NCAA Tournament 2018: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for First Round

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2018

NCAA Tournament 2018: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for First Round

0 of 32

    Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    That’s why they call it March Madness.

    No. 16 UMBC scored the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history Friday night when it ran No. 1 Virginia off the court to take home a 74-54 victory and become the first No. 16 seed to knock off a top seed in 136 tries.

    The Retrievers are the most unlikely team to advance to the second round, but they’ll be joined by fellow double-digit seeds Buffalo, Loyola-Chicago, Syracuse, Butler and Marshall, who also scored a significant upset over No. 3 seed Wichita State on Friday.

    The Madness resumes on Saturday afternoon with the second round, and, given what we saw Friday night, you can expect almost anything to happen at this point.



       

    Preview analysis on the following slides written by Kerry Miller. Advanced statistics courtesy of KenPom.com and Sports Reference.  

No. 7 Texas A&M 73, No. 10 Providence 69

1 of 32

    Robert Williams
    Robert WilliamsAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    After missing their first 10 shots, the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies bounced back to knock off No. 10 Providence in Friday's opener.

    The Aggies ended up shooting 50 percent from the field, and they had four different players score in double digits.

    Providence didn't take advantage of Texas A&M's early struggles, as it shot 43.5 percent and made six of its 20 three-point attempts.

    Robert Williams and Tyler Davis recorded a double-double each for the Aggies, and they outrebounded the entire Providence team 29-26.

             

    Top Performers

    Davis had 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Williams added 13 points and 14 rebounds. Admon Gilder was Texas A&M's leading scorer with 18 points.

    Providence's Rodney Bullock led all scorers with 22, while Alpha Diallo contributed 21, but it wasn't enough for the Friars to advance.

            

    X-Factor

    DJ Hogg added an extra dimension in the paint for the Aggies, as he recorded five points, six rebounds and two blocks.

          

    Next Round

    Texas A&M faces either No. 2 North Carolina or No. 15 Lipscomb in Sunday's second round.

            

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 2 Purdue 74, No. 15 Cal State Fullerton 48

2 of 32

    Carsen Edwards
    Carsen EdwardsMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    No. 2 Purdue used a dominant second half to blow past No. 15 Cal State Fullerton in Detroit.

    The Boilermakers struggled to gain separation from the Titans in the first half and went to the locker room with a nine-point advantage.

    But Matt Painter's team threw any idea of an upset out of the window as it burst out of the gates on an 11-2 run after halftime.

    The win was the third by a Big Ten team in the NCAA tournament after Michigan and Ohio State advanced to the round of 32 on Thursday.

            

    Top Performers

    Carsen Edwards and Vincent Edwards scored 15 points each for the Boilermakers, while P.J. Thompson contributed 11.

    Kyle Allman led the Titans with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

          

    X-Factor 

    Dakota Mathias chipped in with eight points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the winning effort for Purdue.

           

    Next Round

    No. 7 Arkansas or No. 10 Butler awaits the Boilermakers in Sunday's second round.

           

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 13 Marshall 81, No. 4 Wichita State 75

3 of 32

    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    In its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1987, No. 13 Marshall won its first-ever game in the Big Dance. 

    The Thundering Herd knocked off No. 4 Wichita State to join Buffalo as the second No. 13 seed in the round of 32. 

    Despite playing without Ajdin Penava because of foul trouble, the Thundering Herd powered past head coach Gregg Marshall's team thanks to terrific shooting from Jon Elmore. 

    The Shockers had a few opportunities to stay in the game during a long final two minutes ravaged by delays, but their deep three-point efforts came up short. 

            

    Top Performers

    Elmore knocked down four three-pointers on his way to 27 points for Marshall, while Wichita State's Conner Frankamp recorded the same amount by knocking down six triples. 

                

    X-Factor 

    Jannson Williams took advantage of Penava's time on the bench, as he contributed 10 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes for the Thundering Herd. 
                      

    Next Round

    Marshall could face in-state rival No. 5 West Virginia in the second round if the Mountaineers beat No. 12 Murray State. 

