Well, the First Four in Dayton has come to an end.
Here we sit, with a finalized field of 64 teams, each with a goal to hold the trophy on April 4th in Houston. However, to ever have a chance to get to that point, you have to avoid looking ahead and getting knocked out of the tournament before you know what hit you.
With an awesome slate of games tomorrow, here's some thoughts on the First Four and the Thursday possibilities.
1. Michigan didn't win pretty, but they survived
The name of the game in March is survive and advance.
Tonight against Tulsa, the Michigan Wolverines did little but survive and advance. Against a Tulsa Golden Hurricane team that a lot of people thought had no business in the field, Michigan struggled but finally took command on a Zak Irvin three in the final minute of the game.
Give Tulsa their due credit, they played hard and you almost always have to give the defense a certain amount of credit when the opposition shoots 6-25 from the three point line. At the same time, however, Michigan has to know and they certainly do know that if they shoot 6-25 from three against Notre Dame, the odds are not in their favor.
With that being said, in March, a win is a win. For the most part, they all look the same when you're advancing to the next round when the final buzzer goes off.
2. Could Purdue suffer the same fate as last year in a Round of 64 exit?
Last year, the Purdue Boilermakers suffered a heart-wrenching overtime defeat to Cincinnati in the Round of 64. That was an 8-9 matchup, however, and this year Purdue finds themselves in a 5-12 matchup.
Last year was the first year since 2007 that at least one 12 didn't come out victorious against a 5 seed in the opening round. Thus, a lot of people have jumped on board with the 12 seeds this year. Could Arkansas Little Rock pose issues to Purdue? Certainly. Do I think they'll have the depth and big bodies necessary to compete with Purdue the way they've been playing lately? Probably not.
3. For the sake of basketball, can the Round of 64 be prettier than the First Four?
I know, I know. Teams like Holy Cross and Southern deserve a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament for the sake of the players and the coaches who work just as hard as other major conference teams.
But for goodness sake, I don't know that I've seen many uglier basketball games than what took place tonight in Dayton. In the first game between Holy Cross and Southern, the two teams combined to shoot 12-45 from the three point line. In the second game, Michigan and Tulsa combined to shoot 9-40 from beyond the arc.
Add that up, that means that in two games, four teams who history will forever show had a spot in the NCAA Tournament, shot a combined 21-85 from the three point line. And again, I know, it's a single game sample size and these teams shouldn't be judged off of one game.
Michigan is certainly capable of beating Notre Dame and even making a run to maybe even the Sweet Sixteen, but for the sake of good basketball, all I ask is that we see a more aesthetically pleasing brand of basketball as the tournament goes on.