Upsets, tight games aplenty in day one action

TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 17: The Utah State Aggies bench looks on during their 68 to 73 loss to the Kansas State Wildcats during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Or is it day two? Damn First Four nonsense.

Regardless, the NCAA Tournament kicked off about as well as anyone could have hoped with down-to-the-wire contests and enough last-second shots to get you through the remainder of the tournament. 

The biggest upset of the day came when Morehead (haha) State dismissed the heavily favored Louisville Cardinals. Which was a surprise to me because Rick Pitino is about as consistent as one coach could be in the NCAA Tournament. The guy rarely loses to a lower seed and hardly ever bows out in the first round. 

But that's what's happened the last two seasons and the Cardinals, a team I thought could make a deep tournament run, are now heading home losers. 

Vaderbilt was another team on the wrong side of the upset, as they fell to Richmond in a close contest. The Spiders move on to the second round for the first time since the 1998 season and provided former Air Force head coach Chris Mooney a signature win as he potentially jockeys for a better job next year (*cough* Utah *cough*). 

The final upset of the day came from Gonzaga, who knocked off St. John's. What was a fantastic season for the Red Storm ended on a sour note and you've got to wonder if this only bolsters the belief that Steve Lavin couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag. 

The Zags will now move on to take on BYU, who struggled against Wofford in their opening round game. 

For the other local team, Utah State, they fell to the Kansas St. Wildcats, though made a valiant comeback in the second half to make it a game after trailing badly for much of the first.

It's the same old story, though, for the Aggies, as they once again fell in the first round. Stew Morrill, who many Ute fans insist should get a look as our next head coach, is now only 1-8 in the NCAA Tournament. 

Speaking of coaches with abysmal tournament records - Blaine Taylor, another candidate for the Utah job, fell to 1-7 all-time as a head coach in the Big Dance after his Old Dominion Monarchs lost to the Butler Bulldogs on a buzzer beating put back. 

I still like Taylor as a coach, but his lack of tournament success does concern me.

Finally, the San Diego St. Aztecs won their first ever tournament game in program history. How 'bout that? They beat Northern Colorado rather easily after struggling in the first half.

So there you have it. The first round is now half over. How's your brackets looking?

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