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The Greatest Moments in the history of the NCAA Tournament first round

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Look at the time stamp on this post.

12:15 p.m.

On Thursday, March 19th.

This is the precise moment that the 2020 NCAA Tournament — the real tournament, not that First Four nonsense — was supposed to start.

So to honor that moment properly, here are 16 of my favorite first round moments from the NCAA tournament. Please share your favorite in the comments below or tweet at us with the video.

TAMPA, FLORIDA, IN 2008

Without question, the greatest first round site in the history of the NCAA tournament was the Tampa pod in the 2008 big dance.

Friday, March 22nd, 2008 at the St. Pete Forum will go down as perhaps the Maddest day of all the Madness.

That’s because there were four double-digit seeds landing upset wins. Two games went into overtime. Two games were won on buzzer beaters.

It just does not get any better than that.

It started with perhaps the best shot of the day, as Ty Rogers hit a three at the overtime buzzer to beat 5-seed Drake, 101-99, with a play that will remind many of the Kris Jenkins shot to beat North Carolina:

Of course, that was followed up by 13-seed San Diego pulling off an upset with a game-winner with 1.2 seconds left against 4-seed UConn:

That was followed up by 13-seed Siena beating Vanderbilt by 21 points in the third game of the day before 12-seed Villanova upset 5-seed Clemson, 75-69, in the last game of the evening.

And that may actually be the wildest part of the entire day.

As a 12-seed, Villanova upset 5-seed Clemson.

I know, completely unbelievable, right?

RJ HUNTER SENDS HIS DAD FLYING

The context of this incident is important.

Ron Hunter, then the Georgia State head coach, tore his achilles celebrating the 2015 Atlantic Sun tournament championship because that’s the kind of coach that he is. So when his 14th-seeded Panthers took on Baylor in the first round of the tournament, Ron was rolling around on a scooter and sitting on a stool.

Fast forward 39 minutes and 44.9 seconds, and Kenny Cherry missed a free throw that would have put Baylor up by three. Instead, R.J. Hunter – Ron’s son and a future first round pick – gets the rebound, and this happens:

Just incredible.

The sneaky hilarious part about this is the announcer. “They gotta push this to the basket guys, take this to the basket. What are they doing?”

Oh, just winning the game.

NBD.

STEVE MERFELD GETS A LIFT

One of the iconic March Madness moments.

15-seed Hampton was leading Jamaal Tinsley and Iowa State at the half, but a second half run put the Cyclones up 55-44 with under five minutes left. But the Pirates were going away, and Tarvis Williams capped off a 14-2 finish to the game with a bucket in the lane with a very nice 6.9 seconds left on the clock. After Tinsley missed a layup at the other end of the floor, Hampton advanced, becoming just the fourth 15-seed to win a game in the NCAA tournament.

During the celebration, this happened:

I remember watching that play happen live, and thinking that moment was the best moment in the history of sports.

The image of Merfeld punching and kicking the air while lifted four feet off the ground by a player almost twice his size will forever be etched into my mind.

But that wasn’t the wildest 15-over-2 upset we’ve seen.

DUNK CITY IS BORN

Florida-Gulf Coast, a tiny school in Ft. Myers, Florida, has only been in existence since 1991. Their basketball team has only been a thing since 2002. And yet, in 2013, under the tutelage of now-USC head coach Andy Enfield, the Eagles went on what may be the greatest cinderella run in the history of college basketball.

FGCU became the first 15-seed to make it to the Sweet 16, and they did so in incredible fashion. They didn’t needed a fluky buzzer-beater or a couple of lucky bounces to win. They quite literally dunked on, around and over Georgetown (and San Diego State) en route to the second weekend:

They were the better team both days, no questions asked.

And the result was this: A nickname we created. You’re welcome for that.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE KNOCKS OFF FAVORITE, MICHIGAN STATE

Perhaps the biggest 15-over-2 upset in tournament history came in 2016, when Kermit Davis and Middle Tennessee State stunned Michigan State in the first round.

A couple of qualifiers here: For starters, Middle Tennessee State was a really, really good mid-major program, one that did battle with high-majors before and after this upset win. They probably didn’t deserve to be on the No. 15-seed line in this bracket. They were better than that.

