Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – MARCH 15: Drew Neitzel #11 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after making a basket in the first half against the Marquette Golden Eagles during round one of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 15, 2007 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
It’s NCAA tournament time and once again the Getty Images photographers and editors are spread out all over the country covering the opening round games. With eight locations for the 1st and 2nd round of the tournament this opening weekend is a great opportunity to make some great pictures.
One of the major differences between the college game and the NBA variety is the emotion shown out on the court by the players and our photographers do a great job every year capturing it.
Our day begins as photographer Streeter Lecka and I step into the arena here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television personalities like Jay Bilas and Bob Ryan are talking about this opening round location having the best set of teams and match-ups. With two trendy Final Four picks in Georgetown and North Carolina playing here today, plus power-programs like Texas Tech, Michigan State, Boston College and Marquette, their stands a good chance some upsets could be made out here on Tobacco Road.
However, by the end of the first night, the games (not the pictures) were a complete let-down with the favorites winning all four games by a margin of victory of 16.5 per game.
As anti-climatic as the games in Winston-Salem have been, the biggest story for the people here happened at an arena 600 miles away. Inside the media room, people gathered to watch the Duke Blue Devils upset by Virginia Commonwealth. Being in ACC country and having the Dukies biggest rival UNC in the house, the media room focused on the Duke game for the majority of its second half. Even the fans in the stands were anxiously waiting for the end of the Michigan State-Boston College blow-out so they could watch the end of the Duke-VCU game on the Jumbotron. Loud cheers erupted from the typically quiet media room as VCU’s upset was in the books preventing Duke from reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time in 10 years. The UNC faithful couldn’t have had a better day with the Tar Heels winning and the Blue Devils losing.
All-in-all we made some nice pictures here today but the lack of a buzzer beater, upset or even a tight game shifted the focus elsewhere. We still have two games left here on Saturday – Georgetown-Boston College and Michigan State-North Carolina – so hopefully those games will be more exciting.