Friday, March 21, 2008

Three Intriguing First Round Games (Friday Edition)

Three more games to keep an eye on today:

(#10) Davidson v. (#7) Gonzaga.
Before the bracket was announced, both Davidson and Gonzaga were trendy 'first-round-surprises.' As it turned out, that will be true, but only for one of the two teams. The beat goes on at Gonzaga -- another tough out-of-conference schedule, another West Coast Conference regular season championship, although the upset in the WCC tournament was a surprise. Davidson meanwhile makes its second straight NCAA appearance, with the dangerous Stephen Curry getting more help this year from backcourt running mate Jason Richards.

(#12) Western Kentucky v. (#5) Drake.
Drake has had a magical run this season, but limped home with a 3-3 end to the regular season (the Bulldogs did win the tough Missouri Valley Tourney, however). Former walk-on Adam Emmenecker leads "the Drake" to its first NCAA appearance since 1971, and the pressure is on to prove that this year was not a fluke. WKY played a brutal non-conference schedule, including close losses at Gonzaga and to Tenn at home.

(#13) San Diego v. (#4) UConn.
Both teams were over-shadowed by bigger name schools in their respective conferences (Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Louisville for UConn, and St. Mary's and (as always) Gonzaga for San Diego). But while San Diego closed with a bang, winning the WCC championship on its home floor, UConn ended a fine 24-8 season by losing three of its last six, including a desultory opening round loss to West Virginia in the Big East tourney.

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