But Michigan State entered this game as the favorite to win the title. They had the co-National Player of the Year on their roster in Denzel Valentine. They would have been a No. 1-seed if they had not dealt with some injuries — including to Valentine — during the season. You know how there is always one team that the majority of the talking heads pick to win the title as soon as the bracket is officially announced? Michigan State was that team in 2016.

And Middle Tennessee State kicked their behinds:

KYLE O’QUINN O’VERWHELMS MISSOURI

Another first round stunner came during the 2012 NCAA Tournament, when 15-seed Norfolk State knocked off Missouri.

Perhaps the wildest part about this win is that the best pro on the floor turned out to be a player from Norfolk State.

Missouri was one of the most entertaining teams in the country to watch this season. They played four sharp-shooting guards around Ricardo Ratliffe and let it fly. They scored in bunches, but they were always susceptible to a bruiser in the paint and an off-night. Enter Kyle O’Quinn, a 6-foot-10 New Yorker that ended up at Norfolk State before become a second round pick in 2012. He’s still playing in the NBA today.

He had 25 points and 12 boards in the win, including what proved to be the game-winning bucket:

THAT WASN’T THE ONLY 15-SEED TO WIN THAT DAY

In the very next session of games, 15-seed Lehigh and future top ten pick C.J. McCollum went out and upset a Duke team that featured a couple of Plumlees, Austin Rivers and Seth Curry, which made for one of the wildest and most unforgettable days of NCAA tournament basketball every.

Think about how many brackets were blown up when this happened:

That’s not even my favorite Duke first round loss, by the way.

The 2014 loss to 14-seed Mercer is, mostly because this white boy got to show off his moves:

With the benefit of hindsight, I think even Duke fans can agree that is just the absolute best.

I’D BE REMISS IF I DIDN’T MENTION THE BIGGEST UPSET EVER

UMBC picking off No. 1-seed Virginia.

That story has been beaten to death at this point.

And it also happened to turn into the greatest turnaround in the history of sports.

Virginia, if you have forgotten, won the national title the very next season.

So how about you just watch this video on how and why everything changed:

CHRIS MCNAUGHTON SENDS KANSAS PACKING

It sounds weird to think about now, after seeing Kansas win a national title, 14 straight Big 12 titles and get to a trio of Final Fours, but early in Self’s tenure in Lawrence, there were questions about whether or not he was a good enough coach to win the big one.

Part of the reason that was part of the narrative of his career was because of games like this, where the 3-seed Jayhawks lost to Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

WHAT IF N.C. STATE LOST TO PEPPERDINE?

Jim Valvano is a legend in the sport of college basketball.

Part of it is because of his personality, part of it is because of the grace and dignity that he handled his fight with cancer and part of it is because of the way that Dick Vitale has chosen to dedicate his life to honoring Jimmy V and fighting against cancer.

The Jimmy V Classic. Jimmy V week. The speech. There isn’t a college basketball fan that doesn’t love him.

But one of the biggest reasons that he is a name that is important enough to honor that way is because he won the 1983 NCAA Tournament with N.C. State as a No. 6 seed on a buzzer-beating tip-in from Lorenzo Charles. Everyone remembers that game and that highlight.

What they may not remember is that the Wolfpack were taken to double-overtime by Pepperdine in the first round, and they needed to rally in regulation and the first extra frame just to have a chance to win at the end.

This is one of college basketball’s great ‘what ifs?’

THE SHOW

For my money, Harold Arceneaux will forever be the name etched in my mind as the greatest underdog performer in NCAA tournament history.

‘The Show’ scored 36 points in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament, leading 14-seed Weber State to a win over 3-seed North Carolina.

 

THE BUZZER BEATER PORTION OF THE PROGRAMMING

This is hardly a complete and definitive list of the best buzzer beaters from the first round of the NCAA tournament, but it is a few of my absolute favorites.

Let’s start with the classic: Bryce Drew and Valpo beating Ole Miss by going the length of the court in 2.5 seconds:

Or what about when Northwestern State beat Iowa and the announcers didn’t know who hit the game-winning shot?

Or Drew Nicolas beating UNC Wilmington before disappearing down the tunnel?

Since we’re talking about UNC Wilmington, how about this dunk?

But I think easily the wildest, craziest, maddest end to a first round NCAA tournament game came in 2016, when Northern Iowa and Texas did this:

Duke’s Justin Robinson discusses lost season, becoming a leader

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Justin Robinson was starting to figure things out.

