Posted by Frazier
Well, the results are in. It was a thrilling first day of competition both on the hardwood and the gridiron. Many schools found themselves sweating out tight matches in both sports, with a few points either way potentially determining the fate of the overall matchup. It was really something to see a defeated basketball team huddled around a television praying for a football victory and a chance at redemption in the next round. We here at the 323 couldn't have been happier with the level of competition, and the amount of pride all the teams showed. When it was all said and done, the winners managed to find a way, while the losers simply fell short. Without further ado, here are the results:
1: Ohio St. vs.
Basketball outcome: Ohio St. wins in a rout.
Football outcome: Ohio St. wins in a rout.
Overall winner: Buckeye dominance.
Comment: Tennessee had a tough road ahead of them when they drew the mighty Buckeyes in the first round. Ohio St. has dominant teams in both sports, and their balance really showed out there. The football team was able to capitalize on incosistent play from Ainge, and create huge turnovers which led to quick points from Smith and his receivers. The offense had a field day against the underachieving Volunteer bunch, and the game was never really in doubt. On the basketball side of things, the Volunteers didn't have anyone who could provide any sort of challenge to Greg Oden in the middle of the action. Mike Conley ably led the Buckeye attack, and quickly settled down the young squad any time it looked like Pearl's boys were going to be able to get something going. The Vols simply looked exhausted by the end, and the Buckeyes kept on bringing it. A decisive victory on both sides of the ledger for the top seed.
2: Florida vs.
7: Boston College
Basketball outcome: Florida domination.
Football outcome: Florida domination.
Overall winner: Gators rule.
Comment: Boston college didn't stand a chance out there. The speed difference in football was just astounding as the Gator defense flew all over the field. While Boston College thought they might have a size and strength advantage in the trenches, the Gator defense held tough, and Nelson and Siler simply flew to the ball. Offensively, the Gators had no problem ripping off long plays against an overmatched BC defense. Florida was simply in a different class, talent-wise. Boston College needed to play a perfect game to stand a chance, and this inconsistent bunch was far from perfect. The basketball results were no better for the Eagles. Florida really came out hot, and ready to play, and their depth and experience caused huge problems for BC. Dudley played tough, as always, but BC had no answers for Horford and Noah on the inside. The defending champs certainly showed their stuff in an easy victory. Overall, Florida was simply too much for the overmatched Eagles.
3: Louisville vs.
Basketball outcome: Louisville in a squeaker.
Football outcome: USC in game that was close until the 4th quarter.
Overall winner: USC
Comment: The football game was probably the most exciting match in the first round in the East, but the basketball one didn't measure up. Both basketball squads played a sloppy style, and failed to capitalize on their opponents mistakes. These teams seemed overrated as no one was able to put their stamp on the contest. However, Louisville had the experience of Petino to guide them when things got too tough, and the squad was able to pull out a very close win. Even with a game that came down to the final baskets, no one was rooting for a rematch. The football game was almost completely the opposite. Both teams came out absolutely firing on offense. The USC machine was at full bore with Booty and Jarrett almost telepathically linked. Louisville didn't begin to have a defender who could keep pace with Jarrett. On the other side of things, Brohm opened things up early with a deep strike to Urrutia, but it was the precision passing of later drives that had the greatest benefits. Both offenses kept things on track with adequate running games, but this was a day of aerial assault from both sides. USC managed to gain a small lead heading into the fourth quarter, and that's when Carroll finally got through to his talented, but underachieving defense. It was the efforts of Dallas Sartz and company that finally made the difference. A couple of crucial stops was all that it took for the Trojans to race ahead, and never look back. Overall the Trojans took the matchup because their masterful victory in a thrilling game more than made up for the Louisville win in a lackluster basketball tilt. Fight on.
4: Notre Dame vs.
Basketball outcome: Maryland in a close game.
Football outcome: Maryland in a shocking upset.
Overall winner: The Terps!
