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UK, VU Advance; Remaining SEC Teams Start Tourney Runs Today

Day One of the NCAA Tournament — sorry, we don’t count those ridiculous play-in games — was a dud if you’re a fan of upsets and true March Madness.  But if you’re a fan of higher seeds like Kentucky and Vanderbilt, it was just fine.

The Commodores toppled Harvard 79-70 and wrapped up their first tourney win since 2007.  The victory snapped a streak of three first-game losses for Kevin Stallings.

John Jenkins poured in 27 points as Vandy built a double-digit lead.  When the Crimson — who were no doubt jinxed by wearing black instead of their actual school color — cut the lead to 70-65, VU got tough on the defensive end and pulled away at the charity stripe.

The #5 seed Dores will next face #4 Wisconsin tomorrow in Albuquerque at 6:10pm ET on TNT.

Kentucky — the tournament’s overall #1 seed — dispatched cross-state rival Western Kentucky with ease, 81-66 in Louisville.  UK shot 61.5% in the first half and coasted — almost literally — to the finish line. 

The Cats allowed the Hilltoppers to close the game on a 16-1 run.  Whether that’s a bad sign or meaningless garbage time sloppiness depends on the beholder.

On Saturday, the Wildcats will face #8 seed Iowa State who knocked off defending champ UConn and blocked another John Calipari-Jim Calhoun bout.  The Cats and Cyclones will tip at 7:45pm ET on CBS.

Today’s SEC action tips off at 1:40pm ET on TBS as #9 seed Alabama tangles with #8 seed Creighton in Greensboro.  Anthony Grant’s athletic, defense-first squad should be tested mightily by the Blue Jay’s high-scoring, up-tempo style.

At 2:10pm ET on TNT, #7 Florida will try to kickstart its frontcourt game when it faces #10 Virginia in Omaha.  Experience could play a role as the Gators make their third-straight NCAA tourney appearance while the Cavaliers are going dancing for the first time since 2007.

Earlier this week we took a stats-based look at each SEC squad’s path to the Sweet Sixteen.  We had Vandy and Kentucky advancing, Florida and Bama coming up short.  So far, so good.

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NCAA Tourney Coverage Will Be Bigger, Better… According To Those Doing The Broadcasts

There was a time — back when I was working for The Man — when I would use two of my vacation days each year on the opening Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament.  To me, there’s nothing better event-wise than March Madness.  So on paper, what I’m about to share with you looks pretty good.  On paper.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports announced their plans for NCAA tourney coverage today and a few of the main points are listed below:

* Every game of the tournament will be broadcast nationally.  This is a first.  If you’ve got cable or satellite television in your home, you can see every game on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV.  No longer will you have to worry about your local CBS affiliate showing a game that you don’t want to see.

* The start times for games will be more staggered than in years past.  Fans will literally be able to watch tourney action from noon to midnight without the usual 6-7:30pm break in the action.

* CBS will carry 26 games including the Final Four.  TBS will carry 16 games, TNT 12, and TruTV will air 13 including the First Four play-in games, which debut this year.

Again, all that looks good on paper.  Whether or not basketball fans take to the new broadcast format — and the new broadcast teams — remains to be seen.

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TNT has John Wall’s NBA debut tonight

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

TNT will have John Wall’s NBA debut tonight when the Washington Wizards open the year in Orlando against the Magic.

Tipoff is 8 p.m.


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