                          

    —Updated by Joe Tansey 

No. 2 Cincinnati 68, No. 15 Georgia State 53

4 of 32

    Gary Clark
    Gary ClarkPhelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    No. 2 Cincinnati didn't pull away from No. 15 Georgia State until late in the second half, but the Bearcats were never in danger of losing to head coach Ron Hunter's Panthers, who won as a No. 14 seed in 2015. 

    The Bearcats delivered the final blow with a 10-0 run over three minutes started by Gary Clark's three-point shot with 9:01 remaining. 

    Clark, Kyle Washington and Jacob Evans featured in key roles for the Bearcats, but Jarron Cumberland made the real difference, as he recorded a career high of 27 points. 

            

    Top Performers

    Cumberland shot eight of 17 from the field and 4-of-11 from three-point range to lead the Bearcats.

    Washington, Clark and Evans found their way into double digits as well for head coach Mick Cronin's team, while D'Marcus Simonds led Georgia State with 24. 

                                    

    X-Factor

    Clark is normally featured, but with others in starring roles, he did all the little things right for Cincinnati with 11 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. 

                      

    Next Round 

    The Bearcats await a matchup with either No. 7 Nevada or No. 10 Texas in the second round.

                        

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 2 North Carolina 84, No. 15 Lipscomb 66

5 of 32

    Luke Maye
    Luke MayeGerry Broome/Associated Press

    No. 2 North Carolina led by just nine at halftime but ultimately dominated its first-round matchup against No. 15 Lipscomb.  

                       

    Top Performers

    Theo Pinson dropped a double-double for the Tar Heels with 15 points and 10 rebounds while also dishing out seven assists. 

    Kenny Cooper, who had 14 points, paced the Bisons. 

                                       

    X-Factor

    Kenny Williams led the Tar Heels in scoring with 18 points and was 6-of-8 from the field, including a scorching 4-of-5 from three-point range. 

                                               

    Next Round 

    UNC will face No. 7 Texas A&M on Sunday in the second round in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

No. 7 Arkansas 62, No. 10 Butler 79

6 of 32

    Daryl Macon
    Daryl MaconMichael Woods/Associated Press

    Despite erasing the deficit of a 21-2 run by Butler, Arkansas ultimately fell to the Bulldogs in the first round 79-62 on Friday. 

                      

    Top Performers

    Kelan Martin led Butler with 27 points while also pulling down nine rebounds. Kamar Baldwin added 24 points and nine rebounds as well. 

    Arkansas was paced by Jaylen Barford's 15 points. 

                                       

    X-Factor

    Butler was 42.3 percent on three-pointers, connecting on 11-of-26 attempts. Arkansas, meanwhile, was just 22.3 percent (4-of-18). 

                                               

    Next Round 

    Butler will face No. 2 seed Purdue in the second round on Sunday. 

No. 5 West Virginia 85, No. 12 Murray State 68

7 of 32

    Jevon Carter
    Jevon CarterCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    The West Virginia Mountaineers eased past a feisty Murray State squad, using their depth and defensive intensity to wear down the Racers. 

                     

    Top Performers

    Jevon Carter led WVU in scoring with 21 points. He was a jack-of-all-trades for the Mountaineers, dishing out eight assists while also adding six steals and five rebounds to his stat line.

    Terrell Miller Jr. led Murray State with 27 points and 17 rebounds for a monstrous double-double.

                                       

    X-Factor

    WVU clearly had more depth than Murray State, scoring 23 points off the bench to the Racers' 12. Teddy Allen alone scored 16 points off the bench for West Virginia.

                                               

    Next Round 

    West Virginia will face No. 13 seed Marshall in the second round, pitting a pair of in-state schools against each other with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

No. 7 Nevada 87, No. 10 Texas 83 (OT)

8 of 32

    Caleb Martin
    Caleb MartinL.E. Baskow/Associated Press

    For the first time in 11 years, Nevada is advancing in the NCAA tournament after overcoming a 14-point deficit to beat the Texas Longhorns. 

                     

    Top Performers

    Kendall Stephens led Nevada in scoring with 22 points.

    Caleb Martin, however, was the undisputed MVP of the Wolfpack as he registered a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. 

    Kerwin Roach scored a game-high 26 points to lead Texas, while Matt Coleman added 25 points. 

