If the opening Thursday of the NCAA Tournament was all about chalk, Friday was most definitely highlighted by shock.
After just two upsets over the first 16 contests in the round of 64, things got wild on Friday as there were a number of upsets, including a pair of No. 15 seeds in Norfolk State and Lehigh knocking off No. 2 seeds Missouri and Duke respectively.
Now that the madness has returned to March, the NCAA Tournament's round of 32 did not let us down.
With college hoops juggernauts like UNC, Michigan State and Florida moving on, the NCAA tournament has ensured us that the remaining rounds will be filled with dream matchups and all-out wars.
The favorites will look to avoid the upset bug, but if the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight are anything like the previous two rounds, brackets will be busted even more than they already are.
Update: Monday, April 2 at 11:50 p.m. ET
Final: Kentucky 67, Kansas 59
The Wildcats stumbled in the second half shooting under 30 percent from the field. This allowed the Jayhawks to make things interesting, but just barely.
Kentucky's Doron Lamb led all scorers with 22 points. Anthony Davis had an off night on offense. He was just 1-10 from the field, but he did grab 16 rebounds.
Update: Monday, April 2 at 10:35 p.m. ET
Halftime: Kentucky 41, Kansas 27
Kentucky is playing fantastic basketball. Their defense has been outstanding and they are running their offense.
Kansas is not backing down, but they aren't keeping up either. They'll need Kentucky to get a little sloppy if they want to come back.
Update: Saturday, March 31 at 11:50 p.m. ET
Final: Kansas 64, Ohio St. 62
The second half brought a whole different team to the floor for Kansas and they were able to impose their will on Ohio St.
With Sullinger's offensive game in disarray, the Jayhawks slowly erased a 13-point defeicit and simply outhustled the Buckeyes to take over the lead late in the game.
It was a matter of who got hot late and as the Buckeyes were cooling, Kansas got hot at the right time led by their best player, Robinson.
In the end, it was Kansas prevailing and they are on their way to the NCAA Championship.
Update: Saturday, March 31 at 10:00 p.m. ET
Halftime: Ohio St. 34, Kansas 25
Perimeter shooting is the story of the first half as the Buckeyes are shooting 48 percent from the field and 55 percent from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks haven't had the same success shooting 34 percent from the field and a lowly 16 percent from beyond the arc.
Kansas has zero fast break points and only two free throws. The half court game they're playing is right up the Buckeyes' alley.
Thomas Robinson began to pick it up at the end of the first half but will need to improve upon the eight points and three rebounds he's gathered so far.
The Jayhawks got a little shot in the arm cutting their deficit to single digits so maybe they can ride that momentum to a comeback in the second half.
Jared Sullinger is showing why he's a top-ten draft pick with potential to move up. The Ohio St. big man got his team going early in the game and has seven points along with five rebounds to show for his effort.
Sullinger is one of four Buckeye starters with seven points or more.
Update: Saturday, March 31 at 8:35 p.m. ET
Final: Kentucky 69, Louisville 61
The Cardinals made this game interesting. They had a nice run in the second half, but Kentucky's defense turned it up a notch.
They kept Louisville from making a single bucket from the floor for 6:20 seconds in the second half.
Sunday, March 25
Final: North Carolina 67, Kansas 80
The final score is a 13-point margin, but this one was much closer than that. It was still a one-possession game with right around two minutes left.
But in the end, Kansas' ability to get stops and dominate on the glass really hurt Carolina. So did UNC's inability to make a three-pointer.
Kansas forced 10 Carolina turnovers with most of those coming in the second half, they out-rebounded the Heels by nine, and North Carolina hit just 2-of-17 from long range.
Tyshawn Taylor finally stepped up for Kansas, as he finished with 22 points, five assists, and five steals.
The Tar Heels simply weren't the same team without Kendall Marshall.
Kansas advances to the Final Four to take on Ohio State on Saturday.
Halftime: North Carolina 47, Kansas 47
If you aren't near a TV, I suggest you find one before the second half starts, because this has been one of the fastest, highest-scoring games of the tournament.
Both teams are running with ease and putting the ball in the bucket.
Kansas is shooting 56 percent while UNC is hitting at an insane 64-percent clip. The Jayhawks are being led by Thomas Robinson's 14 and North Carolina is getting a balanced attack.
It looked like Kansas was going to pull away, but Carolina got an important 8-0 run late in the half to get back in it. During that run, Harrison Barnes finally got going and he will have to continue that in the second half if Carolina wants to advance.
Final: Kentucky 82, Baylor 70
The Bears made a little bit of a game, but the Wildcats' lead was never in doubt and they move on to the Final Four to play Louisville.
