The 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship officially kicked off today with the opening round in Dayton Ohio. North Carolina A & T was looking for their first ever win in the NCAA tournament against a Liberty team that became only the second 20 loss team ever to make the field. A & T got out to a 7 point halftime lead, but Liberty would fight back in the second half. Trailing by just one, Liberty’s John Sanders got the ball after a missed free throw and drove the length of the court. He took it all the way to the rim but just missed the layup at the buzzer to give North Carolina A & T their first ever tournament win. Forward Bruce Beckford had 16 points and 9 rebounds for the Aggies, while guard Jeremy Underwood added 19 off the bench. John Sanders had 21 points and 9 assists for Liberty, and Davon Marshall led the Flames with 22 points. North Carolina A & T will now advance to play number one overall seed Louisville in the second round. After being reminded that no 16 seed has ever beaten a 1 seed, coach Dale Layer said, “We’re still going to go out there and play hard, play our game, and no matter what, we’re going to try to get the win.” That being said, I like Louisville in a blowout.
The second game of the night featured two 11 seeds: Saint Mary’s and Middle Tennessee. Saint Mary’s, playing in its second straight tournament appearance, got off to a good start and never looked back. The Gaels won by a final of 67-54 behind 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal from guard Matthew Dellavedova. Marcos Knight finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists for Middle Tennessee. Saint Mary’s will now advance to take on 6 seed Memphis in the second round. I think Memphis could be on upset alert here, and I am picking Saint Mary’s to advance to the round of 32.
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