By the end of the first group of games in the round of 64, perfect brackets were already narrowed down to a select few.
Of the first four games, two of them were considerable upsets as a No. 11 and No. 12 seed were victorious.
No. 12 Harvard beat No. 5 Cincinnati, 61-57. Now, I'm sure there were plenty of brackets that had Harvard advancing. Although Cincinnati is an outstanding defensive team, Harvard, as it showed, has the shooters and disciplined offense to beat that defense.
Also, it was just last year when the Crimson won in the round of 64 as a No. 14 seed.
How many brackets, however, had Harvard and Dayton both winning?
No. 11 Dayton wasn't garnering a lot of pre-tournament buzz and was taking on a battle-tested Ohio State team. No matter, Dayton pulled off the upset, 60-59.
I'll have more on these two games below, but first take a look at the day's scores.
|South||12:15 p.m.||No. 6 Ohio State||No. 11 Dayton||CBS||Dayton 60-59|
|South||30 min after Ohio State vs. Dayton||No. 3 Syracuse||No. 14 Western Michigan||CBS||Syracuse 77-53|
|South||1:40 p.m.||No. 8 Colorado||No. 9 Pittsburgh||TBS||Pittsburgh 77-48|
|South||30 min. after Colorado vs. Pittsburgh||No. 1 Florida||No. 16 Albany||TBS||Florida 67-55|
|East||2:10 p.m.||No. 5 Cincinnati||No. 12 Harvard||TNT||Harvard 61-57|
|East||30 min after Cincinnati vs. Harvard||No. 4 Michigan State||No. 13 Delaware||TNT||Michigan State 93-78|
|East||6:55 p.m.||No. 7 Connecticut||No. 10 Saint Joseph's||TBS|
|East||30 min after Connecticut vs. Saint Joseph's||No. 2 Villanova||No. 15 Milwaukee||TBS|
|Midwest||7:10 p.m.||No. 2 Michigan||No. 15 Wofford||CBS||Michigan, 57-40|
|Midwest||30 min after Michigan vs. Wofford||No. 7 Texas||No. 10 Arizona State||CBS|
|Midwest||7:20 p.m.||No. 5 Saint Louis||No. 12 NC State||TNT|
|Midwest||30 min after Saint Louis vs. NC State||No. 4 Louisville||No. 13 Manhattan||TNT|
|West||12:40 p.m.||No. 2 Wisconsin||No. 15 American||truTV||Wisconsin 75-35|
|West||30 min after Wisconsin vs. BYU||No. 7 Oregon||No. 10 BYU||truTV||Oregon 87-68|
|West||7:27 p.m.||No. 5 Oklahoma||No. 12 North Dakota State||truTV|
|West||30 min after Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State||No. 4 San Diego State||No. 13 New Mexico State||truTV|
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(12) Harvard 61, (5) Cincinnati 57
The mystical 12-5 matchup produced another upset. This one came in the East Region, and SportsCenter helped celebrate the moment:
Harvard's win vs. Cincinnati makes it 13 of the last 14 years that a 12 seed has upset a 5. pic.twitter.com/CCwgZCYK60— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 20, 2014
Wesley Saunders led the way for Tommy Amaker's Ivy League champions with 12 points, but it was a balanced offensive effort. The Crimson had five players score at least nine points.
The defense deserves the majority of the credit for this one. Harvard was forcing the Bearcats into tough looks on almost every possession and held them to 36.8 percent shooting from the floor.
Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick scored 18 points to lead the Bearcats, and his effort helped keep the game close. CBS analyst Seth Davis was impressed:
Kilpatrick is like a vampire. You better drive a stake through his heart or he's gonna bite you.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 20, 2014
Despite finishing 17-of-28 on free throws, Harvard was able to keep Kilpatrick and Cincinnati at bay to earn the win.
Next up is No. 4 Michigan State, which took care of business against No. 13 Delaware.
Harvard must increase its shooting percentage if it wants to pile up more upsets. On Thursday, it shot just 43.2 percent from the field. The Bearcats, however, feature the fifth-best scoring defense in the nation.
(11) Dayton 60, (6) Ohio State 59
As the first game in the round of 64, this in-state rivalry did not disappoint. This was a sloppy game, but it was exciting.
The lead went back and forth, with 15 lead changes in all right up until the final whistle.
Ohio State took the lead with just less than 16 seconds left when Aaron Craft found room to hit a reverse layup.
Moments later, it was Craft who was getting beaten. Vee Sanford got into the lane and converted a close shot with six seconds left. Craft missed a final attempt for Ohio State to end the Buckeyes' season.
The two schools are separated by less than 100 miles, and the victory was sweet for the Flyers.
"I guess they called us the little brother, or whatever," Flyers guard Jordan Sibert said in a quote captured by The Associated Press, via ESPN. "We can't be called that anymore."
Dayton advances to take on Syracuse in the round of 32. Syracuse beat Western Michigan 77-53 to advance.
Syracuse will bring its traditional zone defense to try and stop Dayton. The Flyers will have to shoot much better than they did on Thursday, especially from distance, to survive. Dayton shot 44.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from beyond the arc.
(9) Pittsburgh 77, (8) Colorado 48
We won't find many matchups between the eighth and ninth seeds that are this lopsided. This game was never in doubt.
Center Talib Zanna overwhelmed the Buffaloes from the opening whistle. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half, making six of his seven shots. His performance helped Pitt take a 46-18 lead into halftime.
In all, the Panthers shot 51 percent from the floor and dominated on defense as well. Colorado shot just 35.7 percent.
The reason I'm highlighting this game is because of how good Pitt looked, and Pitt advances to take on No. 1 seed Florida.
The Gators advanced past Albany 67-55, but they trailed for stretches in that game and looked less than dominant. Now, this doesn't mean Florida is doomed. There is no reason to overreact to a slow start.
With as great as Pitt looked, however, if the Gators are sluggish at all in that matchup, the Panthers will bury them and not let them back up for air.