The first day of the round of 64 in the NCAA tournament did not disappoint, and a few underdogs were able to pull off incredible upsets.
Two No. 12 seeds ensured that the trend of 12-5 upsets continued this year. Oregon upended Oklahoma State and cruised to a 68-55 win, while California pulled off a surprising 64-61 win over UNLV.
Then came the most shocking result of the day. No. 14 Harvard managed to take down No. 3 New Mexico to record its first tournament victory in school history.
But these teams will need to come back down to Earth right away, as the road forward will be extremely difficult.
Be sure to use the links at the bottom to get all the scores and scheduling info you need throughout the tournament. Now, here is what each of these upset winners will be looking at in the round of 32.
No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 4 Saint Louis
The Ducks pulled off the least surprising upset of the day. Oregon was massively under-seeded and Oklahoma State received an incredibly tough draw.
This was not an ideal introduction to the NCAA tournament for Cowboys freshman Marcus Smart. The star point guard failed to make his mark on the game due to excellent defense from the Ducks.
Oregon will need to continue playing excellent defense against Saint Louis, as the Billikens will turn in a quality performance on that end of the floor. Jim Crews’ team impressed in their opening game with a blowout victory over New Mexico State.
Saint Louis is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and this will be a low-scoring matchup. Hustling on the glass and avoiding turnovers will be key for Oregon, but ultimately, the Ducks’ chances to win another game in the Big Dance are slim.
Prediction: Saint Louis 64, Oregon 59
No. 6 Arizona vs. No. 14 Harvard
While Oregon had the least surprising victory on Thursday, Harvard’s win was easily the most shocking result. After winning what was supposedly an extremely tough Mountain West Conference, the Lobos were thought to be a lock for the Sweet 16.
But that all changed when four of the five Harvard starters had double-digit scoring nights. The only one who did not reach 10 points was point guard Siyani Chambers, and he dished out seven assists.
But this was the performance of a lifetime for Tommy Amaker’s team. All four of the starters who had impressive scoring stats shot over 50 percent, while Harvard as a team shot 52.4 percent for the game.
For Harvard to continue shocking the college basketball world against Arizona, it will have to be at least as efficient on offense as it was against the Lobos. But Arizona cruised past Belmont in their opening game, and it is unlikely that Harvard’s dream run will continue.
Prediction: Arizona 77, Harvard 65
No. 12 California vs. No. 4 Syracuse
Which was the most surprising upset on Thursday?
Cal was not incredibly impressive during the regular season, but senior guard Allen Crabbe stepped up with an impressive performance, while freshman Anthony Bennett failed to leave his mark on the contest.
Experience won in this game, but it will be extremely difficult for the Bears to continue winning.
Syracuse came out and unleashed a thorough beatdown on Montana. The Orange started hot and refused to take their foot off the gas pedal in an 81-34 victory.
No, that was not a typo. That was really the final score. With Syracuse clicking and having a clear talent advantage, Cal’s run will not continue into the Sweet 16.
Prediction: Syracuse 71, Cal 61
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