                                       

    X-Factor

    Nevada was red-hot in overtime, going 6-of-6 from the field and scoring 19 points in the extra period. 

                                               

    Next Round 

    Nevada will face No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round on Sunday. 

No. 9 Kansas State 69, No. 8 Creighton 59

9 of 32

    Mike McGuirl
    Mike McGuirlStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Kansas State used its trademark suffocating defense to pull away in the second half and bounce Creighton from the South Regional with a 69-59 victory on Friday night in Charlotte.

          

    Top Performers

    K-State freshman guard Mike McGuirl averaged less than two points per contest this season, but he came out of nowhere to drop 17 points, including nine from beyond the arc, to lead the Wildcats past the Bluejays and into the next round.

          

    X-Factor

    The Wildcats did what they do, which is make it very difficult for opposing teams to get good shots. Creighton finished the game shooting just 33.8 percent from the field.

          

    Next Round

    No. 9 Kansas State awaits the winner of No. 1 Virginia and No. 16 UMBC.

No. 3 Michigan State 82, No. 14 Bucknell 78

10 of 32

    Miles Bridges
    Miles BridgesGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Michigan State held off a furious final-minute run by a pesky Bucknell squad to avoid the upset and advance with a narrow 82-78 victory on Friday night in Detroit.

          

    Top Performers

    Miles Bridges dropped 29 points on a night where Bucknell's Zach Thomas set a school NCAA tournament scoring record with 27 points in the losing effort.

          

    X-Factor

    This was a four-point game at the half and wound up a four-point game at the final buzzer because the Bison wouldn't go away. Bucknell shot 55 percent from beyond the arc and connected on 11 three-point shots to keep the Spartans, who played tremendous overall defense in the second half, on their toes.

          

    Next Round

    No. 3 Michigan State awaits the winner of No. 6 TCU and No. 11 Syracuse

No. 16 UMBC 74, No. 1 Virginia 54

11 of 32

    Jairus Lyles
    Jairus LylesStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    UMBC scored the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history, becoming the first No. 16 seed to take down a top seed with a mind-boggling 74-54 victory over No. 1 Virginia on Friday night in Charlotte. Top seeds had previously won all 135 tournament games against No. 16 seeds.

         

    Top Performers

    If you didn't know Jairus Lyles before Friday—and chances are you didn't—you know him now. The senior guard almost couldn't miss, battling injuries all night to lead all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting. The only word for his performance is special.

          

    X-Factor

    We all knew that for a No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed, everything had to break the right way. And that's exactly what happened for the Retrievers. Lyles slung the team on his back, hitting big shot after big shot every time Virginia seemed to be breaking out, and the Hoos struggled offensively all night, connecting on just four of 22 shots from behind the arc.

         

    Next Round

    No. 16 UMBC will face No. 9 Kansas State.

No. 1 Xavier 102, No. 16 Texas Southern 83

12 of 32

    Paul Scruggs
    Paul ScruggsFrederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Xavier gave up 16 straight points to Texas Southern at one point early in the first half, but the Musketeers righted the ship and ran away for a 102-83 victory to continue top-seed dominance over 16 seeds on Friday night in Nashville.

         

    Top Performers

    You can really take your pick of Musketeers. J.P. Macura led all scorers with 29 points, but Trevon Bluiett's 26 and Kerem Kanter's 24 weren't far behind. The three combined for 79 points on 29-of-48 shooting from the field.

          

    X-Factor

    Xavier just had too many weapons for Texas Southern, a SWAC team that made the tournament despite an 0-13 start against an almost absurdly difficult nonconference schedule. Whenever you have three guys like Macura, Bluiett and Kanter dropping over 20 points each, it's going to be a long night.

          

    Next Round

    No. 1 Xavier will face either No. 8 Missouri or No. 9 Florida State.

No. 4 Auburn 62, No. 13 College of Charleston 58

13 of 32

    Jared Harper (left) and Cameron Johnson
    Jared Harper (left) and Cameron JohnsonSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Auburn won its first NCAA tournament game since 2003 and avoided becoming the third No. 4 seed to get bumped before the opening weekend with a scrappy 62-58 win over College of Charleston on Friday night in San Diego.

