The worst letdowns from the opening weekend of March Madness.
There was plenty of action on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Florida Gulf Coast became the first No. 15 seed Cinderella to make the Sweet 16 of the Big Dance. Wichita State “shocked” No. 1 seed Gonzaga to become just the fifth No. 9 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 since 1985. Buzzer-beaters and pep bands, coeds and coaches, commercials and cheerleaders — all the usual March Madness was in full effect. But there were also a few letdowns in the Rounds of 64 and 32.
1. Overreaction to Aaron Craft charge call
The Zapruder film was replayed in super-slow-mo fewer times than Craft’s controversial, momentum-shifting charge taken with 1:41 left and Ohio State trailing Iowa State by one. The call wiped out a made basket and free-throw attempt by Will Clyburn and gave the Buckeyes the ball. Craft eventually nailed a game-winning 3 with 0.5 seconds to play. But all anyone wanted to talk about was the charge call.
2. Over-hyped, over-seeded mid-major “powers”
Gonzaga (No. 1 seed), New Mexico (No. 3) and Saint Louis (No. 4) entered the NCAA Tournament with a combined 89–16 record as the champions of the West Coast, Mountain West and Atlantic 10 Conferences, respectively. Then the Zags, Lobos and Billikens lived up to their untrustworthy nicknames and soft resumes, belly-flopping on the biggest stage in college basketball.
3. UCLA, especially Shabazz Muhammad
Ben Howland was kicked to the curb after the underachieving Bruins were bounced from the Tourney with their usual lackluster showing. But the bigger news was that of Muhammad’s reported age bouncing from 19 to 20 years old, thanks to the slip of the tongue from an apparent snake-oil salesman father. UCLA’s dumpster fire season caused so much stress, every Bruin fan this side of Bill Walton likely aged in Shabazz years, too.
4. Ben McLemore’s disappearing act
Ray Allen comparisons and talk of going No. 1 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft had McLemore sitting pretty prior to the start of the Big Dance. But a combined 2-of-14 shooting effort, including 0-of-8 from 3-point range, has the Jesus Shuttlesworth fantasy cooling off. McLemore has scored just 13 points over two NCAA Tournament games, missing layups, mishandling alley-oops and bricking wide open corner threes.
5. Scootie Randall’s shooting vs. Indiana
Temple’s second leading scorer was 0-of-12 from the field and 0-of-6 from 3-point range in a 58–52 loss to Indiana. The Owls’ go-to guy, Khalif Wyatt, dropped 31 points but got no help from his partner-in-crime. Randall joined Connecticut’s Khalid El-Amin as second player to shoot 0-of-12 or worse in an NCAA Tourney game since 1985.
6. Lack of Dick Vitale announcing
After all these years, college basketball fans are forced to wait one more week before they are graced with the voice of Dick Vitale. In his 34-year career, Vitale has yet to work the Final Four. Needless to say, fans of international TV are ready for Dickey V. He still won't be a PTPer, but he'll be at the Big Dance, baby.
7. Davidson late-game meltdown vs. Marquette
Steph Curry was not walking through that door for Davidson in the Round of 64 against Marquette. The No. 14-seed Wildcats were outscored 13–5 over the last 1:33 of a 59–58 loss to the No. 3-seed Golden Eagles, including a game-winning drive to the rim by Vander Blue.
8. Marshall Henderson meltdown vs. La Salle
Everyone’s favorite villain in college hoops left the court with birds a’ blazin’ — flipping off the crowd with a double-barreled effort at the Sprint Center in Kansas City following Ole Miss’ 76–74 loss to La Salle. That seems so tame for Marshall, yet such an appropriate ending for the Rebel.
9. Lame TruTV, Wichita State Shocker jokes
What channel is TruTV, anyway? There’s a team called the Shockers? Insert lame joke. Really? This is Twitter comedy at its worst.
10. Wardrobe of Amanda Marcum Enfield
The wife of Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield isn’t even wearing a bikini. What? But at least FGCU isn’t playing Wichita State. Or Brent Musburger isn't calling games.