2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Important Observations 33-36

What a blitz of a first round. Hope you’ve been keeping up with my Important Observations so far, here’s the finale of the first round:

33. Illinois 73, UNLV 62Illinois is better than anyone thought.
If you’re reading this you probably know that Illinois is my absolute least favorite team ever. I hate the University of Illinois, but they looked really good tonight. What I like even more is that they won that game and now they get to play Kansas, in a game that someone has to lose. The Illini stumbled into the tournament like any college student walks home at 2am after St. Patrick’s Day, and I don’t think anyone expected them to look good, but they went way up on UNLV and if it weren’t for garbage time, would have slaughtered the Runnin Rebels. I’m pumped to watch the NCAA sacrifice this team to the Morris brothers on Sunday.

34. VCU 74, Georgetown 56Picking USC to go two rounds worked in my favor.

Free points for everyone who picked USC to win two games.

Because VCU gets to play for free on the USC ticket and it looks like I correctly predicted that the winner of the USC/VCU game would beat Georgetown tonight. Am I proud of those bracket points? No. But I will take them. And it gave me a reason to cheer extra hard for the upset, which is always a fun thing to do. In all seriousness, the only good thing about the First Four was that it gave us a chance to get two teams for the price of one in that first game on the bracket. Only one gets to play, but that one team plays for both itself and the team it beat. It’s not a saving grace of the First Four, in fact it’s a hair of good news in a sea of terrible emotions about those first few games, but at least it’s something and when you ask me to evaluate that part of the tournament, I’ll say my glass is half full. Of horrible games. But still half full.

35. Washington 68, Georgia 65There’s something magical about Isaiah Thomas.
He is great to watch, and seems like he jus thrives in these big moments. I don’t’ particularly believe in clutch, and even then. The clutch moments were on the shoulders of Georgia to convert tonight, but it seems like every time I see Thomas in a big moment, he’s embarrassing someone. I’d also recommend naming your child something other than the name of an actual famous basketball player, because if he actually does grow up to be a different basketball player, he will never get any respect. Sorry Isaiah, but I can’t hear your name without thinking of the other one. No one can.

36. Syracuse 77, Indiana St. 60Writing Observations for all these blowout games got old pretty fast.
There’s only so much to say about these games. Cuse was supposed to win by a bunch. It wasn’t close. They won by a bunch. Great, what did we learn? We learned that it’s hard to keep coming up with things to say about these games when they’re kind of all the same. But the first 36 games are over now and hopefully we’re moving to a point where not that many bad teams remain and we’ll see some good basketball. I’m pretty pumped to see what tomorrow’s games have in store and even more excited to see the game load cut in half so the frequent blogging can take a rest for a minute. Stay tuned for comments on basketball action through the next round and actually the rest of the tournament.