The real story of the second half was that Anthony Davis went down with an apparent knee injury, but he returned a few minutes later and the pain seemed to go away.
The Wildcats had four players finish in double figures while Baylor was led by Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson.
Kentucky is clearly the best team in the country as long as Davis is healthy.
Halftime: Kentucky 42, Baylor 22
Kentucky is just too good. It's as simple as that.
After Baylor got out to an early 10-5 lead, Kentucky only went on a 37-12 run for the rest of the half.
The Wildcats are good in transition, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is showing, they are good in the half-court, and they are good on defense.
Baylor already has nine turnovers and hasn't looked comfortable all game.
Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and Anthony Davis has 14 to along with six rebounds and two blocks. At this point, this one just isn't fair. Kentucky is overwhelming Baylor in every aspect of the game, and it doesn't look like the Bears will make a comeback.
Saturday, March 24
No. 2 Ohio State 77, No. 1 Syracuse 70
Jared Sullinger was too much for the Fab Melo-less Orange to overcome. Sullinger was slow to get going, but he came on strong in the second half and ended with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Ohio State can thank excellent free throw shooting for this win. With the game grinding to an end, they went 13-14 from the free throw line over the last 1:08.
The Buckeyes will face the winner of the Kansas-North Carolina game.
No. 1 Syracuse 29, No. 2 Ohio State 29
This game has been a defensive slugfest. The team that can survive to the final whistle with any semblance of confidence is going to be the team that wins.
The Orange are shooting just 35.7 percent from the field and that is actually better than the Buckeyes 33.3 percent.
Ohio State is using a 19-14 advantage on the boards to make up for their lower field goal percentage. Syracuse's Scoop Jardine leads all scorers with seven points.
Final: No. 4 Louisville 72, Florida 68
The Gators went cold down the stretch, and that allowed Louisville to come roaring back to take the win.
The Cardinals led this game almost the whole way, but they were undone by missed shots and turnovers down the stretch.
Guard Russ Smith came off the bench to give Louisville a huge boost. He poured in a game-high 19 points.
Halftime: No. 7 Florida 41, No. 4 Louisville 33
Florida continues to play well above the level of a No. seven seed. They are absolutely shooting the lights out as they entered the locker room at halftime.
Florida is shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from three point land. Florida is pulling up early in the shot clock for jumpers, and they are drilling them.
Louisville is an excellent defensive team, and they are going to have start playing like it, or they will be bounced from this tournament.
Final: North Carolina 73, Ohio 65
The last true Cinderella team of the tournament has been defeated after nearly upsetting the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels.
With under a minute to play, all the Ohio Bobcats needed was a free throw, but with the score tied at 63, they were not able to hit a free throw attempt that would have put them ahead.
Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes was rejected on Carolina's final possession of regulation, but UNC dominated the overtime period, outscoring the Bobcats 10-2 to escape with a win.
North Carolina will play the winner of Friday's matchup between Kansas and North Carolina State in the Elite Eight.
Final: Baylor 75, Xavier 70
Baylor defeated the Xavier to advance to the Elite Eight in an entertaining game on Friday night that proved how good the Bears can be when they're at their best.
After getting out to a large lead to begin the game, the Bears allowed star guard Tu Holloway to get Xavier back into the game and go into the half down just seven.
An offensive surge midway through the second half allowed Baylor to build a double-digit lead as they held on late for the victory.
Forward Quincy Acy led Baylor in scoring with 20 points, two of which came from a monstrous dunk that is probably the highlight of the tournament thus far. Holloway led Xavier with 22 points.
The Bears will play the winner of tonight's matchup between No. 1 Kentucky and No. 4 Indiana in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
Friday: March 23rd
Halftime: UNC 29, Ohio 22
Well, things got interesting at the end of the half.
Sure, we can't say that we sniff anything remotely smelling of an upset, but Ohio finished the half strong. The Bobcats came out sloppy and looked every bit overmatched.
The one stat that could worry Tar Heels fans is the 13 turnovers that allowed Ohio to make a late push. This is a sign of the offense working itself out without the services of Kendall Marshall who is out with a wrist injury.
All that said, North Carolina is still dominating most of this game.
Halftime: Baylor 36, Xavier 29
The Baylor Bears have dominated from the opening tip, but the Musketeers do what they do and just hung around, allowing Baylor to hurt themselves.
Xavier went to the line XX times and enjoyed 7 Baylor turnovers.
Baylor owned the paint early and were getting easy buckets, until Kenny Frease woke up. The Xavier center ends the half with 12 points on 5-for 7 shooting.
