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.