State’s Friday performance against West Virginia, who won their first round game by 27.  The Mountaineers of West Virginia did get off to a slow start in that game, however, and if Missouri can find a way to hold down their 2 seeded opponents early this afternoon, they could find themselves as another 10 seed to beat a 2 seed this year, and they could have a manageable game in the sweet 16 against 11 seed Washington.

Duke and California both get blow-out wins
Arkansas Pine Bluff didn’t prove to be much of an opponent for 1 seeded Duke in the first round, losing by 29 to the Duke Blue Devils.  Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals didn’t help my bracket at all by losing to 8 seeded California with a 15 point differential.  Two teams with significant fan followings match up late this afternoon at 5:15, and this one could be great.  Don’t expect the scoring to get into the 80’s, though.

Another good 4 vs 5 seeds game set as Purdue takes on Texas A&M
5 seeded Texas A&M beat 12 seed Utah State by 16 in the first round.  They advance to face 4 seed Purdue, who beat 13 seed Siena – who many thought would beat Purdue.  The Boilermakers proved they didn’t need their star player Hummel to beat Siena, but it could be a tough ak against Texas A&M, and I’m betting their margin of victory (if they win at all) will be much less than 8 – at least into the final minute of the game on Sunday afternoon.

Baylor works way into Sweet 16
After some trying times in the past decade, the Baylor basketball program finds their way into the Sweet 16 with a predictable 3-over-14 win over Sam Houston by 9 points, and an equally predictable 8 point win over 11 seeded Old Dominion.  Now they’ve got another game coming up against a much lower seed, but 3 seed Butler will have to be on their guard against a potential Cinderella.

Saint Mary’s gains traction for improbable run
This year’s Cinderella could be 10 seed Saint Mary’s.  Their slight upset over 7 seed Richmond by 9 points on Thursday was a quality victory, but not as good as their win over 2 seed Villanova by 7 points yesterday.  The victory over Villanova might not be as impressive as first glance, as Villanova almost lost to 15 seed Robert Morris in the first round.   Now they’re in the Sweet 16 matched up against 3 seed Baylor, and they’ll have to be on top of their game if they want to extend their improbable run into the Elite 8.