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Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  March 21, 2009 01:05 PM

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I'm getting hammered.

I'm 22-10 after the first round of the NCAA tournament and five of my predicted Sweet 16s are gone before we even get to the second round. So long, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler and Temple.

I could have done just as well simply sticking exclusively with higher seeds. Had you done that, you'd be 22-10, too.

It turns out Dayton was a very good place to be Friday. Both 8-9 games were played out the way 8-9 games should be. No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Tennessee went through 18 lead changes and 12 ties, exchanging the lead dramatically with matching baskets by Tennessee's Tyler Smith and Oklahoma State's Byron Eaton in the final 24 seconds. The biggest spread in this entertaining game was 7, a 32-25 Tennessee first-half advantage.

Siena-Ohio State was another excellent game. The Saints from Loudonville, N.Y. managed to win this in double OT (game ending at 12:22, EDT) despite shooting an abysmal 33 percent (24-72). Of course, it does help if you get 23 offensive rebounds against your Big 10 foe.

About halfway through the second half I decided I was rooting for Siena, simply because I wanted to see them play again on Sunday rather than the Buckeyes. But I must say that Ohio State's 6-foot-7-inch sophomore Evan Turner was the best player on the floor (25-9-8), and I would have a hard time imagining there being a better player in the Big 10.

I was also rooting for Siena via the David-Goliath method. I was much more drawn to the band led by a student than I was to a band twice as large being led by a maestro with a baton. These are factors one never encounters in the NBA, and I say that with all due respect.

I was rewarded for my new allegiance to the Saints when guard Ronald Moore, one of those kids who force all big men to pay attention at all times if they don't want a broken nose or something, first hit a transition three with 3.9 seconds left to force a second OT and then hit another three with 3.5 seconds remaining in the second OT to win it.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta was screaming for someone to foul the kid before he tied the game up the first time, but I'd like to see this again on tape because I'm not sure anyone could even catch up to him, let alone foul him.

The two 1-16s also had interest. Let this be well understood: No. 16 East Tennessee should be feeling absolutely awful today, because THEY SHOULD HAVE WON THE GAME. All they had to do was make one or two of the 117 lay-ups they missed. Pitt was ready to go down. Levance Fields has no explosion at the present time.

Louisville was in trouble at the half against No. 16 Morehead State because Morehead was having an out-of-body experience (leading, 35-33) . Nature took its proper course in the second half.

But let the record show that Morehead State center Kenneth Faried is a legit player I could easily project into the next level. And that's why I love this tournament. How else would I get to see a kid like Kenneth Faried play?

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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