NCAA Tournament Latest: NC State delivers another Day 1 upset

North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts yells instructions during the first half of the team's college basketball game against Texas Tech in the first round of the men's NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. NC State won 80-67. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts yells instructions during the first half of the team’s college basketball game against Texas Tech in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. NC State won 80-67. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Latest on the first full day of the NCAA Tournament:

N.C. State delivers another Day 1 upset

N.C. State needed to win its conference tournament just to get into the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolfpack are now headed to the second round after becoming the fifth double-digit seed to win in the first full day of the bracket with an 80-67 win over No. 6 Texas Tech.

The 11th-seeded Wolfpack played their way into the bracket by winning the ACC tournament as a No. 10 seed, knocking off North Carolina in the title game.

N.C. State used a 14-4 run to go up 14 and made 14 of 23 shots in the second half to earn a shot at fellow underdog Oakland in Saturday’s second round.


FINAL: Kansas 93, Samford 89

Samford was a popular upset pick against injury-plagued Kansas.

The 13th-seeded Bulldogs nearly pulled it off, coming within seconds — and an apparently errant foul call — of potentially knocking off the Jayhawks.

Samford trailed 90-89 with about 15 seconds left when A.J. Staton-McCray was called for a foul as Kansas’ Nick Timberlake went up for a dunk. Replays showed Staton-McCray somehow got all ball for what should have been called a block. The play wasn’t reviewable.

Timberlake hit both free throws, the Bulldogs missed a hurried 3 and the Jayhawks moved on to face No. 5 seed Gonzaga in the second round.


FINAL: Washington State 66, Drake 61

Washington State made the most of its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 16 years.

Isaac Jones scored 20 points and the seventh-seeded Cougars made the key plays down the stretch to pull out a 66–61 win over No. 10 Drake.

Washington State was one of the surprises in college basketball this season, earning its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2007 after being picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12.

The Cougars earned an at-large bid into the bracket and survived a back-and-forth game against the Bulldogs to move into the second round against No. 2 seed Iowa State.


FINAL: Tennessee 83, Saint Peter’s 49

Saint Peter’s bid for another Cinderella run came to a crashing halt.

All-American Dalton Knecht scored 23 points and No. 2 seed Tennessee dominated the 15th-seeded Peacocks from the start in an 83-49 win in the Midwest Region.

Saint Peter’s added a massive dose of madness to March in 2022 with a run to the Elite Eight. The Peacocks were no match for the ultra-athletic Vols, falling into a 26-point hole by halftime.

Tennessee cruised from there to earn coach Rick Barnes a shot at his former team, Texas, in Saturday’s second round.


Gohlke lifts Oakland over Kentucky

Jack Gohlke took the first star turn of the NCAA Tournament, pushing Oakland past mighty Kentucky.

Gohlke made 10 3-pointers — one shy of the tourney record — and No. 14 Oakland pulled off the biggest upset of March Madness so far with an 80-76 win over No. 3 Kentucky in the South Region.

Gohlke went 10 for 20 from the arc, finishing just short of the single-game record set by Loyola Marymount’s Jeff Fryer against Michigan in 1990.

Gohlke scored 32 points to send the Grizzlies into Saturday’s second round against Texas Tech or N.C. State.

Gohlke took 335 shots this season and all but eight were from 3. He doesn’t even shoot layups during warmups.


FINAL: Gonzaga 86, McNeese 65

That upset pick of McNeese over Gonzaga? The Zags blew it out of the bracket.

Graham Ike had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 5 Gonzaga dominated from start to finish in an 86–65 win over McNeese in the Midwest Region.

Gonzaga led by 17 at halftime and stretched it to 35 to earn a spot in Saturday’s second round against Kansas or Samford.

Anton Watson had 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Zags.


FINAL: Iowa State 82, South Dakota State 65

Iowa State cruised into the second round. The second-seeded Cyclones shot a blistering 58% in an 82-65 win over No. 15 South Dakota State in the East Region.