         

    Top Performers

    The Charleston Cougars didn't get the upset victory, but junior forward Jarrell Brantley did lead all scorers with 24 points and seven boards on 9-of-16 shooting

          

    X-Factor

    Charleston's final possession will be the one we're all talking about. Sophomore guard Grant Riller had a look at what would've been a tying three-point shot fall short on what appeared to be a foul. But the refs hung on to their whistles, and the rest is history.

          

    Next Round

    No. 4 Auburn will face either No. 5 Clemson or No. 12 New Mexico State.

No. 11 Syracuse 57, No. 6 TCU 52

14 of 32

    Tyus Battle (right)
    Tyus Battle (right)Associated Press

    Syracuse won its second NCAA tournament game in three days to become the only First Four team to advance to the second round with a 57-52 win over TCU on Friday night in Detroit.

          

    Top Performers

    Marek Dolezaj led all scorers with 17 points for the Orange. Oshae Brissett also contributed 13 points to go along with his nine boards.

         

    X-Factor

    This was a close, back-and-forth game throughout. The Syracuse zone gave the Horned Frogs trouble all night long. TCU turned the ball over 13 times, missed six free throws and allowed the Orange to get nine more shots. Those little things play a big role in a tight contest.

         

    Next Round

    No. 11 Syracuse will face No. 3 Michigan State.

No. 9 Florida State 67, No. 8 Missouri 54

15 of 32

    Trent Forrest (3)
    Trent Forrest (3)Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Florida State's athleticism and strong team defense gave Missouri all sorts of problems finding good shots in a 67-54 win on Friday night in Nashville.

           

    Top Performers

    FSU's big freshman Mfiondu Kabengele dominated in the paint with 14 points and 11 rebounds to set up an interesting second-round battle with the top-seeded Musketeers. Michael Porter Jr. had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Missouri in what was likely his last college game.

          

    X-Factor

    The Seminoles defense was the story here. Missouri was limited to just 33 percent shooting from the field and turned the ball over 16 times. It's hard to win when you're giving the ball away and not getting quality shots.

            

    Next Round

    No. 9 Florida State advances to face No. 1 Xavier.

No. 5 Clemson 79, No. 12 New Mexico State 68

16 of 32

    Marcquise Reed (2)
    Marcquise Reed (2)Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Clemson downed popular Cinderella pick New Mexico State 79-68 on Friday night in San Diego and advanced to a second-round battle of the Tigers against Auburn.

         

    Top Performers

    Shelton Mitchell dropped 23 points, and Gabe DeVoe added 22 to pace the Tigers. Zach Lofton led all scorers with 29 for the Aggies, but it wasn't enough to pull his team past the finish line.

          

    X-Factor

    Clemson jumped out to a dozen-point lead at halftime and then held serve in the second half. That's the kind of thing you can do when you shoot 56 percent from the field and limit your opponent to 39 percent.

          

    Next Round

    No. 5 Clemson will face No. 4 Auburn in the second round.

No. 7 Rhode Island 83, No. 10 Oklahoma 78

17 of 32

    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Fatts Russell sparked Rhode Island's 83-78 victory over Oklahoma, knocking down a trio of three-pointers and assisting on another during the second half.

    The Rams overcame a six-point deficit and eventually won in overtime, taking the lead after E.C. Matthews shook Sooners star Trae Young for the go-ahead three with 1:52 to go. They never trailed again.

    Young racked up 28 points and seven assists, but his teammates finished a meager 20-of-51 from the floor and 1-of-11 beyond the arc.

        

    Top Performers

    Matthews scored a team-high 16 points, though four Rhode Island players reached double figures. Russell had 15, Cyril Langevine added 14 and Jared Terrell finished with 13. Young paced the Sooners, while Jamuni McNeace collected 14 points and 10 rebounds.

         

    X-Factor

    Russell entered the contest as a 28.1 percent three-point shooter, but his long-range contributions swung the game in Rhode Island's favor.

         

    Next Round

    The Rams will face No. 2 Duke in the round of 32. 