Baylor may have the lead, but they are definitely fighting off a tremendous Xavier comeback.
Final: Florida 68, Marquette 58
The hottest team in the tournament is looking unbeatable heading into the Elite Eight.
Bradley Beal shot a blistering 8-of-10 from the field in route to 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. They were better than Marquette in virtually every statistical category, and have now won their three tournament games by a combined score of 70 points.
Nobody wants to play the Gators right now as they seem to be peaking at the perfect time. Billy Donovan deserves a ton of credit. Jae Crowder led the Golden Eagles with 15, but shot 33 percent from the field (5-of-15).
Next up for Florida is a date with Louisville with a berth to the Final Four on the line.
Final: Ohio State 81, Cincinnati 66
The Bearcats were down by 12 at halftime, but made a furious comeback and even took the lead at one point. But the Buckeyes relentless defense led by Jared Sullinger ended up being too much for the Bearcats to handle.
Sullinger notched a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds while Deshaun Thomas led the team with 26 points and seven rebounds.
The big difference in the game was turnovers.
Cincinnati committed 18 as they seemed very flustered in the final 10 minutes and Ohio State only had 11.
Cashmere Wright led the ‘Cats with 18.
Next up for the Buckeyes is a date with the Syracuse Orangemen in what should be an epic showdown with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
Final: Louisville 57, Michigan State 44
Rick Pitino is 10-0 in the Sweet Sixteen. Let that stat sink in for a second.
The Cardinals suffocating defense held the Spartans to a putrid 14-of-49 from the floor for a 28.6 shooting percentage in route to the comfortable win. Couple that with 15 Spartie turnovers compared to only nine for the Cardinals and you know why Louisville won the game.
Chane Behanan led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Cardinals while Russ Smith contributed 11 off the bench.
In Draymond Green’s final game in green and white, he scored 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. He received little help from his teammates that seemed to stand around far too often while Green had the ball.
Final: Syracuse 64, Wisconsin 63
What a game!
The Orange needed an air ball three with the clock running out to clinch a much-deserved invite to the Elite Eight.
Despite a barrage of three’s from the Badgers (who finished 14-of-27), the ‘Cuse won thanks in large part to red-hot shooting of their own.
The team shot 27-of-49 (55.1 percent) from the floor led by CJ Fair, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. Add four steals and there was no doubt who the best player on the floor was.
The Badgers were led by Jordan Taylor and Jared Berggren who both scored 17.
Halftime: Louisville 23, Michigan St. 18
Well that was ugly.
With plenty of bricks to go around, there were a grand total of three made baskets on the first 25 possessions of the game. Yuck.
Louisville’s two best player’s Kyle Kuric and Peyton Siva are scoreless, and the bench has 12 of the 23 points.
The Spartans shot a putrid 6-of-22 from the floor (27.3 percent) and have turned the ball over six times. Draymond Green leads the way with seven points and six rebounds.
Halftime: Syracuse 33, Wisconsin 27
How in the world are the Orange shooting 63.6 percent from the field and only up six?
Syracuse jumped out to a 10 point lead and had the Boston crowd in a frenzy. The vast majority of them are Syracuse fans, and it has shown. Brandon Triche led ‘Cuse with nine points and two rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
A crucial Scoop Jardine turnover with time running out in the first half led to an easy bucket at the buzzer from Jordan Taylor to close the half to give the Badgers a mini 4-0 run. Jared Berggren is a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor in route to 10 points.
The Badgers survive the big run and it sets up one exciting second half.
Final: Florida 84, Norfolk State 50
Uh, yeah, this one was only close when it was 0-0. Florida went on a huge run to start the game and just never looked back.
Norfolk State was a great story, and Kyle O'Quinn is one of the more likeable players in the country, but the Spartans just couldn't keep up with Florida.
The Gators shot 53 percent from the field and hit 10 three-pointers en route to the rout. What's most scary about this game is that Florida did all this with Patric Young only scoring six points.
If everyone puts it all together for Florida, they are a legitimate Final 4 threat.
The Gators advance to the Sweet 16 to face Marquette in what should be a thrilling up-and-down battle.
Final: North Carolina 87, Creighton 73
Creighton, led by Doug McDermott and his 20 points, showed they have the ability to score at a quick pace, but the Bluejays just couldn't keep up with North Carolina.
The Tar Heels, who got big man John Henson back from a wrist injury, shot 51 percent from the field and saw all five starters hit double-figures.
Point guard Kendall Marshall led the team with 18 points and 11 assists while Henson had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in his return.
It's safe to say the Heels are happy to have their seven-footer back.
