What Happened Last Night: March Madness Begins, And Also March Madness

  • Dylan Murphy

March Madness March Madness! Why weren’t you watching?!? March Madness!

20-loss Liberty, well they lost. But they almost won!

North Carolina A&T squeezed out a last-second victory in this one, earning the distinct pleasure of getting smacked around by Louisville in Round 2 (really 1) of the NCAA Tournment. But this one was a nail biter – driving coast to coast as the clock wound down, John Caleb Sanders of Liberty made it all the way to the rim before North Carolina A&T’s defensive star, Austin Witter, got a piece of the running layup to preserve the 73-72 victory. You might remember a bit of outrage back when Liberty won it’s conference tournament, and various people were rambling on about fairness and opportunity and what have you. But that Liberty was even in the tournament, and that after trailing big managed to come back and almost steal the game, ultimately makes this an ends-justifies-the-means situation.

St. Mary’s knocks off Middle Tennessee State in other opening game.

This one wasn’t as close. St. Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova carried the Gaels with 22 points, including 5-7 from three-point range, to guide his team to a 67-54 victory and a date with No. 6 Memphis on Thursday. For Middle Tennessee State the loss was particularly disappointing, as this was their first tournament appearance in 24 years. St. Mary’s, meanwhile, made the Sweet 16 in 2010 and are regulars in March, including making the tournament in back-to-back years – this year and last – for the first time in the school’s history.

Kentucky lost to Robert Morris in the NIT first round.

Robert. Morris. The No. 8 seed to Kentucky’s 1. Kentucky had a shot to tie it at the end after two free throws put Robert Morris ahead 59-57, but a Kyle Wiltjer three-pointer hit back rim and the Wildcats went home with nothing. After the game, John Calipari spoke of the experience as humbling, but generally he looked like a defeated man with underperforming troops and an eye on next season – though, with a handful of Kentucky players, many of whom were projected to be first round picks, coming back next season, expect Kentucky to be re-locked and reloaded for the 2013-2014 campaign.