        

    Updated by David Kenyon

No. 3 Tennessee 73, No. 14 Wright State 47

18 of 32

    Grant Williams
    Grant WilliamsJames Crisp/Associated Press

    Tennessee controlled its first-round matchup and painlessly dispatched Wright State 73-47 Thursday afternoon.

    Lamonte Turner amassed 19 points and nine assists for the Volunteers, who limited the Raiders to a 31.7 clip from the field. The No. 14 seed connected on just four of its 21 three-point tries.

    Other than trailing 2-0 in the opening moments of the contest, Tennessee never trailed throughout the game. The Vols shot an even 45 percent overall.

        

    Top Performers

    Turner paced UT, but Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams both had a productive showing. Schofield registered 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Williams notched 14 and nine, respectively. Loudon Love led Wright State with 12 points and nine boards.

          

    X-Factor

    The Volunteers dominated the glass, earning a 43-29 advantage on the day. Four Tennessee players snatched at least seven rebounds, while only Love and Grant Benzinger managed more than four for Wright State.

         

    Next Round

    Tennessee will meet  No. 11 Loyola-Chicago in the second round.

         

    Updated by David Kenyon

No. 4 Gonzaga 68, No. 13 UNC Greensboro 64

19 of 32

    Killian Tillie
    Killian TillieEthan Miller/Getty Images

    Well, that could've been bad for brackets.

    Gonzaga needed all 40 minutes to survive a tremendous effort from 13th-seeded UNC Greensboro, which held a 64-62 advantage with less than 120 seconds remaining in the game.

    However, Josh Perkins evened the score before Zach Norvell Jr. put the Bulldogs in front for good. He added a free throw to seal a 68-64 triumph for the Zags.

        

    Top Performers

    Johnathan Williams collected 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Perkins contributed 16 and Norvell tallied 15. They accounted for 50 of Gonzaga's 68 points. Francis Alonso and Demetrius Troy both scored 16 points for UNC Greensboro.

         

    X-Factor

    Gonzaga shot a dreadful 52 percent from the charity stripe, but Norvell buried seven of his eight attempts. His last free throw handed the Bulldogs a four-point edge, icing the result.

        

    Next Round

    No. 5 Ohio State  will challenge Gonzaga in the second round.

         

    Updated by David Kenyon

No. 1 Kansas 76, No. 16 Penn 60

20 of 32

    Devonte' Graham and Silvio De Sousa
    Devonte' Graham and Silvio De SousaJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Penn put a serious scare into Kansas, but the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region survived the Ivy League champions.

    Although the Jayhawks trailed by as many as 10 points during the first half, they put together a 22-5 run to enter the locker room with a 33-26 lead. Penn was within four points midway through the second half, but Kansas ultimately pulled away for a 76-60 victory.

    The Quakers might not have won anyway, but an ugly 5-of-14 performance at the free-throw line certainly didn't help.

        

    Top Performers

    Devonte' Graham battled an inefficient day, yet he still accumulated 29 points, six assists and six rebounds. Five more Kansas players scored at least nine points, including Lagerald Vick with 14. Penn received 14 from both Caleb Wood and AJ Brodeur.

        

    X-Factor

    Udoka Azubuike, who is battling a left knee injury, was only available in emergency. Bill Self decided that emergency happened when Penn led early, but nine points and 11 rebounds from Mitch Lightfoot reduced the need for Azubuike and limited him to three minutes.

        

    Next Round

    Kansas will clash with No. 8 Seton Hall or No. 9 North Carolina State during the second round.

        

    Updated by David Kenyon

No. 2 Duke 89, No. 15 Iona 67

21 of 32

    Marvin Bagley III
    Marvin Bagley IIIJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    No. 2 Duke overwhelmed No. 15 Iona with a barrage of three-point shots to move on to the round of 32 with an 89-67 victory. 

    The Blue Devils started hot from the field, and they went into the locker room with 53 points and a 14-point lead over the Gaels. 

    The strong shooting continued into the second half, with Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval leading the Blue Devils to a 13-of-30 day from beyond the arc. 

    Iona tried to hold its own in Pittsburgh, but it didn't have enough to keep up with the talented freshmen on the Duke roster. 

    Top Performers

    Bagley led the Blue Devils with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while Duval added 19 points of his own in his first NCAA tournament game. 