North Carolina moves on to the Sweet 16 to play either South Florida or Ohio.
Final: Michigan State 65, St. Louis 61
The Billikens put up quite a fight, but Draymond Green was just too much down the stretch.
Green finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and one floor-cleaning (literally) as he and the Spartans held off St. Louis' late dramatic comeback.
Keith Appling, who the Billikens were shading off of, made the St. Louis pay with 19 points.
The Billikens shot just 35 percent from the field, but still managed to turn this one into a dog-fight. They should receive credit for their scrappy, inspirational effort. This wasn't the prettiest performance, but neither of these teams ever lacked effort.
The Spartans advance to the Sweet 16 to play Louisville.
Final: NC State 66, Georgetown 63
The Sweet 16 has its first double-digit seed as the No. 11 NC State Wolfpack knocked off No. 3 Georgetown today.
After the Hoyas got out to a big lead, NC State went on a huge run over the end of the first and the beginning of the second half. They led the rest of the way, although Georgetown made it interesting at the end.
But Otto Porter missed a questionable mid-range shot and Jason Clark missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied it, and the Wolfpack escaped.
NC State received a balanced attack as Scott Wood, C.J Williams, and C.J Leslie all had 14 points. Lorenzo Brown chipped in 12.
The Hoyas were hurt by foul trouble to Henry Sims and a poor team performance shooting the ball.
NC State will play the winner of Kansas and Purdue in the Sweet 16.
Final Score: Louisville 59, New Mexico 56
No. 4 Louisville held on late in the second half to defeat No. 5 New Mexico and advance to the Sweet 16, where the Cardinals will play top seed Michigan State in the next round.
Sophomore guard Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 17 points. Senior forward Drew Gordon led the Lobos with 21 points.
Despite being out rebounded and having fewer assists, Louisville made the plays needed late in the game to help them advance to the Sweet 16.
Final: Baylor 80, Colorado 63
No. 3 Baylor and No. 11 Colorado played a hard-fought game on Saturday night that was close throughout, until the Bears caught fire from the three-point line toward the end of the second half to pull away from the Buffaloes.
Sophomore guard Brady Heslip led the Bears in scoring with 27 points, all of them coming from three-point shots. Senior forward Austin DuFault led the Buffaloes with 14 points.
Baylor advances to the Sweet 16, and will now play the winner of the No. 15 Lehigh versus No. 10 Xavier third round battle in the South region.
Final: Kentucky 87, Iowa State 71
Top seed Wildcats dominated the No. 9 seed Cyclones in the third round of the South region, and will now play No. 4 Indiana in the Sweet 16.
Freshman guard Marquis Teague scored a career-high 24 points in an impressive performance from Kentucky. Freshman forward Anthony Davis added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats. Sophomore forward Royce White led the Cyclones in scoring with 23 points.
The Wildcats will now look to avenge their regular season loss to the Hoosiers next week.
Final: Indiana 63 , VCU 61
The Rams' quest to return to the Final Four ended on Saturday as they were defeated in the final moments by the Hoosiers on a shot by sophomore forward Will Sheehey with 12.7 second remaining in the game.
Junior forward Christian Watford led No. 4 Indiana with 16 points, while senior guard Bradford Burgess led the No. 12 Rams with 15 points.
Indiana will now take on No. 1 seed Kentucky in one Sweet 16 matchup in the South region. Earlier in the season, the Hoosiers defeated the top-ranked Wildcats on a buzzer-beating shot in Bloomington.
Final: Wisconsin 60, Vanderbilt 57
Jordan Taylor may not be playing like he was hyped at the beginning of the season, but he hit some absolutely huge shots to help the Badgers beat Vanderbilt in this one.
Taylor finished with just 14 points, but it was the clutch factor that was so key.
The Badgers got a balanced effort as five players hit double-figures.
Vanderbilt, on the other hand, got a disappointing performance from star John Jenkins (3-for-13, 13 points) and Jeffery Taylor (nine points).
They crashed the 'boards all game, but couldn't get the rebounds at the end when it counted, and the Badgers escaped.
Wisconsin will play Syracuse in the Sweet 16.
Final: Marquette 62, Murray State 53
It was the most exciting 62-53 game you'll ever see, as both teams played with a frantic, back-and-forth pace. The game was a lot closer than the nine-point margin of victory.
Marquette eventually pulled away near the end of the game because of its ability to get the ball inside to Davante Gardner (six points) and because of Jae Crowder's late game heroics (17 points, 13 rebounds).
