March Madness Starts Off With a Bang

By: Carson O’Shoney

(UTC/The Loop)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — While Chattanoogans didn’t have a team to cheer for after the UTC Mocs missed the cut, college basketball fans were left completely satisfied with the opening weekend of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Mocs were part of the madness last year after earning the #16 seed in the West, but their big dance ended shortly after the #1 seed UConn knocked them out in the first round. This time around, the only University of Tennessee school in the tournament is the main one in Knoxville.

Scotty Hopson celebrates a dunk against Ohio[/caption]

Fans of the Volunteers have had plenty to cheer about this tourney. The #6 seeded Vols handled their first round opponent, San Diego State, who were a popular upset pick. Earlier in the day, they were given an unexpected gift — the #14 seed Ohio pulled off an improbable upset over the #3 seed Georgetown. Two days later, the Vols took care of the Ohio Bobcats and easily entered the Sweet Sixteen, where they’ll take on the #2 seed Ohio State. “They got lucky getting to play Ohio,” said UTC student Roland Chapman. “I hope they go further.” Xan Gwaltney added, “I can definitely see them going to the final four.”

Check out the 2010 NCAA Tournament Bracket here.

Ohio over Georgetown wasn’t the only upset in the first couple rounds — there were upsets left and right this weekend. #10 seed St. Mary’s took down popular final four team Villanova in the second round. Ivy League school Cornell, a #12 seed, got it’s first two tournament wins ever this weekend as they took down #5 Temple and #4 Wisconsin on their way to the Sweet 16. #11 Washington easily moved past #6 Marquette and #3 New Mexico. Even the mighty Kansas, who was the runaway favorite to win the National Championship, fell to up and coming Northern Iowa thanks in large part to the clutch shooting of guard Ali Farokhmanesh and his dagger of a three with just over 30 seconds left.

Jordan Eglseder

Jordan Eglseder

Even aside from the upsets, the first two rounds were exciting due to the amount of games that were decided at the buzzer, by a small margin, and in overtime. By the end of the day there had been more games go into overtime than the entire tournament last season. The very first game of the tournament, Florida vs BYU, went into two overtimes. Murray St. knocked off the #4 seed Vanderbilt by knocking down a last second three pointer. The end of the Maryland vs Michigan St game had three lead changes in the final 20 seconds, ending with a game winning three by Korie Lucious. The list goes on and on.

Check out all of UTC student Xan Gwaltney’s thoughts on the first two rounds here:

All in all, this was a hell of a way to start a tournament. And if the next rounds are anything like these, basketball fans are in for a huge treat.