Ranking the First Round NCAA Tournament Games

Wow! What a Christmas! Four teams seeded 13 or lower won first round games for the first-time in NCAA tournament history. Let’s now rank the games from best to worst and compare how my pre-tourney intrigue rankings compare to how the games actually played out.

Pre-Tourney RankDifference
1(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Oral Roberts (3:00)- CBS (5)- historic upset over a team I despise2827
2(3) Texas vs. (14) Abilene Christian (9:50)- Tru TV (246)- this was the result that made me the happiest. The icing on the cake to an incredible first round108
3(4) Purdue vs. (13) North Texas (7:25)- TNT (245)- another great over time upset1714
4(4) Virginia vs. (13) Ohio (7:15)– Tru TV (246)- Jason Preston’s rise from high school bench wamer is one of the greatest March Madness underdog stories of all-time40
5(7) Clemson vs. (10) Rutgers (9:20)- TBS (247)– an historic win for the State University of New Jersey was earned in dramatic fashion2217
6(8) Loyola-Chicago vs. (9) Georgia Tech (4:00)- TBS (247)- Sister Act 2: The Return of Sister Jean1-5
7(5) Creighton vs. (12) UCSB (3:30)- Tru TV (246)- heartbreaking loss for the underdog but still a great game6-1
8(7) Florida vs. (10) Virginia Tech (12:15)- CBS (5)- Virginia Tech hit the closest thing to a buzzer beater that we had in the first round, even though it ultimately came in a losing effort3022
9(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Oregon State (4:30)- TNT (245)- The way the Beavers dominated this game from start to finish was truly shocking90
10(4) Oklahoma State vs. (13) Liberty (6:25)- TBS (247)- I wish the Flames were able to pull it out but this was a classic game from start to finish5-5
11(3) Arkansas vs. (14) Colgate (12:45)- TruTV (246)- the first 30 minutes of this game were epic, the last ten not so much8-3
12(3) Kansas vs. (14) Eastern Wash. (1:15)- TBS (247)– see comment above about Arkansas/Colgate game131
13(2) Alabama vs. (15) Iona (4:00)- TBS (247)- see comment above for games # 11 and 12 on this list141
14(6) San Diego State vs. (11) Syracuse (9:40)- CBS (5)– a truly stunning result even if the game was a blowout217
15(6) BYU vs. (11) UCLA (9:40)- CBS (5)- The Bruins controlled the game throughout but Johnny Juzang’s dominance was a sight to be hold194
16(5) Villanova vs. (12) Winthrop (9:57)- TNT (245)- the underdog here kept it close for most of the game but fell just a little bit short in the end3-13
17(6) USC vs. (11) Drake (4:30)- TNT (245)– see comment above about Villanova/Winthrop game181
18(4) Florida State vs. (13) UNCG (12:45)- Tru TV (246)– see comment above for games # 16 and 17 on this list11-7
19(8) Oklahoma vs. (9) Missouri (7:25)- TNT (245)- not the most well-played game in the tournament but still close throughout234
20(3) West Virginia vs. (14) Morehead State (9:50)- Tru TV (246)- the Eagles hung around in this one longer than most thought they would15-5
21(1) Baylor vs. (16) Hartford (3:30)- TruTV (246)- the one surprisingly close 16/1 game. The Hawks kept this game tight throughout most of the first half 3110
22(7) UConn vs. (10) Maryland (7:10)- CBS (5)- The Terps controlled this game for the last 25 minutes of regulation297
23(2) Iowa vs. (15) Grand Canyon (6:25)- TBS (247)- not the upset I was hoping for but the Antelopes still covered with impressive second half performance2-21
24(8) LSU vs. (9) St. Bonaventure (1:45)- TNT (245)- this must hyped first round game ended up being largely a dud16-8
25(6) Texas Tech vs. (11) Utah State (1:45)- TNT (245)– this game had a lot of pre-tournament intrigue and hype that didn’t pan out.20-5
26(1) Illinois vs. (16) Drexel (1:15)- TBS (247)- Impressed without how well the Dragons played in the first 10 minutes but after that, the game got away from them in a hurry.271
27(1) Michigan vs. (16) Texas Southern (3:00)- CBS (5)- Shockingly, the Tigers outscored Michigan in the second half after getting blown off the court in the first half.325
28(1) Gonzaga vs. (16) Norfolk State (9:20)- TBS (247)– A game that was close for the first five minutes ended up being the biggest blowout of the first round and likely the whole tournament.24-4
29(5) Colorado vs. (12) Georgetown (12:15)- CBS (5)- the much hyped Hoyas laid one of the biggest first round eggs you’ll ever see in a blowout loss to the Buffaloes.7-22
30(2) Houston vs. (15) Cleveland State (9:20)- Tru TV (246)- a game that felt over soon after the jump ball took place26-4
31(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Wisconsin (7:10)- CBS (5)- By far, the biggest bust of the tournament. It was supposed to be the most appealing game of the first round and instead it ended up being over in the first 5 minutes12-19
32(7) Oregon vs. (10) VCU (9:57)- TNT (245)- the first NCAA tournament game ever to be decided by forfeit before it was played. Hope we don’t have anymore of these.25-7
Oral Roberts shocks Ohio State, first big upset of NCAAs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s