The Duke senior forward saw his role increase as the postseason approached. Against rival North Carolina, Robinson made key plays on both ends of the floor. Robinson finished with 13 points, six rebounds, four blocks and three assists in 25 minutes. The ACC tournament was next on the schedule for Duke.

Then, the college basketball season was cut short. Robinson and his Duke teammates were among a large group of teams with seasons that would never get completed.

Robinson sat down with his brother Corey to discuss how he and his teammates handled season being canceled, his favorite tournament memories and how he grew into his role with the Blue Devils.

Report: MSU basketball player accused of sexual assault

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a Michigan State basketball player is asking the Michigan attorney general’s office to investigate, according to a published report.

ESPN, citing a police report and emails obtained through a public records request, reported that Michigan State University police told prosecutors they had probable cause that sophomore guard Brock Washington raped the woman on Jan. 19 while she was too intoxicated to consent. Police referred the case to county prosecutors, who declined to file charges this month.

An MSU police spokesman said that the attorney general’s office requested the case file and the department was cooperating.

After a loss at Indiana on Jan. 23, coach Tom Izzo told reporters that Washington had been suspended. He did not elaborate.

Washington did not play again this season. He played a total of 19 minutes this season before the suspension.

A team spokesman did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday. The AP also left messages with the MSU police.

ESPN said it attempted to reach Washington and his current attorney. A previous attorney, Peter Samouris, said he wasn’t familiar with this case but that he spoke with Washington and Washington’s father last week.

“It’s my understanding he’s not going to be charged, and he doesn’t wish to speak,” Samouris told ESPN. “He’s maintained his innocence 100% of the time.”

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon said in a statement to ESPN that she did not charge Washington because the case “does not meet the burden of proof that we must present to a jury.”

The woman told ESPN she met with an assistant prosecutor earlier this month and was told that she had been “too intoxicated to prove that it (sexual contact) was forced.”

“That was the whole point of the charge, that I was too drunk to consent to what happened,” the woman said. “The prosecutor failed me completely.”

The woman told ESPN she requested that the AG’s office investigate her case.

ESPN, citing police records and an unidentified source, said Washington pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2018 – under a provision allowing offenders to plead guilty without a court entering a judgment of conviction. A female student reported that Washington forcibly groped her on Aug. 29, 2017, according to ESPN.

Michigan State has been at the center of several high-profile sexual assault claims in recent years. The school was rocked by the sexual abuse scandal involving sports doctor Larry Nassar, and several basketball and football players have been accused of misconduct as well.

More AP college basketball:

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NBA draft process remains uncertain for college stars

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Uncertainty in the NBA draft process means a chaotic next few months for college basketball’s stars.

The COVID-19 outbreak stalled the NBA season. The future of the regular season hasn’t been determined. The postseason with it. The 2020 NBA Draft still remains a complete mystery.

Through it all, college basketball’s best players have deadlines for pro decisions coming up. Changing times have made for a more difficult NBA draft process than normal. It also might have ramifications for future college eligibility for certain players.

Before the 2019 NBA Draft process, the NCAA revised its former policy. Student-athletes could sign agents and retain college eligibility last summer. That process helped players like Kansas’ Devon Dotson and Louisville’s Jordan Nwora test the 2019 NBA Draft waters before returning to school this season.

The sport’s top agents largely ignored the new NCAA certification process for 2020. Only 23 agents have even been certified so far. As noted by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, that list of NCAA-approved agents don’t come from bigger firms. So college players have been given a small group of agents to help them navigate the process. At least if they wish to keep college open as an option.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony also noted that many agents are more focused on their current NBA players and the surrounding chaos in the NBA than they are 2020 draft prospects.

Of course, prospects can also risk navigating the NBA draft process alone. An agent, even from a “smaller” firm, has NBA connections. Agents help give feedback to potential clients who test the waters. A player going through the process alone doesn’t get that benefit. With limited NCAA-approved agents, some players could opt to do things themselves the next several months.

Top players who intend to stay in the draft will still sign with the sport’s top agents. That part will stay the same. But during a unique draft process, players being limited to only 23 agents to retain eligibility is not what the NCAA should be looking for. Workouts have practically been eliminated. The draft might be pushed back. And the NCAA isn’t helping its own student-athletes by placing so many restrictions that limit returning eligibility.

Tarleton State’s decision to hire Billy Gillispie is shameful

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Billy Gillispie is the new head coach at Tarleton State.