Milan Momcilovic scored 19 points and Tamin Lipsey added 17 to send Iowa State into the second round against Washington State or Drake.


Longhorns reach Round 2

No. 7 seed Texas overcame a shaky shooting night to grind out a 56-44 win over No. 10 Colorado State in the Midwest Region.

Texas used a 25-3 run to lead 27-11 at the half, holding the Rams scoreless over the final 6:50.

Colorado State rallied to pull within six, but Texas stretched the lead back out to move into the second round against Tennessee or Saint Peter’s.

The Longhorns went 1 for 14 from the 3-point arc but held the Rams to 29% from the floor.


Gohlke for 3

Oakland’s Jack Gohlke doesn’t even shoot layups during layups.

The graduate student, who dropped seven 3-pointers – the last a banked shot while falling backward – in the first half against Kentucky, attempted only 3s when the Grizzlies warmed up after halftime.

Gohlke was one of the last Oakland players to leave the locker room and he joined his teammates in a huddle where they yelled “finish” before taking the floor.


A-10 rising

The Atlantic-10 got two teams into NCAA Tournament when Duquesne won the conference tournament and Dayton received an at-large bid.

Now the conference has two teams into the second round for the first time since 2016.

No. 11 seed Duquesne had the bracket’s first upset, knocking off sixth-seeded BYU 71-67 in the East Region for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1969.

Dayton followed Duquesne into the second round by rallying from a 17-point deficit to beat Nevada 63-60 in the West Region.

Duquesne faces No. 3 Illinois and Dayton plays No. 2 Arizona in Saturday’s second round.


Oregon scores another win for 11 seeds

A second No. 11 seed is on to the second round.

Jermaine Couisnard scored a school NCAA Tournament-record 40 points against his former team and Oregon knocked off No. 6 seed South Carolina 87-73 in the Midwest Region.

The Ducks join fellow No. 11 seed Duquesne, a 71-67 winner over BYU, in the second round.

Couisnard, who played three seasons at South Carolina before transferring, scored 26 points in the second half as the Ducks pulled away.

Oregon moves on to play No. 3 Creighton, coach Dana Altman’s former team, on Saturday.


FINAL: Dayton 63, Nevada 60

DaRon Holmes II scored eight of his 18 points during a massive second-half run and No. 7 seed Dayton rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat No. 10 Nevada 63-60 in the West Region.

The Wolf Pack closed the first half on a 16-0 run, but the Flyers answered with a 20-2 run to go up 59-58. Nevada had two chances to tie after Dayton went up three but missed both.

The Flyers move on to face No. 2 seed Arizona on Saturday.


UConn’s Edwards says she’ll turn pro

UConn women’s basketball star Aaliyah Edwards will be playing in her final NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies star center made her announcement Thursday on social media. Edwards had one more year of eligibility remaining and could have joined teammate Paige Bueckers, who announced during UConn’s senior night last month that she would suit up for the Huskies next season.

Edwards, an honorable mention All-American, is expected to be a first-round pick in the WNBA draft. UConn, a No. 3 seed, opens play Saturday at Gampel Pavilion against No. 14 seed Jackson State.


No. 3 Illinois rallies past Morehead State

Marcus Domask had the 10th triple-double in men’s tournament history, and third-seeded Illinois rallied past 14th-seeded Morehead State 85-69 in the first round of the East Region.

Illinois trailed 45-43 about 3-1/2 minutes into the second half. The Illini scored 32 of the game’s next 41 points to take total control.

Next up for Illinois: Duquesne on Saturday.


How’s your bracket? It’s likely good … for now

Look, you aren’t going to have a perfect bracket. But halfway through Day 1, you’re likely still in pretty good shape.

BYU’s loss to Duquesne knocked nearly 9.4 million brackets out of the perfect ranks on, and Mississippi State’s loss to Michigan State was the first defeat for 9.3 million others.

