NCAA Tournament Day 1 Live Blog: Clemson-UAB Tip Off in First Day’s Nightcap


March 15, 2011

NCAA Tournament Day 1 Live Blog: Clemson-UAB Tip Off in First Day's Nightcap 10:50 p.m.: UAB should feel thankful that they head to recess down by only 12.

Relatively speaking, they weathered the storm somewhat after giving up a huge run in the first half.

It’s pretty remarkable when you look at and compare the two games played on Tuesday night. As bad as UAB is getting beaten, does anyone question whether or not they’d beat Arkansas-Little Rock or UNC-Asheville.

It makes you wonder why ever year the NCAA selection committee says they just wanted to get the 68 (64 or 65 in the past) teams in the tournament. If they just wanted to do that, teams that go 7-9 in the Sun Belt, and get hot for one week, would not be dancing.

10:15 p.m.: Clemson’s Bryan Narcisse is giving us a true blast from the past with his eyewear. If you haven’t seen them, you need to check them out.

Horace Grant approves.

10 p.m.: Know who has the most riding on this game tonight? The NCAA selection committee. Well, this game and tomorrow night’s USC-VCU game.

If Clemson blows out UAB (which I think they will — for what that’s worth), the committee will look even worse for keeping out teams like Colorado, Virginia Tech, BC and even Harvard.

To say people were left scratching their heads upon the announcement of UAB and VCU would be an understatement.

9:30 p.m.: Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm come up big when UNC-Asheville need them most, and the Bulldogs somehow pull off the opening-round win.

Dickey got it to overtime with a late game-tying shot, and Primm had a strong overtime including the game-clinching steal late in the contest.

Now, they move on to face Pitt on Thursday.

Good luck.

8:57 p.m.: Matt Dickey continues to impress. He just hit an extremely difficult 3-pointer from the corner, with a hand in his face for the first “Wow” moment of the tournament. Not sure that was one of the prop bets on Bodog, however.

Alas, UNC-Asheville has tied it up with 10.5 seconds to play.

8:40 p.m.: Matt Dickey saves his best for late. He’s taking over in the second half, and his 3-point play gets UNC-Asheville within two.

If you aren’t familiar with Hickey’s work, click here, and check out his buzzer beater from last month. Unreal.

7:35 p.m.: Arkansas Little-Rock led for much of the first half in the tournament opener, but UNC-Asheville closed strong to make it a game.

Play of the game so far belongs to Alex Garcia-Mendoza who just got smoked driving hard to the lane before finishing a lay-up with 1.5 seconds to play. Little-Rock up 37-33.

Now, on to more important matters like the president’s Final Four picks. The New York Times’ Brett McMuprhy just tweeted Barack Obama’s picks, and he is living life dangerously going with all four No. 1 seeds — Kansas, Duke, Pitt and Ohio State — going to Houston. 

Diplomacy at its finest.

7:27 p.m.: While Solomon Bozeman continues to have a nice game for Little Rock, the biggest news in college basketball at this moment may have come from Mike Krzyzewski’s news conference.

According to multiple outlets, the Duke head coach announced that “there is a chance” that freshman point guard Kyrie Irving could return for the team’s opener.

Duke takes on Hampton in the first round, but if they can get Irving back at any point in the tournament, he could be a real game-changer.

7:10 p.m.: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is in the house at UD Arena.

Since it’s a college game, though, shouldn’t we call him Lew Alcindor?

7 p.m.: Clark Kellogg mentioned early on in the truTV broadcast (Yes, the same truTV that airs a show called Hardcore Pawn) that Little Rock would want to slow things down and execute in the halfcourt. Conversely, UNC-Asheville wants to run.

Little-Rock is dominating in the halfcourt, scoring seemingly on every possession. That, of course, is halting any thoughts of a track meet for Asheville.

Add it all up, and you’ve got yourself an early 21-12 lead for Arkansas-Little Rock.

6:50 p.m.: Pitt isn’t likely sitting around worried about taking on one of these teams on Thursday, but they definitely have an eye on Dayton. If they do, they’re impressed right now with Arkansas Little-Rock.

The Trojans have come out like a house of fire, jumping out to an early 10-4 lead.

UNC-Asheville forward John Williams said of playing in the big dance, “I don’t think we will be nervous, but I feel like it’s going to be like a game at Carolina, and we’ll be used to the intensity of that atmosphere.”

So, you know, they’re not nervous. After all, they only fell to Carolina by 11 back in November.

6 p.m.: Just about a half-hour from tipping off the 2011 NCAA tournament — sort of.

Here’s a little perspective on the play-in game, at least how it’s pertained to 16-seeds in the past.

In 2006, Monmouth defeated Hampton in Dayton. A couple of days later, they squared off with Villanova, falling 58-45. That 13-point deficit signified the closest a winner from the play-in game has ever come to winning.

The largest defeat for a play-in winner? The very next year when Kansas rolled over Niagara by a score of 107-67.

Whoever wins tonight’s opener will definitely be facing an uphill battle when they take on Pitt, but hey, they’re in the dance, and no one can take that from them.

12 p.m.: March Madness’ opening act is taking center stage as a pair of play-in games hit the hardwood on Tuesday night.

At 6:40 p.m. ET, UNC Asheville will take on UALR before UAB takes on Clemson at 9:10 p.m. Both games will be held in Dayton and Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr will offer commentary.

Click here for a complete schedule and here for a printable bracket.

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