First-round gut reactions
SI.com caught up with Seth Davis, who's serving as a CBS studio analyst during the tournament, to get his impressions of Friday's first-round action.
SI.com: So, which Cinderella is going to last?
Seth Davis: Western Kentucky. They're playing another mid-major, so we know we're going to have at least one great story in the Sweet 16. San Diego's best player, Brandon Johnson, had a pretty nasty groin injury in the end of the UConn game -- if they had gone into another OT, I think they would have run into some trouble. I actually got a voicemail from [WKU coach] Bill Grier and he sounded pretty happy. He said, I know you didnt give us a snowball's chance in hell ... Which I want to clarify, isn't exactly true. I didn't quite predict them to win, but I made a comment on the selection show about Drake going to the Sweet 16 and saying they would be a tough matchup for UConn -- if they could get by Western Kentucky.
SI.com: How shocking was that UConn loss?
SD: UConn losing A.J. Price was especially devastating. The worst was that they couldn't prepare for playing without him ... you don't have any kind of game plan for that type of situation, and he's their most important player. And then there's the emotional and psychological effect -- seeing him go down, that's a hard thing ... If they had lost Price in the Big East tourney and knew he wasn't going to play, I think they still would have won.
SI.com: Any news on Price's knee?
SD: The last I heard, it looked like a sprained knee and they were going to give it an MRI. It looked really bad when he went down. The way he grabbed it, he looked like he was in real pain ... obviously what you fear is a torn ACL; but he was still sitting on the bench, just with ice on it and kind of looked like he wanted to come back in.
SI.com: Let's talk about that ridiculous Western Kentucky shot.
SD: (Buzzer-beaters in the tourney) happen very rarely, but it seems like they're happening with higher frequency. It did feel like this was the kind of game that would end this way. It was a such a good game -- it was entertaining from the start, everyone was making shots ... Courtney Lee is Western Kentucky's best player and he played well but not great, but [Tyrone] Brazelton was phenomenal. Everyone will remember Ty Rogers' shot but Brazelton had a game-high 33 points. Brazelton's ability to push the ball up the court as quick as he did is what made the game happen. It just felt like it was that kind of game -- whoever had the ball last was going to win.
In the end, Drake didn't look that upset. They were all class, and their reaction to the shot was really matter-of-fact. Obviously, they were stunned but someone hit an incredible shot, a historical shot and they all just seemed to accept that. Even (Drake coach) Keno Davis' comments in the press conference were all class.
SI.com: Do you think that's just a mid-major attitude, or is that just Drake?
SD: Not at all. I think they know they had a great year, they were one of the great stories of the season ... Keno Davis is the obvious pick for Coach of the Year and they lost an incredible game on the buzzer. It was an-almost Homer Drew-type of shot.
SI.com: So let's talk about Stephen Curry ... out-of-the-ordinary game?
SD: No way. He's played like that since the first minute of the first game in college. He may not put up 40-point games, but he does put up 20 points most games. The thing about Curry is, he's bigger than people realize, he's actually 6-3, he's quick with the ball and he's incredibly quick to get a shot off, which is a great rare skill to have. You give him scintilla of daylight and it goes out his hands ... when he gets hot, there's nothing you can do about it. Gonzaga played well, they came out and they couldn't miss ... Steven Gray started out 5-5 from the three-point range, the team went 8-15 from three in the first half and they didn't really cool off that much. They just came back to earth, and that was all Davidson needed.
SI.com: Surprised about Oregon?
SD: No I wasn't. Oregon gets too three-happy: If they're shooting it well, they can win, but they tend to get very streaky and don't do a good enough job adjusting. They went 2 for 21 (in the second half) from the three-point line. That's inexcusable, not because of the percentage but just that they kept shooting. They should have gone inside more to Maarty Leunen and Joevan Catron -- Catron only had two field goal attempts. Mississippi State played well, though, Charles Rhodes had a career high . .. actually, there were a lot of career-high performances today.
SI.com: Which was the most impressive?
SD: Stephen Curry ... The thing that makes Davidson so good is everything they do, there's a purpose to it. Everyone's always working together, and coaches always say how much they respect Bob McKillop.. It's a mystery why he hasn't been picked up by a major team.
SI.com: What game tomorrow are you most looking forward to?
SD: Michigan State-Pitt. I think Michigan State is going to need more from Drew Neitzel than they got in the last game. You can get by Temple without Neitzel, but not Pitt. They have very similar styles, they're both physical teams, with experience in the right places. You gotta like Pitt, but it's an interesting matchup.
I'm also looking forward to Marquette and Stanford. One team's got very little inside and very tough guards, while one's suspect on the perimeter with one of the top frontlines in the country. I've got a feeling Stanford's going to play well. Duke's going to play well, too . This Duke team's been vunerable, but they've been one of those bend-but-don't-break teams. West Virginia doesn't have much size, and they're not well equipped to handle Duke.
K-State-Wisconsin, that's going to be an interesting game. I think K-State's got a real chance -- I wouldn't have said that before watching that game against USC, but they're a lot tougher and they get more production out of players than I realized, like Bill Walker. [Fellow CBS analyst] Clark [Kellogg] put it perfectly -- he said Walker had the perfect mentality to be the No. 2 guy. He doesn't want to be it, but he accepts it. He's used to it because he played in O.J. Mayo's shadow in high school, and now he's playing in Michael Beasley's shadow. But he was the best player on the floor against USC. Their game against Wisconsin should be interesting -- Kansas State has more talent, but Wisconsin's such a disciplined team.