Murray State star Isaiah Canaan didn't have a good game (4-for-17 shooting, 16 points), but the Racers stayed in the game because of their defense and rebounding, which was led by Ed Daniel's fantastic performance.
Nonetheless, Marquette prevailed and advanced to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of Florida and Norfolk State.
Final: Ohio State 73, Gonzaga 66
This one went back and forth all game, but the Buckeyes took an early second-half lead that Gonzaga just couldn't get back from. The Zags eventually pulled back even at 61 apiece, but the Buckeyes barely pulled it out.
Aaron Craft was easily the Player of the Game, as he had 17 points and 10 assists while holding Kevin Pangos to just 10 points. There's no question Craft is the reason OSU won this game.
They also got 18 from Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, and William Buford chipped in 13.
On the other side of the ball, freshman Gary Bell had a terrific game, putting in 18 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. He led Gonzaga's late comeback, but it wasn't enough.
The Buckeyes move to the Sweet 16, where they'll play the winner of Florida State and Cincinnati.
Final: Syracuse 75, Kansas State 59
The Wildcats were able to keep it close up until halftime, but Syracuse was just too hot in the second half.
Led by Scoop Jardine, who hit three 3-pointers in the final period, the Orange had an incredibly balanced attack. Jardine had 16, Dion Waiters had 18, James Southerland had 15 and Kris Joseph had 11.
Kansas State dominated the 'boards (22 offensive rebounds), but had too many turnovers and couldn't stop Syracuse when it counted.
If the Orange shoot like they did in the second half, their lack of size in the middle won't hurt as bad in the Sweet 16 and possibly beyond.
Final: Purdue 72, Saint Mary's 69
The No. 10 Boilermakers will keep dancing, as they have taken down the No. 7 Gaels in what was a tight game.
Terone Johnson kept Purdue in it the whole time, as he dropped 23 points with five assists and four rebounds. The Gaels were led by the effort of forward Rob Jones, but his 23 points and 14 rebounds were not enough to finish the Boilermakers when it was all said and done.
The Boilermaker will now take on either the Kansas Jayhawks or the Detroit Titans, and while we would all like to assume it will be KU, today has proven that isn't a guarantee.
Final: Lehigh 75, Duke 70
Another upset on the day! The No. 15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks have taken down the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils, the second time a No. 15 seed has upset a two seed on the day.
The Blue Devils fell to the Mountain Hawks in a shocker, as both teams went off in the second half in terms of scoring.
Seems like defense is what troubled the Blue Devils, as Lehigh scored 47 points in the second half to take a 75-70 final score.
Impressive performances came from CJ McCollum, who had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assist. Dukes struggles came from all over, as Tyler Thorton, Seth Curry and Miles Plumlee all combined for just 16 points on the game.
Definitely a shocker to the nation, and if the trend continues, it won't be the last.
Final: Ohio 65, Michigan 60
The No. 4 Wolverines are heading home, as the No. 13 Ohio Bobcats have taken out one of the Big Ten powerhouses.
The Wolverines came into the second half down 35-29, and the Bobcats didn't let it go. The Wolverines took the second half scoring 31 points compared to the Bobcats' 30, but that wasn't enough of a comeback to make things happen.
D.J. Cooper took the night by storm, scoring 21 points with five assists and two rebounds.
The Bobcats weren't the first team to shock the nation today, as it is looking to be a trend as brackets continue to be busted coast-to-coast.
The team will await the winner of the Temple and USF game to see who they will get in the third round.
Final: St. Louis 61, Memphis 54
The No. 9 Bilikins are moving into the third round, as they have knocked off the No. 8 Memphis Tigers in their second round game.
Kwamain Mitchell led the attack, as he had 22 points with four rebounds and two steals coming off the bench.
The team came into the second half to control the game, as both teams finished the first tied 23-23. The Bilikins continued to dominate the boards, 31-26, and shot nearly seven percent better from the field.
They will be waiting for whoever wins the Michigan State and LIU Brooklyn game in the top of the West region of the bracket.
Final: Norfolk State 86, Missouri 84
By seeding, we saw one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. No. 15 Norfolk State knockout out Big XII Tournament Champion Missouri 86-84.
The score tells you everything you need to know here. Missouri's offense was more than good enough to win, but it couldn't make a stop in crunch time. They played a sloppy game and as a result, will be watching the rest of the tournament from home.
Kyle O'Quinn took the game over, scoring 26 points with 14 boards. If he plays like this in the next round, Norfolk State is a real threat to upend Florida.
Final: North Carolina 77, Vermont 58
The Tar Heels announced their presence into the tournament in emphatic fashion, blowing out Vermont.
