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NCAA Tournament 2016 – Day One – Experience Counts

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Recaps for every game are all over the internet and to be honest, most of us lived those moments as they happened either by radio, tv or streaming over the web, silently cheering in our cubicles as our team (or our bets) won or lost.

Kansas (1), North Carolina (1), Virginia (1), Miami (3), Kentucky(4), Indiana(5), Wichita State(11), Duke(4), Gonzaga (12) and Connecticut(9) all notched wins on day one of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

 

What do all of these teams have in common?  They have a team or a coach not just with experience in March but success in March.  Most of these teams were higher seeds that were supposed to win, Wichita State, Connecticut and Gonzaga however, were seeds that pulled upsets (although admittedly UConn was the 9 who beat an 8).

Wichita State and Gregg Marshall beat a good Arizona team handily after winning the First Four play-in  game, destroying Vanderbilt on Tuesday.  While we could contest that it was a battle of experience because Sean Miller was on the opposite bench, Marshall is an experienced coach in the tournament with a lot of recent success.  Maybe more importantly Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet have had a lot of success in the tournament as well.  As they dismantled Arizona it was obvious that the combination of Van Vleet and Baker, along with the high pick-and-roll game plan from Marshall, was a winner, and there wasn’t much the six-seeded Wildcats could do about it.

Connecticut upended Colorado in the 8-9 game.  Why anyone would pick against Kevin Ollie and UConn based on their ability to win games in March is beyond me.  Ollie and the Huskies weren’t nearly as convincing as the Shockers but still won, and the motto in March for every team is “survive and advance”.

In the night cap Gonzaga and Mark Few were able to win convincingly and beat fifth-seeded Seton Hall.  Gonzaga has one at least one game in the tournament for the last seven years and Mark Few has the highest winning percentage among active coaches, that’s a lethal combination.  Add in that fact that they have the best true big man and one of the best players in the country in Domantas Sabonis and the combination is lethal.

If you are picking winners still, bet on experience because it is unlikely that Friday’s results will refute what Thursday confirmed.

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