We all know the VCU story. They got into the 2011 NCAA Tournament when most didn’t think they belonged. And then they played their inspired brand of basketball and took a trip to the Final Four. Does that make their inclusion warranted? That was debated to no end last year, so no reason to dig that back up. And I’ll take that same way out with the First Four as a whole. Does the NCAA really need 68 teams as opposed to 64? Are Tuesday and Wednesday games really necessary? Again, I pass.
What matters now that the Tournament has started is that games are being played, and the winners advance.
To gauge what they might expect, lets take a look back at last year’s First Four event.
VCU beat Southern Cal and then went to the Final Four. Noted.
UTSA beat Alabama State in a 16-seed game. This bought them a couple days of life before they were they were fed to Ohio State.
UNC-Asheville played a thrilling game, and beat Arkansas Little Rock in overtime. Then they hung with Pittsburgh briefly before falling by 23.
The fourth winner was Clemson, who knocked off UAB in a 12-seed game. They had a tough travel schedule and had to play West Virginia. In that game they took the Mountaineers nearly to the wire before losing by eight.
What does that mean for this year’s winners? The 16-seed story is an obvious one. They’re going to lose.
But what about BYU/Iona, and Cal/USF? That answer we’ll have by Friday.
LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:
This is peak AAU basketball.
It will never be more AAU than that.
In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.
The crowd was insane for the game:
According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.
Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:
At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:
(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)
The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.
South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.
Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.
The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan:
A day after Grayson Allen threw an alley-oop to Trevon Duval for Duke’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Kentucky’s team of freshmen decided to do one of their own:
That would be, in order, Johnny David, Jarrod Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, PJ Washington and Kevin Knox abusing some poor sap’s rim somewhere in Lexington.
But was that better than John Calipari’s attempt?