The first round of the NCAA Tournament has come to a close, and it was a wild one. A record 10 double-digit seeds won their first round game, including a No. 15 seed, a No. 14 seed, a No. 13 seed, two No. 12 seeds, three No. 11 seeds and two No. 10 seeds.
We’ve also have five buzzer-beaters, a pair of overtime games, the national title favorite lose in their opener and the wildest three-minute stretch in the history of the event. Let’s recap it shall we?
(You can get caught up on Day 1 here.)
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 15 Middle Tennessee State 90, No. 2 Michigan State 81
The Blue Raiders landed what may be the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon, as they put a thorough whooping on the Spartans, who just couldn’t seem to get a big stop and a big bucket on back-to-back possessions. So Denzel Valentine’s career comes to an end.
As far as the biggest upset talk is concerned, I explain here how this was the first time that one of the National Title favorites lost in the first round.
BUZZER-BEATER OF THE DAY: Paul Jesperson, Northern Iowa
So I’m not quite sure that this is the best buzzer-beater in the history of the NCAA tournament — as far as I’m concerned, nothing will ever top Christian Laettner’s shot to beat Kentucky — but can you ever think of a kid hitting a shot from beyond half-court to win or force overtime in a game in the Big Dance? Because that’s precisely what Jesperson did here.
THIS ONE WAS GOOD, TOO: Cincinnati almost beats the buzzer
The dust hadn’t even settled after UNI’s win when these shenanigans went down. Within three minutes of real time after Jesperson hit that half-court game-winner, Isaiah Miles had hit a three with 10 seconds left to give No. 8 Saint Joseph’s a 78-76 lead on No. 9 Cincinnati, the Bearcats had gone the length of the court for a dunk that tied the game and the officials waived the dunk off because it came a split-second after the final horn.
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BUT WAS THIS ONE A FOUL?: Adam Woodbury got away with one
Iowa very nearly Iowa’d all over themselves in the Barclays Center, fouling a three-point shooter with 2.1 seconds left while up by three points. But they made it to overtime, where Woodbury may or may not have committed a foul while battling for position for an offensive rebound. You make the call.
THEY WERE UPSET
- No. 3 West Virginia got picked off by No. 14 Stephen F. Austin on Friday night, as the Mountaineers couldn’t handle SFA’s pressure or their star power.
- No. 13 Hawaii won their first-ever NCAA tournament game as they knocked off No. 4 seed Cal. Quincy Smith led the way for the Rainbows with 19 points.
BUT SOME FAVORITES WON, TOO
- V.J. Beachem was 7-for-7 from the floor and hit three critical threes down the stretch as No. 6 Notre Dame erased a 12-point halftime deficit to beat No. 11 Michigan.
- Chris Boucher scored 20 points in 17 minutes as No. 1 Oregon steamrolled No. 16 Holy Cross.
- It took a while for them to get rolling, but eventually No. 2 Villanova put away No. 15 UNC Asheville. The Wildcats got 17 points, 10 boards, four assists and three blocks from Daniel Ochefu, who had been dealing with an ankle injury.
- No. 3 Texas A&M was never really pushed by Green Bay in a 92-65 win.
- Jake Layman went for 27 points as No. 5 Maryland tried their damnedest but couldn’t quite give away a 16-point lead to South Dakota State.
- Buddy Hield went for 27 points on 14 shots — including a number of key, momentum-swinging jumpers — that led No. 2 Oklahoma past No. 15 Cal State Bakersfield.
- Gotta give the kid credit: JeQuan Lewis had 21 points, eight assist and seven boards in No. 10 VCU’s win over No. 7 Oregon State.
- Thomas Walkup, man. He had 33 points in SFA’s win.
- James Farr’s 18 points and 15 boards spurred No. 2 Xavier to a win over No. 15 Weber State.
- Jaylen Brown’s line for Cal: 17 minutes, five fouls, seven turnovers, four points on 1-for-6 shooting. That’s not good.
- Kendall Pollard and Dyshawn Pierre combined for just 10 points as No. 7 Dayton fell to No. 10 Syracuse.
- Pitt and Wisconsin. The No. 7 Badgers won, but the final score was 47-43. We all actually lost.