But the truth is that Billy Gillispie, the former UTEP, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Kentucky coach, should never again be allowed to coach basketball at any level, which is what makes Tarleton State’s decision to hire him to lead the program into the Division I ranks next season all the more shameful.

He’s abusive, he’s manipulative, he treats the people in his program horrifically and you can never be quite sure when his next drunk driving arrest is going to happen. He’s had at least three since his coaching career began. When he was the head coach at the University of Kentucky, he had a driver because the school could not trust that he would not get behind the wheel while hammered. Case in point: exactly five months after Kentucky fired him — when he no longer had a driver supplied to him by the school — he was pulled over at 2:47 a.m. in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for DUI. He plead guilty two months later despite refusing a breathalyzer.

Every stop that he has been along the way, there are stories about the way that he treats players, his assistant coaches and the people he interacts with around the program every day. There was the time at Kentucky he made Josh Harrellson sit in a bathroom stall during halftime because he was “playing like s***,” or the time he made Harrellson ride home from a road game in a van with the team managers. There was the time at Texas A&M that he made a player break up with the girl he was dating — a booster’s daughter — on the charter flight home from a game, in front of the girl’s family.

Then there was Texas Tech.

As Jeff Goodman, then of CBS Sports, reported at the time, Gillispie’s treatment of the players was just horrific. He had his team practicing for four hours a day — including one day where they went for eight hours — just obliterating the NCAA’s limit of 20 hours per week. It left one player on the team with stress fractures in both legs that he was forced to play through. He lied to players about scholarship offers, stringing them along until he had someone better to give the scholarship to. He did the same thing with coaches trying to get a spot on his coaching staff. According to Goodman’s reporting at the time, former Indiana guard Tom Coverdale quit his job as a Junior College coach to be an assistant on Gillispie’s staff only to get to Lubbock and be told that he was going to be an assistant strength coach that paid half as much. He would force everyone with the program — including radio and TV broadcasters — participate in layup lines at the start of practice. Anyone that missed a shot at to run the stadium stairs.

“It was mental warfare,” said a source that has worked with Gillispie in the past. “Everyone had to have a clear understanding. He was the ruler. He has a major complex with making sure everyone knows he’s in charge. For no reason, just to flex. Meeting at all times of the night, meeting on Christmas Eve, just to see if anyone says, ‘can’t coach, wife said no.’ Then he’d overcompensate with gifts for the family, for the kids.”

Like any abusive relationship, he breaks down people he has control over, builds them back up by showering them with compliments and promises that it will never happen again only to repeat the process all over.

And then there was the incident with Chris Beard.

Fed up with the way that he treated people in the program — as many as 30 people left Texas Tech, from players to secretaries, in the 18 months that Gillispie was in charge — Beard confronted Gillispie about it in a meeting with Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt. Things got heated. The two had to be physically separated. Beard was paid a hefty chunk of money to be quiet about it, and he was sent on his way, taking a job in the ABA before ending up back in Lubbock.

Those are just the stories that I feel comfortable enough to publish.

Tarleton State knows exactly what they’re doing in hiring Billy Gillispie. None of his issues are a secret. Things haven’t changed since he took over at Ranger College, a JuCo in Texas, three years ago. But the new president at the University wanted to make a splash. He wanted to transition to Division I, and he wanted to win as soon as he got there. The WAC is hardly a powerhouse, and if there is one thing that Billy Clyde Gillispie can do, it’s win basketball games.

He did so at UTEP and he did so at Texas A&M. Odds are good Billy Gillispie will also win at Tarleton State.

And in the process, he’ll treat everyone that he deems beneath him — student-athletes, staff members, whoever — terribly.

Is that really worth it?

2020 NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker

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Here is CBT’s full 2020 NBA Draft early entry tracker. You’ll find a full breakdown of what players are deciding. We’ll track signing with agents, testing the waters and returning to school here. 

Underclassmen have until Sunday, April 26th at 11:59 p.m. EST to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

A deadline of Monday, June 15th at 5 p.m. EST is set for underclassmen to withdraw and retain college eligibility.

Of course, these dates are subject to change given the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation.

Here is the full list of the underclassmen who have declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. You can also find a list of the biggest names we’re waiting on.

