A little while after Friday became Saturday, the 2019 NCAA Tournament put its first round into the books, with 32 teams still alive for the national championship. Here are some notes about the big dance so far, and how the field looks for 4-seed Florida State.
One of the many great things about the tourney is that, ultimately, each team controls its own destiny. That said, the Seminoles certainly haven’t gotten much help with elite teams. Every single 1-4 seed remains alive, with the lone exception of 4-seed Kansas State, which was eliminated by 13-seed UC-Irvine in the South region, on the other side of the bracket. The Anteaters are the lowest-seeded team remaining.
But it wasn’t always easy for the 1-seeds: Gonzaga, headlining Florida State’s West region, was the only top seed to cover the spread.
The biggest upset in FSU’s region was 12-seed Murray State’s demolition of 5-seed Marquette. But that was a very popular upset pick, with the Golden Eagles slumping mightily. And now the ’Noles get the Racers in round two. The 12-line, always known for its upsets of 5-seeds, did not disappoint across the field, as three 12s won, with only Auburn surviving.
10-seeds also had a nice first round, upsetting a trio of 7-seeds, seemingly making for an easier round-two matchup for the 2-seeds— but remember: matchups are much more important than a few seeding lines. Anyway, Wofford is the only 7-seed left.
One of those 10s to advance was Florida, which bettered Nevada in the West. The ’Noles and Gators could meet in the Elite Eight, if they each won two more games, but first UF has to contend with 2-seed Michigan today.
Right in between the successful 12s and 10s? The not-so fortunate 11s. Only Ohio State remains from that line, after upsetting 6-seed Iowa State in the Midwest, also across the bracket from FSU.
8-9 games are really more of a coin toss than an upset, but the 9s were perfect in the first round, eliminating all the 8-seeds. The 9-seed in Florida State’s region, Baylor, will play Gonzaga, and the winner of that will take on the victor of FSU and Murray State in the Sweet Sixteen in Anaheim.
Where The Wild Things Are
Going strictly by seeding, more upsets have occurred in the South region than any other, with four of eight first-round games won by the lower seeds. The Seminoles’ West region has witnessed three upsets, as did the East. The Midwest was the safest for high seeds, with just a pair of upsets.
As far as venues go, San Jose takes the upset crown. The Capital of Silicone Valley hosted upset wins by the aforementioned 13-seed UC-Irvine, 12-seed Oregon, which topped 5-seed Wisconsin, and 12-seed Liberty, which upended 5-seed Mississippi State. The only favorite to survive San Jose? 4-seed Virginia Tech, over 13-seed Saint Louis.
Jacksonville was the chalkiest venue, the only location where all four higher seeds won: 2-seed Kentucky, 3-seed LSU, 6-seed Maryland, and 7-seed Wofford.
It Just Means (It’s Cold) More
The Big Ten got the most teams in the tourney, and they acquitted themselves well, authoring a very impressive first-round record of 7-1. The ACC and SEC each went a solid 5-2, the Big 12 went 4-2, and the Pac-12, which was dreadful this season, went 2-1.
I’d Watch That Fight
The best round-two game is also the one featuring the lowest combined seed-matchup remaining: No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 13 UC-Irvine. But I’m not even talking about basketball anymore. This is a battle between the Ducks and the Anteaters. How good is that?
Here’s how each bracket looks heading into the round of 32. Reminder: the West plays the East for entry into the title game, while the South faces the Midwest.