With exception of Dayton, upset-lovers were losers on Day 2 of tourney

Hey, 2015 NCAA tournament — snap out of it.

We watch you for the upsets, and you gave us two biggies just four games into this thing Thursday, with No. 14 seeds Georgia State and UAB toppling Baylor and Iowa State, respectively. But until 11th seed Dayton beat sixth seed Providence in the very last game Friday, higher-seeded teams had won 23 straight games spanning roughly 30 hours. The entire Midwest region went to chalk.


Mind you, we’ve had no shortage of last-second finishes both Thursday night and Friday. The problem is, they’ve been anticlimactic. The underdogs can’t seem to finish the deal. Heck, some of them haven’t even been able to get off a shot.

For instance, No. 13 seed UC Irvine took fourth seed Louisville right to the wire Friday. If anyone should make for a surefire Cinderella it’s a team with a 7-foot-6 center (Mamadou Ndiaye, who is great) and the nickname Anteaters. The game stayed so close for so long it had fans everywhere taking to Google to figure out what exactly is an Anteater?

UC Irvine had the ball, down two, with nine seconds left. Would it drive for the tie or go for the game-winning three? Neither, it turned out. Louisville, which had fouls to give, tried to stop the clock, but officials didn’t call anything. That must have fazed the Anteaters’ Alex Young, because he promptly turned it over. Louisville survived 57-55.

Just a bit later, fellow No. 13 seed Valparaiso had a chance to at least take No. 4 seed Maryland to overtime, grabbing a defensive rebound down three with 33 seconds left. The first ominous sign came when Valpo showed no urgency, choosing instead to play for a last-second three. After a timeout from coach Bryce Drew — who knows a little something about dramatic endings — the Crusaders worked the ball around to Keith Carter in the corner. He had a look, but, apparently expecting a foul call on Evan Smotrycz’s reach, instead turned the ball over.


Maryland 65, Valparaiso 62.

Those two endings were emblematic of exactly what drives people bonkers about college basketball these days. It’s just so sloppy. March Madness is so popular as to rise above all the this-sport-is-broken-and-needs-to-be fixed stories. Thursday’s games drew the highest overnight TV rating (6.9) since 1991. People love brackets, Cinderellas and gambling (not necessarily in that order).

But college basketball’s disturbing scoring trends have been on full display so far this tourney. Much was made of Thursday’s record-breaking five one-point games, unquestionably exciting. Going largely unnoticed, however, was that the highest score of the five, achieved twice, was 66-65. Nearly half of the round of 64 games saw at least one of the two teams fail to get out of the 50s.

All will be forgotten, though, as soon as the next R.J. Hunter drains a game-winning 3-pointer. Feel free to get right on that, 2015 tournament. Chalk is for teachers, not tournaments.