Comment: Who woulda thunk it?! Maryland came out and really pulled a shocking upset today. In a basketball game that most predicted would be close, and go either way, the Terps pulled out all the stops and rode to victory. It was clear that both teams had talent, but it was the experience of coach Williams, and benefit of playing in the tough ACC that led Maryland to the win. Things got close, but the players all agreed it was the crucible of the ACC regular season that gave the Terps the ability to overcome in the end. Not exactly a pretty game, but a solid victory that gave their football team hope going into the big showdown. The football side of things is where the word "shocker" comes in. Everyone expected Notre Dame to roll to victory over an unimpressive Maryland bunch. However, the Fridge showed that Weiss wasn't the only offensive genius out there today. The Irish final record wasn't any better than Maryland's, and they didn't prove during the season that there was any reason to think they could make quick work over the underrated Terps. Notre Dame struggled mightily in its' pass defense all season, and Sam Hollenbach was just the quarterback to exploit them. He played a professional game, without trying to do too much, and managed to make the big throws when they counted. No one expected this to be a defensive showdown, and it certainly wasn't. Quinn and company accounted well for themselves again, but it was a questionable Weiss decision that may have turned the tide. Facing a 4th and short at his own 40-yard line in a close game, Weiss decided to go for it. While Walker was averaging over 5 yards a carry in a tremendous effort, Weiss chose to have Quinn go for the gold by throwing deep to Samardzija. The Maryland safety wasn't fooled, and was able to come over and help break up the play. That showed great coaching by Freidgen, and it was executed perfectly by his defense. Maryland quickly turned the field position into points, and Quinn struggled late in another big game. Overall the Terps showed a lot of poise in both sports, and used excellent coaching and good game management by Hollenbach to complete the big upset. Oh yeah, and we hate Notre Dame.
1: Wisconsin vs.
8: Virginia Tech
Basketball outcome: tempting to take the ACC, but Wisconsin wins an ugly one
Football outcome: Wisconsin in a squeaker
Overall winner: Wisconsin by a nose in both
Comment: You could make a real strong argument for Virginia Tech winning both of these matchups. In football the Hoakies definitely have the defense and special teams to be in the game until the final gun, but erratic QB play will eventually doom them against a Badger squad that proves to be their equal defensively, and slightly more consistent on O behind a superb offensive line and freshman sensation PJ Hill. In basketball the case for Tech is even easier. When they are on Tech can, and did, beat anyone (see the two wins over UNC). And while Wisconsin has a sterling record, they did most of their damage against the Big 10, which will prove to be the fraud conference in this NCAA tourney. Still, as was the case in the football matchup, VTech is just too inconsistent and erratic to take over a steady as they come Wisconsin team.
2: Nevada vs.
Basketball outcome: Nevada in a squeaker
Football outcome: Oregon in a semi route
Overall winner: The Ducks pull off the shocker
Comment: Nevada's two seed in this tournament was as shocking to us as it must have been to you. The Wolfpack had a semi-mediocre football season, but their basketball team, led by all america Nick Fazekas really carried the day for them. If we had done this a month ago, Nevada probably would have gotten the nod big time on the hardwood. However, the Ducks really turned things on recently, absolutely obliterating the competition on their way to the Pac-10 title. Still, Nevada's body of work on the Court this season is better than Oregon's, and they have the best player so they get the nod. On the gridiron the matchup isn't nearly as intriguing. Two semi-explosive offenses, but two incredibly sloppy teams. Nevada and its pistol Pete offense has the ability to score, especially against a porous Ducks defense, but the Wolfpack couldn't stop anyone in the WAC this year, let along the Pac-10. The Ducks are not a good football team, but they do have some offensive talent (Jonathan Stewart, Jaison Williams) that Nevada just has no answer for.
3: Texas A&M vs.
Basketball outcome: Texas, hey it took them 2OT but they did it
Football outcome: Texas A & M
Overall winner: Texas, by the tip of the Longhorn
Comment: Wow, what a monster first round matchup! Since they are conference rivals we have some precedent to go by here. Sure we all remember the insane 2OT win by Texas, when Acie Law just kept willing his team to compete, but people forget that the Longhorns got waxed at College Station 100-82 earlier in the year. Still, Texas is such a young team (its two best playes are Freshman) that they get better each week and they are a different team now than they were when they lost to A&M. If they met again it'd be another OT thriller, but Kevin Durant isn't going to be denied against his in state rival again. On the football field, again we have precedent. Stephen McGee did his best Ken Stabler impression, and the Aggie defense knocked Colt McCoy out of the game en route to a surprise win over the Longhorns. Still, it's hard to ignore the fact that McCoy got hurt early and Texas had no backup to turn to. I think we all know that as much as we here at the323 love the Aggie football team, that game was somewhat of an aberration. Texas takes the absolute penultimate matchup of the first round.
4: BYU vs.
Basketball outcome: UCLA big
Football outcome: BYU not as big
Overall winner: UCLA
Comment: Kind of a blah matchup with BYU clearly holding the edge in football and UCLA clearly holding the edge in basketball. I know I know, we said if it was close we would weight the football performance more (this being a football blog), but I think it's fair to say that UCLA's football team is better than the BYU basketball team (relatively speaking). Let's not forget that the game before USC looked unstoppable in their dismantling of Michigan, the Bruins kicked their asses up and down the field. The Bruins football team underachieved a lot in 2006 and they should prove in 2007 that they were a lot better than they played. BYU has a nice team and all, but again, you gotta give UCLA an edge by virtue of the fact that they play in a BCS conference.