There were several compelling storylines from the opening day of the NCAA Tournament, but for Fox Sports and SNY college basketball analyst Vin Parise, one was a cut above the rest:
For the first time since 1995, two 14-seeds won on the same day, as UAB took down Iowa State, 60-59, and Georgia State took down Baylor, 57-56.
“It’s something we can’t ignore and take for granted,” Parise said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “This is why these are the two greatest days in sports. You look at what these kids are able to accomplish, and I don’t know how this tops yesterday. I think half of the ‘One Shining Moment’ video, you could literally shoot from yesterday afternoon and the evening’s games.”
There was UAB overcoming a four-point deficit in the final minutes. There was Georgia State overcoming a 12-point deficit in the final minutes. There was No. 11 UCLA beating No. 6 SMU on a late goal-tend. There was Ron Hunter – ruptured Achilles and all – falling off his stool after watching his son, R.J., nail a deep three to beat Baylor.
Yes, Thursday had a little bit of everything.
“It does not get any better than this,” Parise said. “There’s two dynamics to this. No. 1, of course (we love) the Cinderella, and (that’s) the reason why we take this tournament so serious and (that’s why it’s so fun). But No. 2, the dynamic that we don’t give enough credence to is how some of these bigger teams can play tight at times. Some teams go for the kill and some teams play not to (lose).”
Take Iowa State, for example. The Cyclones had a bad shooting day – 36.9 percent from the floor and 26.1 percent from three – but they also shot just seven free throws, which suggests a lack of aggression and being too passive.
“That’s disappointing,” Parise said. “How do you get your guys to come out these first two games and not play tight?”
Then again, one guy might not have played tight enough. SMU senior center Yanick Moreira was called for a controversial goal-tend in the final seconds of the Mustangs’ 60-59 loss to UCLA. The infraction came on a three-point attempt by Bryce Alford, who finished with a game-high 27 points. Alford’s shot appeared well short of actually going in, but Moreira was called for the goal-tend and SMU lost.
“I don’t think it was goaltending,” Parise said. “There’s a couple of things wrong with this process. No. 1, first and foremost, it did not have a chance to go in. But there’s other things that are making this a bad situation. No. 1, John Adams comes on afterwards, the head of officials, and he almost tries to defend it by saying, ‘Well, was there one centimeter of the ball that was over one area of the cylinder? Because then technically it’s above the cylinder and on its way down.’ And granted, do balls hit rims and drop in sometimes?”
“But to just say that because a ball was going to graze the side of the rim it was going to go in – that ball had no chance to go in,” Parise said. “But I think the bigger travesty in this is that for all of the monitors, for all of the replays, for how many stoppages in play that we have in college basketball nowadays that we’re able to review in the last two minutes of a game whether a ball goes off a guy’s leg or not – how could they not go back to the monitor and be able to review that? How could that be a judgement call? And by the way, the worst angle of the three officials was the guy that made the call first.”
Nevertheless, UCLA (21-13, 11-7) will face UAB (20-15, 12-6) this Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET. The winner advances to the Sweet 16.