The Catamounts did not play bad, they just don't have the talent of North Carolina, nor are they anywhere close. Tyler Zeller and James Michael McAdoo had 17 points each. Harrison Barnes had 14, while Kendall Marshall had 11.
The blowout win also came with John Henson out of action.
If UNC shows this kind of depth throughout the tournament, Vermont will not be the only team lacking the talent to hang with the Tar Heels.
Final: Georgetown 74, Belmont 59
Belmont came in as one of the higher scoring teams in the country and while they weren't blown out, they didn't have the size to stay with Georgetown for 40 minutes.
Jason Clark led the team with 21 points, Otto Porter had 16, while Henry Sims had 15. Blake Jenkins had 17 for the Bruins, but Scott Saunders was there only other double-digit scorer with 10.
The depth that the Hoyas showed today is what makes them a threat in this tournament. If their big men avoid foul trouble, it's going to take an incredibly good effort to beat them.
Final: Florida State 66, St. Bonaventure 63
ACC Tournament Champion Florida State advanced to the Round of 32, but got much more of a scare from St. Bonaventure than I am sure they would have wanted.
The Bonnies led for much of the game, but FSU eventually took over and held on at the end of the game. The Seminoles were not balanced, but their depth showed with 19 points from Bernard James, and 13 from Luke Loucks.
Da'Quan Cook of St. Bonaventure seemed to lose a sense of the situation. Trailing by three points, he attempted two regular two-pointers, missing both. Florida State got the rebound as the clock ran out.
Obviously, you have to have better knowledge of the situation. Florida State will need more from their starters, as they take on Cincinnati on Sunday.
Final: Florida 71, Virginia 45
The Gators made a 7 vs. 10 matchup look like a 1 vs. 16, as they steamrolled Virginia.
The Cavaliers kept it close in the first half, but were blown out in the final 20 minutes. Florida won the game with three double-digit scorers including Casey Prather and Patrick Young, both coming off of the bench.
With this kind of defensive effort, Florida has the makeup to make a long run in the NCAA's.
Final: Creighton 58, Alabama 57
Alabama will not win a National Championship in both football and basketball this year, as the Creighton Bluejays narrowly survived a first-round showdown with the Crimson Tide. Trevor Releford missed a three-point shot at the end that would have won the game. It was close to being a foul on Josh Jones.
The game was about as evenly matched as the final score would indicate, as the teams had nearly the same field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three-point percentage, and rebounding numbers.
In the end, the difference was Doug McDermott, who came off the Creighton bench and led all scorers with 16 points. The Bluejays will need to shoot better from now on, as barring a monumental upset, they will get North Carolina in the next round.
Final: North Carolina State 79, San Diego State 65
The Wolf Pack joined VCU as the only double-digit seeds to win in the first round (as of now), keeping the momentum they had build with a good ACC Tournament run.
Richard Howell led the charge with 22 points, while Lorenzo Brown was only one rebound short of a double-double.
San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin was the game's leading scorer, coming down with 23 points.
Offensively, the Aztecs were not bad, but you can't plan on allowing 79 points and winning an NCAA Tournament game. That puts too much pressure on the offense, and San Diego State is just not potent enough for that.
Final: Cincinnati 65, Texas 59
The early part of the game did the Longhorns in here.
Texas got off to an abysmal start, falling behind 16-2 and that is what cost them. They did make a nice second half run, even tying the game with three minutes left, but it was all Cincinnati from that point on.
Yancy Gates was too much to handle for Texas, as he had a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
Texas' J'Covan Brown led all scorers with 19 points, but the team had only 17 points the first half. That will never get it done in the NCAA Tournament.
Final: Iowa St. 77, UConn 64
The story was all about the no-show by the Huskies.
They fell behind by double-digits almost immediately and were never really in the game aside from a weak second-half run that the Cyclones were easily able to endure.
Chris Allen was the Cyclones leading scorer with 20 points while both Scott Christopherson and Royce White added 15 apiece.
The Huskies were outrebounded 40-to-21, which is flat out unacceptable. Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummound COMBINED for four points and six rebounds in their worst performances of the season.
Final: Indiana 79, New Mexico State 66
In their first tourney game since 2008, the Hooisers played like a bunch of wily veterans.
Both teams shot over 55 percent from the field but that didn’t matter for the Hooisers.
Connecting on 7-of-13 threes, Indiana showed what can happen when you play to your strength. Four starters reached double-digits in points with Jordan Hulls leading the way with 22.
Final: Ohio State 78, Loyola (MD) 59
The Buckeyes barely broke a sweat in their round of 64 game.
