NCAA Tournament: Day 1 of March Madness In the Books

Nate HargisContributor IMarch 20, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 19:  Taylor Griffin #32 of the Oklahoma Sooners jumps to the basket for the slam dunk in the second half against the Morgan State Golden Bears during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 19, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Sooners defeated the Golden Bears 82-54. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Day 1 of March Madness is in the books and the nightcap had some very good games.
—Western Kentucky beat Illinois and advanced to the second round for the second straight year. The Hilltoppers used great shooting from downtown to build a 17-point lead with just over four minutes to go, only to see the Illini cut the deficit to two with eight seconds left. But WKU hit two free throws to seal the 76-72 victory and advance to the second round against Gonzaga.

—Gonzaga trailed Akron at halftime and with 14 minutes to go, but used a 31-6 run to put away the Zips. Josh Heytvelt led all scorers with 22 points and will now look to lead his team past Western Kentucky on Saturday.

—UCLA beat Virginia Commonwealth in what was the most competitive game of the night. All five Bruin starters were in double figures, but VCU had the ball with 10 seconds left and a chance to win the game. Eric Maynor’s last-ditch effort fell short and UCLA escaped with the win. UCLA now gets Villanova in the second round.

—Villanova trailed American by 10 at halftime and by as much as 14 in the second half, but the Wildcats outscored American by 23 in the second half to avoid the upset. Dwayne Anderson picked a good time to score a career-high 25 points as they needed the monster effort to pick up the victory and advance to the second round to face UCLA.

—Oklahoma had no trouble blowing out Morgan State in the first round despite having their star player, Blake Griffin, flipped over a Morgan State player’s back and land hard on the floor. Oklahoma shot an outstanding 60 percent from the floor and held the Bears to just 28 percent to advance to the second round and will meet the Michigan Wolverines.

—Michigan took full advantage of its first tourney appearance in 11 years by beating Clemson 62-59 in the opening round. The Wolverines saw their 12-point lead with five minutes left slip to just one with 49 seconds remaining, but Clemson could not take the lead and the Wolverines advanced. The Michigan defense held the Tigers to 20 points under their season average. Michigan’s Manny Harris led all scorers with 23 points. The Wolverines face off against Oklahoma on Saturday.

—Texas used A.J. Abrams' eight three-pointers to propel the Longhorns to a 76-62 opening-round victory over Minnesota. The Longhorns took a double-digit lead with 12 minutes remaining and the lead never slipped under 10 the rest of the game. Minnesota could just never make a run to get back in the game thanks in large part to shooting just 31 percent in the second half. Texas will face Duke on Saturday.

—Duke had no trouble rolling past 15th-seeded Binghamton on Thursday night to advance to the second round. The Bearcats shot the ball well, making 52 percent of their shots, but could not overcome six Blue Devils in double figures as the Bearcats lost in their NCAA tourney debut. Duke will take on the Texas Longhorns in the second round on Saturday