(For some reason, 66,720 folks picked Wagner to beat North Carolina. We presume you’re all alums.)

But so far, you’re probably still good.

FINAL: North Carolina 90, Wagner 62

The top seeds in the West are through to Round 2.

North Carolina eased away from 16th-seeded Wagner 90-62 in a first round matchup.

Awaiting the Tar Heels: Michigan State on Saturday. Again.

This will be the sixth time the Heels and Spartans meet in the tournament. North Carolina has won each of the previous five, the last four of them as a No. 1 seed.

The last tournament meeting for the two storied programs was the 2009 title game, won 89-72 by North Carolina.


On 14th-seeded Colgate, and why 13 matters

Colgate is a No. 14 seed, set to take on No. 3 Baylor on Friday in the West Region.

A 13 seed seems more fitting.

Here’s why: 13, an unlucky number to many, is lucky for Colgate. Coach Matt Langel is in his 13th year, and that’s just the beginning of this tale.

Per Colgate lore, in 1817, “13 men gathered and offered 13 prayers and $13.” They crafted 13 articles for a constitution that led to Colgate’s creation.

But Langel isn’t superstitious.

“For me, it’s been an awesome season and a special season, but nothing to have to do with 13,” he said.

By the way, Colgate is an underdog Friday …. by 13.


FINAL: Arizona 85, Long Beach State 65

Dan Monson’s run at Long Beach State is over.

Second-seeded Arizona pulled away in the second half and moved into the second round of the West Region by topping 15th-seeded Long Beach State 85-65.

It was the final game for Monson at LBSU. The coach was fired by the school earlier this month.

Arizona will play either Dayton or Nevada on Saturday.


Terrence Shannon Jr. sparks Illinois comeba

ck against Morehead State

Terrence Shannon Jr. willed No. 3 Illinois to three come-from-behind wins in the Big Ten Tournament, and he might have to do the same against No. 14 Morehead State.

Riley Minix, Kalil Thomas and Jordan Lathon made three straight 3s in rapid succession to get Morehead State out to a 9-0 lead before two minutes were gone.

The Illini were within four points at the first media timeout thanks to Shannon scoring nine of his team’s first 13.


FINAL: Creighton 77, Akron 60

Creighton is into the second round after the third-seeded Bluejays topped 14th-seeded Akron 77-60 in the Midwest Region.

A 10-0 second-half run provided breathing room and Creighton kept control the rest of the way.

The Bluejays will play either sixth-seeded South Carolina or 11th-seeded Oregon on Saturday.


Freeman ties the Admiral

Akron center Enrique Freeman’s remarkable career now includes an impressive bit of history.

The 6-foot-7 Freeman recorded the 31st double-double of the season during the Zips’ opening-round game against Creighton. That ties Hall of Famer David Robinson’s NCAA record for double-doubles in a season. Robinson reached double figures in points and rebounds 31 times while playing at the Naval Academy in 1985-86.


Duquesne’s Dambrot can’t retire yet

Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot has a wonderful problem. He’s still employed.

Dambrot is retiring when Duquesne’s season ends. The Dukes delayed that until at least Saturday by topping BYU in their tourney opener on Thursday.

“They just don’t want me to retire, I guess,” Dambrot told truTV in the televised on-court postgame interview. “I’m trying to get to the promised land and they want me to keep coaching.”

Read more: No. 11 Duquesne knocks off No. 6 BYU


It’s 56 and counting for Tom Izzo

Tom Izzo in March (and sometimes April) tends to mean good stuff for Michigan State.

The Spartans’ win over Mississippi State was Izzo’s 56th NCAA Tournament win at Michigan State.

Only three coaches have won more tourney games at one school. Mike Krzyzewski won 101 at Duke, Dean Smith won 65 at North Carolina and Jim Boeheim won 62 at Syracuse.


March Madness melee

There’s been a melee in the opening minutes of the second half between BYU and Duquesne when the Cougars’ Noah Waterman and the Dukes’ Fousseyni Drame simultaneously grabbed the rebound and took it together to the floor.