    Allen, the lone experienced hand in the starting lineup, contributed 16 points, with 12 of them coming from three-point range. 

    Iona had four players eclipse the 10-point mark, with Roland Griffin leading the team with 21 points off the bench. 

    X-Factor

    Wendell Carter didn't score as much as the other freshmen on Duke's roster, but he provided solid play on the boards, picking up eight rebounds to go along with nine points. 

    Next Round

    Duke plays No. 7 Rhode Island in the round of 32 on Saturday. 

    --Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 11 Loyola-Chicago 64, No. 6 Miami 62

22 of 32

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Donte Ingram's three-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining sent No. 11 Loyola-Chicago to the round of 32 with a 64-62 win over No. 6 Miami. 

    The Ramblers pushed down the court on their final offensive possession after Lonnie Walker missed the front end of his one-and-one. 

    The Missouri Valley Conference champion opted not to call a timeout, and Ingram knocked down an open look from the top of the key to give the Ramblers their first NCAA tournament victory since 1985. 

             

    Top Performers

    Ingram was one of four Loyola players to reach double digits, as he scored 13 points, with nine of them coming from three-point range. 

    Clayton Custer, who tied the game at 60-60 with a three-pointer, led the Ramblers with 14 points. 

    Walker was Miami's top scorer with 12 points, while Ja'Quan Newton and Dewan Huell added 11 each. 

                      

    X-Factor

    Loyola freshman center Cameron Krutwig added 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist in his first NCAA tournament appearance. 

                    

    Next Round

    Loyola will go for its second upset Saturday against No. 3 Tennessee.

            

    —Updated by Joe Tansey 

No. 5 Ohio State 81, No. 12 South Dakota State 73

23 of 32

    Keita Bates-Diop
    Keita Bates-DiopPaul Vernon/Associated Press

    No. 5 Ohio State used an 11-3 run to finish off an 81-73 win over No. 12 South Dakota State. 

    After the Jackrabbits tied the game at 70-70 with 1:53 to go, Kam Williams completed a four-point play and knocked down three additional free throws 22 seconds later to create distance. 

    South Dakota State deserves credit for even getting a chance to pull off an upset, as it was down nine points with seven minutes left in the game. 

           

    Top Performers

    Williams scored seven key points down the stretch to fend off the upset-minded Jackrabbits. 

    He was one of three Ohio State players who scored more than 20 points, as Keita Bates-Diop led the charge with 24 points and 12 rebounds. 

    Mike Daum led all scorers with 27 points in defeat for the Summit League champions.

            

    X-Factor

    Andrew Dakich did all the little things on both sides of the court to provide the Buckeyes with an extra advantage. 

    Dakich totaled five points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. 

               

    Next Round

    Ohio State will play No. 4 Gonzaga in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday. 

         

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 8 Seton Hall 94, No. 9 North Carolina State 83

24 of 32

    Angel Delgado
    Angel DelgadoNati Harnik/Associated Press

    Although they weren't up by much for the duration of their first-round win, the No. 8 Seton Hall Pirates were in control from start to finish in their 94-83 victory over the No. 9 NC State Wolfpack. 

    NC State got within three points of Kevin Willard's Pirates in the second half, but the Big East team pulled away with an 8-0 run immediately after the Wolfpack made things interesting. 

    The victory was the first in the NCAA tournament for Seton Hall since 2004, and it achieved that without the presence of Angel Delgado in the paint, who was dealing with foul trouble. 

              

    Top Performers

    Khadeen Carrington led the Pirates with 26 points, while Desi Rodriguez contributed 20.

    Carrington and Myles Powell combined to go 21-of-25 at the free-throw line as Seton Hall finished off its ACC foe. 

    Allerik Freeman netted a career-high 36 points in defeat for NC State. 

               

    X-Factor

    With Delgado on the bench in foul trouble, Ismael Sanogo recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

                 

    Next Round

    Seton Hall takes on No. 1 Kansas in Saturday's second round. 

