Say this for the
The Pac-12 was all proud of its quality depth this season, and then a record seven of its teams were selected for the tournament, tied for most of any conference. If that caused pause in areas east, the Pac-12 privately had to be all giddy.
Then the games began.
And down they started to fall, until by the first round's end the Pac-12 was staring blankly at a 2-5 record.
Utah, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest, has to meet
All seven Pac-12 teams were seeded higher than their opponents, but perhaps tellingly, many still weren't betting favorites. That conference respect had not been earned everywhere.
Providence was favored over USC, the Friars needing a stretch collapse by the Trojans to win by one. No. 9 Connecticut was favored over No. 8
No. 4 California, a No. 4 seed in the South, was favored to handle Hawaii, but then point guard Tyrone Wallace broke his hand in practice. For all their supposed talent, the Bears weren't good enough to hold off the Rainbow Warriors.
This is where the annual reminder arrives: The conference hasn't won a national championship since Arizona in 1997.
The tournament's first round brought its usual assortment of upsets, but some were so stunning that before play had even ended Friday, the perfect bracket had become extinct.
ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sports, the
The biggest upset was easily No. 15 Middle Tennessee State's 90-81 victory over No. 2
Quick answer: It's in Murfreesboro, Tenn., site of the bloody Battle of Stones River during the Civil War and about 30 miles south of Nashville. The university actually has the largest undergraduate population in the state (22,000). It owns two NCAA championships (golf in 1965 and tennis doubles in 2007).
Many thought Michigan State was fleeced when it failed to receive a No. 1 seed and Virginia and Oregon did. The Spartans were still viewed a title favorite, but they never led against the unheralded Blue Raiders.
It was the eighth time a No. 15 seed had won, but this was arguably the tournament's biggest upset in history. It certainly was for Izzo.
"I can't ever remember one that hurts as bad as this," he said. "I'll get over it, I'm a big boy. But it ain't going to happen today or tomorrow."
By the time No. 14 Stephen F. Austin upset No. 3 West Virginia with a surprisingly easy 70-56 win in the East, brackets were being tossed into wastebaskets all over the country.
Parity was the theme in college basketball this season, and by the end of the first round teams seeded second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth had all lost.
If nothing else, plenty of intrigue should remain. There should be several competitive and interesting games over the weekend. Kentucky and Indiana meet in a battle of No. 4 and No. 5 in the East. In the West, Yale, an upset winner over No. 5
Meanwhile, the Pac-12 looks to its survivors, Oregon and Utah.