Drame appeared to be the instigator, rolling back on top of Waterman on the floor as official Pat Driscoll jumped between them. Players from both teams surrounded them as if it was a schoolyard fight and Driscoll appeared to be a bit shaken up.

Officials reviewed the play on the courtside monitor and both players were given a technical foul.


A better in-game experience

One thing the NCAA has improved is keeping fans at games in the loop on what’s happening elsewhere in the tournament. At halftime at CHI Health Center in Omaha, where BYU and Duquesne were playing, the game between Creighton and Akron in Pittsburgh was played on the video board hanging above the arena floor. CHI Health Center is the home court of the Bluejays and a lot of their fans were interested in the game.

That kind of look-in used to be rare. But these days, now that most fans can watch any game they want on their phones anyway, it makes sense to show other games on the massive screens in every arena.


BYU is bloodied and bumming vs Duquesne

Just about everything has gone wrong for sixth-seeded BYU in the first half.

Lead guard Dallin Hall has tissues shoved up both of his nostrils to plug his bloody nose, Richie Saunders was doubled over after taking an elbow to his midsection and Spencer Johnson even lost a shoe while trying to play some defense.

Not the kind of start the Cougars envisioned as they try to snap a four-game NCAA tourney losing streak. They trailed 17-10 midway through the first half in Omaha, Nebraska.


Izzo’s Spartans look good early

Tom Izzo and Michigan State eked into March Madness but look good so far. Tyson Walker has a couple 3-pointers and the ninth-seeded Spartans lead eighth-seeded Mississippi State 20-8 just before the midway point of the first quarter.


March Madness could be on the way out

Tracking the changes upending college sports can be as frenetic as flipping between all the games going down over the first week of March Madness. Ultimately, those changes could impact what America’s favorite basketball tournament looks like in the future — or whether it exists at all.

News about athlete compensation, player unions and realignment dominate discussions. Everything in college sports is open for discussion, interpretation and adjustment. That includes the industry’s most hallowed tradition, the NCAA basketball tournaments, which begin this week and will stretch from coast to coast.

The bottom line behind it all is money.

Read more about how changes to college sports are impacting March Madness.


BYU’s Khalifa plays while observing Ramadan

BYU forward Aly Khalifa will play against Duquesne on Thursday without having any food or drink after sunrise as he observes Ramadan during the NCAA Tournament.

The native of Alexandria, Egypt, probably could have taken an exception to one of the Five Pillars of Islam because of travel involved in the college basketball tournament. But instead, he chose to work with the BYU sports science and medicine staff to ensure he could play while observing the fast.

Khalifa planned to wake up at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday to eat and pray, then head to the arena for an 11:40 a.m. tipoff.

Read more: BYU’s Aly Khalifa.


For Tom Izzo, a 26th straight tourney bid wasn’t a layup

March Madness kept Tom Izzo sleepless for more than 24 hours before he heard and saw Michigan State made it into a 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

The Hall of Fame coach said he had one of the most anxious days of his career on Sunday, sensing his record-breaking streak might get snapped after the Spartans started No. 4 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll and finished an uneven season with five losses in seven games.

Izzo was able to exhale — and get some much-needed sleep — because Michigan State (19-14) was placed in the West Region as a No. 9 seed and matched up with No. 8 seed Mississippi State (21-13) on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Read more about Tom Izzo’s 26th March Madness bid.


Health could help to decide this year’s tourney

Bill Self feels pretty good about Hunter Dickinson’s availability for the NCAA Tournament. The Kansas coach frankly has no idea what to expect of his other All-America candidate, Kevin McCullar Jr.

And he’s not the only one fretting the health of their teams. Whether it’s Marquette star Tyler Kolek’s oblique injury or Houston big man J’Wan Roberts dealing with some leg soreness, injuries could play a big role in what transpires over the next three weeks.

Read more about what injuries could impact this year’s tournament.


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