This tournament it already shaping up to be one of the wildest ever. One team was having none of it though.
Kentucky actually trailed 10-9 early, but the Wildcats went on a tear and thoroughly blew out ETSU 100-71. UK was up by 20 just 12 minutes into the game, and it would keep the lead between 25 and 30 for most of the rest of the game. Eric Bledsoe led all scorers with 29, Patrick Patterson had 22, and John Wall registered 17 points and 11 assists. On a night when even Kansas had its early troubles with Lehigh, Kentucky provided a spot of stability in a field of 64 already in flux.
Capping off the day, Tennessee fought off a plucky San Diego State squad to the tune of 62-59. It was a nice 50th birthday present for Bruce Pearl, if a little nerve wracking. UT led for most of the game, though it was never able to push the margin into double digits. That nearly came back to bite the Vols as the contest went down to the final seconds. A clutch pair of Wayne Chism free throws with eight second left pushed the lead to three, and SDSU missed a trey as time expired.
Melvin Goins was the surprise player of the game, coming off the bench to score a career high 15 points. J.P. Prince also had 15 for Big Orange, while Chism and Bobby Maze had 11 apiece. Tennessee now faces Ohio in the second round, instead of the expected matchup with Georgetown. Seeing as how it'd be next to impossible for the Bobcats to repeat their shooting performance from last night, I like UT's chances.