OSU held a 45-23 advantage in the rebounding department including nine more on the offensive glass. The Buckeyes were simply too strong, too physical and too good for Loyola.
Deshaun Thomas blew up for 31 points and 12 rebounds while William Buford added 17 points.
Final: Colorado 68, UNLV 64
In one of the few upsets of the day, the Buffs were up big most of the night before almost blowing it because they couldn’t crack the Runnin’ Rebels press.
Despite committing 23 turnovers compared to only eight for UNLV, the Buffs were able to hang on because they outrebounded the Runnin’ Rebels 43-30 and connected on eight more free throws (17-27 to 9-of-17).
The pro-Buffs crowd cheered on as four CU players reached double figures with Askia Booker and his 16 points leading the way.
The game may have not ended until almost 1:00 a.m ET, but it was one of the most exciting games of the entire day.
Final: Kentucky 81, Western Kentucky 66
This game had an incredibly weird start to it.
UK jumped out to a 10-0 lead, only to watch the Hilltoppers go on a 12-0 run, followed by an 8-0 run by the Wildcats.
That was pretty much the end of the excitement as the ‘Cats raced out to a 45-26 lead by halftime and cruised from there.
Anthony Davis had 16 points, nine rebounds and a ridiculous seven blocks. Terrence Jones added 22 and 10 rebounds.
Final VCU 62, Wichita State 59
The Rams are at it again.
Bradford Burgess hit an incredibly important three with 1:33 remaining that ended up being the difference for a Rams team that has now won five tournament games in the last two seasons.
VCU led by as many as 13 in the second half, but the Shockers kept clawing their way back and almost pulled off the “shocker” of a comeback.
Burgess finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Final: Gonzaga 77, West Virginia 54
So much for home cookin’.
After everyone was up-in-arms that the Mountaineers got a major break with travel, they were blown out of the gym from the tip.
They allowed the ‘Zags to shoot 56 percent from the field (28-of-50) as four players reached double figures.
This was one of the worst games of the day.
Final: Baylor 68, South Dakota St. 60
This was a game of runs and Baylor just so happened to go on the last one.
Despite holding significant advantages in the height department, the Jackrabbits were in it until the final minute.
Perry Jones III was a no-show with two points, and was saved by Pierre Jackson’s 18 and Brady Heslip’s 17.
Jackrabbits star Nate Wolters score 19 points in the losing effort.
Final: No. 3 Marquette 88, BYU 68
The Golden Eagles were on absolute cruise control for the entirety of this one-sided affair.
The Cougars were outrebounded 48-to-33 and committed 17 turnovers.
Jae Crowder finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds while collecting four assists and four steals. He was about as dominating as you can be in a tournament game and the Cougars had no answers.
Final: No. 1 Syracuse 72, No. 16 UNC-Asheville 65
The refs bailed out the ‘Cuse in this one.
Two controversial calls in the final minutes ensured the ‘Cuse a nail-biting victory. One was a questionable lane violation that resulted in two additional points for Syracuse and the other was a horrific call where the ball clearly touched ‘Cuse last but were awarded the ball.
They played a lazy, sloppy game that made them look closer to a No. 16 than a No. 1. James Southerland came off the bench to score 15 and grab eight rebounds while Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters added 12.
But survive and advance and the Orangemen did as much on Thursday.
Final: New Mexico 75, Long Beach St. 68
The Lobos were able to fend off every run of the 49ers and held in check star guard Casper Ware; he shot 5-of-19 from the floor.
Couple that with the blazing 51 percent shooting of the Lobos (25-49) and you have the recipe for this victory.
Final: No. 4 Vanderbilt 79, Harvard 70
The Commodores almost blew an 18-point lead, but behind 27 points from John Jenkins they were able to register the win.
Brad Tinsley scored 16 and Jeffery Taylor contributed 15 for a team that were a red-hot 25-of-46 from the field (54.3 percent).
The Crimson outscored the Commodores by a point in the second half behind a strong 20-point effort from Laurent Rivard, but it was too little too late.
Final: No. 4 Wisconsin 73, No. 13 Montana 49
The Badgers jumped out to an early 10-point lead and never looked back.
They outrebounded the Grizzles 32-19 and connected on an impressive 10-of-19 of their three’s. Jordan Taylor led the way with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the best all-around performance of the tournament thus far.
Final: No. 4 Louisville 69, No. 13 Davidson 62
It’s never going to be easy with the Cardinals, but they find a way to get the job done.
A year after having their hearts ripped out of their chests in the first round, they held off a late run from the Wildcats with strong defense down the stretch and connecting on 10 more free throws (26-36, 16-23).
