Day One of the NCAA Tournament Off to a Great Start

Nate HargisContributor IMarch 19, 2009

The 2009 NCAA Tournament is well under way, and it has started off with some very good games.

* LSU beat Butler earlier today and assured the SEC a victory in the tournament. Marcus Thornton had a great game as he led the Tigers with 30 points and showed everyone why he was the SEC Player of the Year.

LSU led through almost all of the game, though Butler rallied late and took the lead, but LSU answered and held on down the stretch of the game by hitting their free throws. LSU will take on North Carolina in the second round.

* North Carolina played without its leader Tyler Lawson, but it did not matter much at all as they cruised to a 101-58 victory over outmatched Radford. Wayne Ellington led all scorers with 25 points as they rolled to a second round matchup with LSU.

* Memphis survived a scare from Cal State Northridge as CSN led by as much as six in the second half, but Memphis pulled away late, winning by 11 points. Memphis will take on Maryland in the second round on Saturday.

* Maryland was questioned by many who thought that they should not have made the tournament, but they put those questions to bed with a 13-point win over California in the first round. The Terps used a 23-8 run in the second half to put away the Golden Bears and earned a second round date with Memphis.

* Texas A&M beat BYU in the opening round of the tournament for the second straight year by a score of 79-66. The Aggies shot 58 percent from the floor and cruised to an easy victory. They will take on No. 1 Connecticut in the second round.

* Connecticut was playing without head coach Jim Calhoun, who was hospitalized earlier in the day. His team went out and crushed the Mocs from Chattanooga by a score of 103-47. The Mocs only shot 25 percent and were handed the third worst loss in tourney history. The Huskies take on Texas A&M on Saturday.

* Purdue led handily almost all game but had to hold off a late charge from Northern Iowa to advance to the second round. The Panthers cut the lead to two with under a minute to go, but Purdue hit their free throws to pick up the first round win. Purdue was led by E’Twaun Moore, who had 17 points. The Boilermakers will face Washington on Saturday

* Washington got by Mississippi St in the first round thanks in large part to Quincy Pondexter, who scored a season-high 23 points as he led his team to a 13-point victory. Jarvis Varnado, the nation’s leading shot blocker, was held relatively quiet all game as he only played 23 minutes because of foul trouble all day long. He still managed to finish the game with five blocks. Washington takes on Purdue in the second round on Saturday.


The nightcap of the first day is off to a great start.

* American has the nation's attention as they lead three seed Villanova by 10 at halftime. We will see if they can hold on in the second half.

* Texas leads Minnesota 41-35 with 19 minutes to go in the second half.

* Michigan, in their first appearance in the NCAA in 11 years, leads Clemson by 10 in the second half.

* Akron leads Gonzaga by three with two minutes remaining in the first half.


I will have another full update after the night games are finished.