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 1 Villanova 87, No. 16 Radford 61

25 of 32

    Mikal Bridges
    Mikal BridgesChris Szagola/Associated Press

    No surprise here. Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges dominated as the top-ranked Villanova Wildcats easily disposed of the Radford Highlanders, 87-61. The Wildcats built a 21-point lead by halftime then extended that in the second half on the strength of 59.6 percent shooting from the field, with six players hitting double digits.

    Radford was looking for a big game from junior guard Ed Polite Jr. He was impactful on the offensive glass, with six rebounds (eight total), but contributed just six points on 3-of-10 shooting.

             

    Top Performers

    Brunson finished as the game's leading scorer with 16 points, while Bridges had 13. Sophomore guard Donald Hicks impressed for Radford with 13 points despite finishing with five fouls.

            

    X-Factor

    The deep Wildcats team stayed dangerous no matter who was on the court. Freshman forward Omari Spellman made an impact with 10 points and seven boards.

           

    Next Round

    The Wildcats will face No. 9 Alabama in the second round.

            

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 5 Kentucky 78, No. 12 Davidson 73

26 of 32

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Closer than it should have been in the battle of Wildcats vs. Wildcats, three-point shooting was nearly the undoing of Kentucky, who went 0-for-6 from beyond the arc on their way to a 78073 win over Davidson in the South Region.

    Davidson shot 9-for-30 from long range, keeping it close in the second half before the Wildcats took advantage of sharp free-throw shooting to secure their victory. All told, Kentucky was 24-for-30 from the line, while Davidson was 12 for 15.

       

    Top Performers

    Freshman Kevin Knox went 7-for-9 from the line, making key free throws down the stretch and logging a team-high 23 points. Sophomore guard Jon Axel Gudmunsson went 6-for-10 from three-point territory on his way to a team-leading 21 points for Davidson.

        

    X-Factor

    You can't win without threes in modern basketball, but Kentucky pulled it off. Thursday's win is the first time in more than 1,000 games that the Wildcats haven't sunk a single shot from long range. John Calipari will need to find a way to change that up in the second round.

        

    Next Round

    The Wildcats No. 13 Buffalo in the second round.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 6 Houston 67, No. 11 San Diego State 65

27 of 32

    Rob Gray
    Rob GrayAssociated Press

    Senior guard Rob Gray led the way with 39 points and eight rebounds as the Houston Cougars hung on to beat the San Diego State Aztecs, 67-65, in West Regional action in Wichita, Kansas.

    Though the Cougars trailed only briefly—early in the first half—the Aztecs kept it interesting, erasing a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the game twice in the last 1:08. Gray's layup with two seconds left decided the game.

                

    Top Performers

    It's all Gray. He went 12-of-25 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point land. Add in 11 free throws and eight rebounds, and he was easily the game's MVP.

    For the Aztecs, freshman Jalen McDaniels shot just 4-of-11 from the field but still led his team with 18 points. Two other players hit double figures (Malik Pope and Trey Kell).

                 

    X-Factor

    Devin Watson made two clutch threes for San Diego State to keep the pressure on in those dying minutes. The junior guard finished with nine points, but six of them came in the final 1:08.

                

    Next Round

    The Cougars will face No. 3 Michigan in the second round Saturday.

            

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 Texas Tech 70, No. 14 Stephen F. Austin 60

28 of 32

    Keenan Evans
    Keenan EvansJohn Weast/Getty Images

    The battle of Texas went down to the wire before the Texas Tech Red Raiders disposed of Stephen F. Austin, 70-60, in first-round play in Dallas.

    The upset-minded Lumberjacks took a three-point lead into halftime and looked like they could bust the bracket in the East Regional before the Red Raiders rallied late. Zhaire Smith logged just 10 points for Texas Tech, but one monster dunk in each half were game highlights.

                   

    Top Performers

    Perfect 10-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line highlighted senior Keenan Evans' 23 points for Texas Tech. Lumberjacks guard Ivan Canete did his best to match Evans by putting up 17 points, including a 6-of-6 performance from the line.

               

    X-Factor

    The composed Red Raiders outscored the Lumberjacks 11-2 once they took the lead for good on an Evans layup with 3:58 to play. Smith provided the fireworks with his dunks, but workmanlike free-throw shooting made the difference.