Peyton Siva led the team with 17 points and six assists while Kyle Kuric added 13 and four rebounds. Jake Cohen led the Wildcats with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Final Score: No. 8 Kansas St. 70, No. 9 Southern Miss 64
In a game where the two teams were evenly matched in virtually every important category, it was the free throw shooting of the Wildcats that prevailed.
The team was 26-of-24 from the stripe compare to the Golden Eagles that were a mere 12-of-17.
The star of the game was Rodney McGruder, who came off the bench to score 30 points. Jordan Henriguez added 15 while registering nine rebounds and five blocks.
Final: No. 6 Murray St., 58, No 11 Colorado St. 41
What a difference halftime adjustments can make.
After falling behind 24-23 at the half, the Murray State Racers were in danger of losing only their second game of the season. But the halftime speech must have been gold as the Racers outscored the Rams 35-17 in the second half to cruise to the win.
It was the defense that really stepped up, causing 21 turnovers while only committing seven of their own. Isaiah Canaan led the Racers with 15 points and seven rebounds and Donte Poole came off the bench to score 13 points.
The 41 points scored by Colorado State is the fewest by a Mountain West team in a Men's Basketball Championship game. The previous low was 47 by New Mexico in 2005 vs Villanova in the Round of 64.
Final: Vermont 71, Lamar 59
The Catamounts leaped out to a 30-21 halftime lead and never looked back in as they have propelled themselves into the round of 64.
Freshman sensation Four McGlynn came off the bench to score 18 points as the spark plug that ignited Vermont. Matt Glass added 11; Sandro Carissimo had 10 while Brian Voelkel collected 12 rebounds.
Despite getting outrebounded 39-33 and losing the turnover battle 7-5, Vermont was able to cruise because of a red-hot 25-of-50 shooting percentage from the field. The Cardinals shot a mere 33 percent (20-of-60).
McGlynn is the only player in the country to lead his team in scoring without starting a single game. He is going to be one of the main X-Factors for the Catamounts as they advance to take on No. 1 seeded North Carolina in Greensboro on Friday.
Final: South Florida 65, California 54
The Bears did not extinguish the doubts many had about the Pac-12.
They scored a mere 13 points in the first half and found themselves down by 23 at intermission. From there the Bulls were on cruise control.
Victor Rudd Jr. led the team with 15 points and five rebounds while Anthony Collins added 12 and three. As a team, South Florida hit a remarkable 57 percent (28-of-49) of their field goals.
Despite fouling out, Harper Kamp led the Bears with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Next up for the Bulls is a trip to Nashville where they will face No. 5 seeded Temple in the round of 64.
Final: BYU 78, Iona 72
BYU dug themselves a massive 25-point hole and remarkably battled back to put away Iona in a shocking comeback victory.
Noah Hartsock's 16 second-half points helped the Cougars to an absurd comeback win and will launch them into a 2nd-round game against No. 3 seed Marquette. Coming off the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history is one heck of a way to gain momentum heading into the second round, though the Cougars will need a much quicker start to their next outing if they want any chance at taking down Marquette.
Iona will have to wait at least another to lock down their first tournament victory, after giving away the game late and blowing a win that was all but in the bag.
The play-in games have really set the tone for March Madness this year and with two spectacular showings already in the books, the tournament is off to a phenomenal start.
Final: Western Kentucky 59, Mississippi Valley State 58
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were treated to a phenomenal battle for the 16 seed in the South Region, with Western Kentucky emerging victorious, 59-58.
The Hilltoppers got 11 points apiece from TJ Price and Derrick Gordon, the latter of whom will go head-to-head with high school teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist when WKU faces Kentucky in the Round of 64.
The Delta Devils had a good thing going with a four-point lead at the half, but were ultimately overtaken when they surrendered 40 points in the second. Not even stellar offensive efforts by Kevin Burwell (20 points) and Cor-J Cox (10 points) and William Pugh (11 points) off the bench could get Mississippi Valley State to the next round of the Big Dance.
Not that the Devils figured to fare any better against top-seed UK than the Hilltoppers will, though you can bet the state of Kentucky will be out in full force when WKU and the Wildcats meet in Louisville on Thursday.
Let the madness begin!
The bracket is officially set as the First Four advanced.
Here's the results from March 13 and March 14:
Western Kentucky 59, Miss. Valley St. 58
BYU 78, Iona 72
Vermont 71, Lamar 59
South Florida 65, California 54
For the full schedule of the 2012 NCAA Tournament games, check out ESPN.com.
Keep it here for updates throughout the first week of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Check back as each game finishes for full updates, analysis and highlights for all 68 games.