In theory, the teams in the NCAA tournament who get to play the winner of play-in games have things pretty easy. They have a team who just traveled from Dayton, Ohio, with not much time to rest on the heels of playing a game to save a season.
It should be easy for those No. 1 seeds to just roll over the speed bump that is presented to them when the better of two 16-seeds comes calling. Usually, that’s the case. But not always.
More often than not, the big guns of college basketball are able to roll through the play-in winners. In 2007, No. 1 seed, Kansas, wiped the floor with Niagara, to the tune of a 107-67 rout. Then, the following year, North Carolina got a good practice in while drubbing Mount St. Mary’s by 39.
It’s not always easy. In fact, since the play-in game was introduced, there have been three games between the play-in winner and a No. 1 seed that was settled by less than 20 points. It may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but when you consider the great disparity in talent between the teams, it’s kind of impressive.
In 2006, one team even gave a No. 1 seed a scare, cutting the lead to 10 in the second half, before falling off en route to a 13-point, 58-45 loss.
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