        

    Next Round

    The Red Raiders will face No. 6 Florida in the second round Saturday.

            

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 9 Alabama 86, No. 8 Virginia Tech 83

29 of 32

    Collin Sexton
    Collin SextonAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Colin Sexton led the way with 25 points as the Alabama Crimson Tide squeezed past the Virginia Tech Hokies to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

    Shot-blocking was expected to be a big issue in this game for the Hokies, but it wasn't. The final stat line favored Alabama just 3-1. The Crimson Tide overcame a two-point deficit at halftime on the strength of better overall shooting and manufacturing chances at the foul line.

       

    Top Performers

    Sexton was 10-of-14 shooting free throws and had six assists to go along with his strong work from the field for Alabama. Justin Robinson led the way for Virginia Tech with 19 points but fouled out in the late going, as did Kerry Blackshear Jr.

        

    X-Factor

    Off the bench, freshman John Petty chipped in 20 points for Alabama on 6-of-9 shooting.

        

    Next Round

    The Crimson Tide will face No. 1 seed Villanova in the second round.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 13 Buffalo 89, No. 4 Arizona 68

30 of 32

    Wes Clark
    Wes ClarkKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    In the biggest upset of the 2018 NCAA tournament so far, the Buffalo Bulls outscored the powerhouse Arizona Wildcats by 19 points in the second half on their way to an 89-68 win in the South Region bracket in Boise, Idaho.

    The beleaguered Wildcats had trouble defending against the aggressive Bulls, who shot 54.8 percent from the field.

       

    Top Performers

    Buffalo's two-pronged attack was led by senior guard Wes Clark, who had 25 points. Junior Jeremy Harris was right behind with 23. 

    Seven-foot Serbian center Dusan Ristic was Arizona's top scorer, with 16 points.

        

    X-Factor

    Long-range shooting was the ticket for Buffalo. Both teams attempted a similar number of field goals—62 for the Bulls, 64 for the Wildcats. But Buffalo bet heavy on the long ball, attempting 30 of those shots from long range and making 15. Arizona tried 18 and made just two. 

        

    Next Round

    The Bulls will face No. 5 seed Kentucky in the second round.

         

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 Michigan 61, No. 14 Montana 47

31 of 32

    Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
    Muhammad-Ali Abdur-RahkmanAssociated Press

    Tough defense helped the Michigan Wolverines overcome an unexpected challenge to defeat the Montana Grizzlies 61-47 in the first round of their West Region bracket on Thursday.

    Montana scored the first 10 points of the game before Michigan got into gear. By halftime, the Wolverines had grabbed a three-point lead, and they limited the Grizzlies to just 19 points in the second half.

         

    Top Performers

    In a low-scoring game, junior guard Charles Matthews stood out for Michigan, leading his team with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. For Montana, Michael Oguine and Ahmaad Rorie drove the offense with 15 points each.  

       

    X-Factor

    That crucial first basket by Matthews, who got Michigan off the schneid 4:16 into the game. Beyond that, the Wolverines did a good job of keeping shot options tough for the Grizzlies, who shot just 32.1 percent from the field.

        

    Next Round

    Michigan will face sixth-seeded Houston in the second round.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 6 Florida 77, No. 11 St. Bonaventure 62

32 of 32

    KeVaughn Allen
    KeVaughn AllenJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    The underdogs gave it everything they had, but in the end, No. 6 Florida prevailed over No. 11 St. Bonaventure, 77-62.

    The Gators went cold in the first half, allowing the Bonnies to take a 22-21 lead after a 13-1 run, but Florida built a five-point cushion by intermission and took control in the second half.

              

    Top Performers

    Senior guard Egor Koulechov delivered under pressure, going 4-of-10 from three-point territory on his way to a team-leading 20 points for Florida. Chris Chiozza added 11 assists.

    Three starters hit double digits for St. Bonaventure, led by 14 points from Courtney Stockard.

              

    X-Factor

    The Gators played great defense, limiting the Bonnies to just 48 field-goal tries and a 35.4 percent success rate. Blocked shots weren't a significant factor, but Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen each had three steals.

                 

    Next Round

    The Gators will face No. 3 Texas Tech in the second round Saturday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram