How's your bracket, or brackets, looking through the first Friday of the NCAA Tournament?
Mine took a beating, the best I can claim right now is 22-and-10. I did pick Richmond's upset of Vanderbilt (my son would have given me grief if I hadn't picked the Spiders since he goes to school there)and Gonzaga's win over St. John's, but those are about all I can hang my hat on. Louisville's first-round departure hurts me the most at this point, I had the Cardinals going to the Sweet 16. I should have known better, Rick Pitino and the Cardinals seem to flop a lot in the Dance.
When the NCAA field was announced, the two teams selected that took the most criticism were UAB and VCU. And UAB lived up to the criticism, losing big to Clemson in one of the "First Four" games on Tuesday night. But how about those VCU Rams!
VCU won its early game Wednesday night against Southern California, then the Rams destroyed 6 seed Georgetown to advance to the round of 32. It's the first time the 11th-seeded Rams have won more than one game in the NCAA Tournament, now we'll really see what they're made of when they battle 3 seed Purdue Sunday.
Three Virginia teams out of the original five are still alive through Friday's games.
Richmond, VCU and George Mason all won their first-round games. Former Hidden Valley and Hargrave MIlitary Academy standout Luke Hancock hit the go-ahead game-winner for George Mason against Villanova with 20 seconds left, he also led the Patriots in scoring with 18. Hampton and Old Dominion dropped out with first-round losses.
Three ACC teams of the original four made it through Friday's first-round games.
Duke, North Carolina and Florida State carry the ACC banner, the 10th-seeded Seminoles pulled a mild upset, taking down 7 seed Texas A&M. Clemson dropped out with the loss to West Virginia. Kyrie Irving came back from injury for Duke and played his first game in three months Friday, he led the Devils in scoring with 14. That's a great sign for Duke and Coach K, who won his 899th game with the rout of Hampton on day one. But I'm just not feeling a second-straight national title for the Blue Devils this year...I've been wrong before, though.
I've got Kansas and Ohio State making it to the championship game with Kansas taking it all, lots of games to be played between now and then, though.
In the high school ranks, congratulations to the Radford Bobcats. Not one but TWO STATE CHAMPIONS in basketball in the same season! That's a remarkable feat, Maryah Sydnor and Dontae Carter came up big for their teams all season. You might remember Altavista also had girls and boys state basketball champs in the same year back in 2004. This year, the V.E.S. boys also captured their first state title, the Bishops winning it all in Curtis Staples' first year as head coach, Staples the former Patrick Henry High and UVa great.
Now we move into spring sports, and don't forget the big race weekend at Martinsville Speedway April 2nd and 3rd! The Camping World Truck Series race is Saturday afternoon at 2 with the Sprint Cup race Sunday at 1.
Good luck, or should I say, BETTER LUCK with your basketball brackets!
ABC 13 Sports Director