NBA DRAFT EARLY ENTRY

Preseason Top 25 | Mock Draft | Early Entry Tracker

NBA DRAFT TESTING THE WATERS

  • SADDIQ BEY, Villanova
  • TYLER BEY, Colorado
  • JERMAINE BISHOP, Norfolk State
  • JORDAN BRUNER, Yale
  • MARCUS CARR, Minnesota
  • JALEN CRUTCHER, Dayton
  • RYAN DALY, St. Joseph’s
  • DEVON DANIELS, N.C. State
  • KENDRIC DAVIS, SMU
  • L.J. FIGUEROA, St. John’s
  • D.J. FUNDERBURK, N.C. State
  • ALONZO GAFFNEY, Ohio State
  • JIMMA GATWECH, Huntington Prep (WV)
  • JAYVON GRAVES, Buffalo
  • RAYSHAUN HAMMONDS, Georgia
  • ELIJAH HUGHES, Syracuse
  • FERON HUNT, SMU
  • HERB JONES, Alabama
  • MASON JONES, Arkansas
  • KAMERON LANGLEY, North Carolina A&T
  • SABEN LEE, Vanderbilt
  • KIRA LEWIS, Alabama
  • ISAIAH LIVERS, Michigan
  • CAM MACK, Nebraska
  • SANDRO MAMUKELASHVILI, Seton Hall
  • NAJI MARSHALL, Xavier
  • KENYON MARTIN JR., IMG Academy (FL)
  • REMY MARTIN, Arizona State
  • MAC MCCLUNG, Georgetown
  • ELIJAH OLANIYI, Stony Brook
  • JOHN PETTY JR., Alabama
  • NATE PIERRE-LOUIS, Temple
  • JEREMIAH ROBINSON-EARL, Villanova
  • JAY SCRUBB, Louisville
  • PARKER STEWART, UT Martin
  • MACIO TEAGUE, Baylor
  • XAVIER TILLMAN, Michigan State
  • JORDAN TUCKER, Butler
  • KEITH WILLIAMS, Cincinnati
  • MCKINLEY WRIGHT, Colorado

NOTABLES RETURNING TO SCHOOL

  • DEREK CULVER, West Virginia
  • OSCAR TSHIEBWE, West Virginia

NOTABLES YET TO ANNOUNCE

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA, Memphis
DERRICK ALSTON, Boise State
COLE ANTHONY, North Carolina
BRYAN ANTOINE, Villanova
JOEL AYAYI, Gonzaga
JARED BUTLER, Baylor
VERNON CAREY, Duke
AYO DOSUNMU, Illinois
DEVON DOTSON, Kansas
MALACHI FLYNN, San Diego State
LUKA GARZA, Iowa
JOSH GREEN, Arizona
ASHTON HAGANS, Kentucky
AARON HENRY, Michigan State
MATTHEW HURT, Duke
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS, Indiana
ISAIAH JOE, Arkansas
DAVID JOHNSON, Louisville
A.J. LAWSON, South Carolina
SCOTTIE LEWIS, Florida
TYRESE MAXEY, Kentucky
JADEN MCDANIELS, Washington
WENDELL MOORE, Duke
JORDAN NWORA, Louisville
FILIP PETRUSEV, Gonzaga
YVES PONS, Tennessee
NEEMIAS QUETA, Utah State
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY, Kentucky
JAHMI’US RAMSEY, Texas Tech
NICK RICHARDS, Kentucky
JALEN SMITH, Maryland
CASSIUS STANLEY, Duke
ISAIAH STEWART, Washington
TYRELL TERRY, Stanford
TRENDON WATFORD, LSU
ROMEO WEEMS, DePaul
KALEB WESSON, Ohio State
KAHLIL WHITNEY, Kentucky
ROBERT WOODWARD, Mississippi State

Preseason Top 25 | Coaching Carousel | NBA Draft Early Entry (link)

WHEN IS THE 2020 NBA DRAFT?

The 2020 NBA Draft is currently scheduled to take place on June 25th, 2020, but that date is up in the air due to the spread of COVID-19. At the very least, the league is preparing as if the pre-draft process is going to be drastically different than it has been in past seasons.

WHEN IS THE DEADLINE FOR AN EARLY ENTRY TO DECLARE FOR THE 2020 NBA DRAFT?

Underclassmen have under April 26th to declare for the draft. Those that don’t sign with an agent have until June 15th to pull their name out of the draft and return to school.

WHERE CAN I FIND A 2020 MOCK DRAFT?

Right here, thanks for asking.