NCAA Tournament 2019: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for First Round

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

NCAA Tournament 2019: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for First Round

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    Round 1 of 2019 March Madness is in the books.

    We didn't get a Virginia-level upset this year. All of the No. 1 seeds cruised through their opening games with relative ease. Some brackets may have been busted by schools like Liberty and Ohio State, and the South Region produced two upsets that have No. 12 Oregon and No. 13 UC Irvine set to square off. 

    Check back for our experts' second-round previews and predictions, coming soon, and stick with Bleacher Report for up-to-the-minute coverage throughout this year's NCAA tournament.

No. 10 Iowa 79, No. 7 Cincinnati 72

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    No. 10 Iowa used a barrage of three-pointers in the second half to rally from a five-point halftime deficit and knock off No. 7 Cincinnati.

    The Hawkeyes took the lead with 5:47 left in the second half on a Nicholas Baer three-point shot and never let go.

    Baer, Jordan Bohannon, Luke Garza and Joe Wieskamp all chipped in during Iowa's second-half surge. Back-to-back baskets from Wieskamp and Bohannon secured the victory with just over a minute left.

    Iowa made 11 of its 22 three-point shots and finished the game off at the free-throw line to become the third No. 10 seed to pick up a first-round victory.

             

    Top Performers

    Garza led the Hawkeyes with 20 points, while Wieskamp added 19 in the victory. Justin Jenifer led the Bearcats with 19 points.

                

    X-Factor

    As Tyler Cook dealt with foul trouble, Baer made some important contributions off the bench by scoring 10 points and pulling down four rebounds.

                

    Next Round

    Iowa faces either No. 2 Tennessee or No. 15 Colgate in the second round Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

                

    --Updated by Joe Tansey.

No. 9 Oklahoma 95, No. 8 Ole Miss 72

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    Associated Press

    No. 9 Oklahoma stormed into the second round with one of the tournament's most impressive performances. The Sooners dominated No. 8 Ole Miss from start to finish to set up a potential clash with No. 1 seed Virginia.

    Oklahoma had the game in the bag by halftime as it put up 50 first-half points on the Rebels. It continued the offensive onslaught in the second half to record its highest point total of the season.

    The loss capped a miserable finish to the season for Ole Miss, which dropped five of its last six games.

                   

    Top Performers

    Christian James and Rashard Odomes scored 20 points each for the Sooners, while Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek also worked their way into double digits.

              

    X-Factor

    Odomes, who averages 6.7 points per game, exploded for his best scoring performance of the season.

               

    Next Round

    Oklahoma will likely meet No. 1 Virginia on Sunday in the second round in Columbia, South Carolina.

              

    --Updated by Joe Tansey.

No. 3 Texas Tech 72, No. 14 Northern Kentucky 57

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    Jarrett Culver
    Jarrett CulverDavid K Purdy/Getty Images

    No. 3 Texas Tech became the fourth Big 12 team to book its spot in the second round, as it controlled its first-round contest with No. 14 Northern Kentucky.

    As he has all season, Jarrett Culver starred for the Red Raiders. He also produced a terrific defensive performance against NKU star Drew McDonald, who was held to five points.

    Chris Beard's team pulled away from the Horizon League tournament champion in the second half as it extended a four-point halftime lead to double digits.

    Texas Tech's victory was the third win of 10 points or more by a Big 12 team in the first round. Kansas and Oklahoma were the other two.

               

    Top Performers

    Culver led all scorers with 29 points for the Red Raiders, while Tyler Sharpe provided 23 points for the Norse in defeat.

                

    X-Factor

    Tariq Owens was one of the Texas Tech players who put the clamps on McDonald's offensive production, and he contributed 12 points, five blocks and three rebounds.

                

    Next Round

    The Red Raiders take on the winner of No. 6 Buffalo vs. No. 11 Arizona State on Sunday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

             

    --Updated by Joe Tansey.

No. 13 UC Irvine 70, No. 4 Kansas State 64

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    Robert Cartwright
    Robert CartwrightAssociated Press

    In one of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far, No. 13 UC Irvine took down No. 4 Kansas State 70-64. The Anteaters extended their winning streak to 17 games with the victory over the Big 12 regular-season co-champions.

    UC Irvine went into the game as a popular upset pick with Kansas State star forward Dean Wade out for the tournament with a foot injury.

    Behind timely three-point shooting and a defense that held the Wildcats under 70 points, the Anteaters advanced to the second round Sunday.

    The win also marked UC Irvine's first NCAA tournament victory.

               

    Top Performers

    Max Hazzard was the lightning bolt for UC Irvine, connecting on five three-pointers en route to a 19-point outing.

    Makol Mawien had a double-double for K-State with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

                

    X-Factor

    Kansas State spent most of the game testing the limits of its depth with injuries and foul trouble. Barry Brown Jr. missed nearly 16 minutes of the first half after picking up two fouls. Cartier Diarra had four fouls early in the second half, and Xavier Sneed fouled out late.

                

    Next Round

    UC Irvine will face the winner of No. 5 Wisconsin-No. 12 Oregon on Sunday in the second round.

             

    --Updated by Sean Frye.

No. 2 Tennessee 77, No. 15 Colgate 70

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    BILL FEIG/Associated Press

    The No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers sweated it out until the end, but a late run pushed the Vols to a 77-70 win over the No. 15 Colgate Raiders in the first round in the South Region. 

    While Tennessee led most of the way, Colgate took a 52-50 lead with 11:37 left in the game. Colgate stayed within single digits the rest of the way, but the Volunteers held on to advance. 

                                   

    Top Performers

    Admiral Schofield hit two big three-pointers in the final 95 seconds of regulation to help give the Volunteers the distance they needed. He finished the game with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting with four rebounds. 

    Colgate's Jordan Burns led all scorers with 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-13 on three-pointers.  

                               

    X-Factor

    While not putting up points in volume, Grant Williams was efficient on the floor with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting while leading Tennessee with seven rebounds. 

                                       

    Next Round

    Tennessee will face No. 10 Iowa, which beat No. 7 Cincinnati 79-72, in the second round Sunday at Nationwide Arena. 

                      

    —Updated by Sean Frye.

No. 1 Virginia 71, No. 16 Gardner-Webb 56

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    De'Andre Hunter
    De'Andre HunterAssociated Press

    For a while, it looked like history was about to repeat itself. The No. 16 Gardner-Webb Bulldogs led the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers by as many as 14 points in the first half.

    But a 41-20 second half advantage for the Cavaliers put last year's ghosts to rest as UVA defeated Gardner-Webb 71-56 to advance to the second round in the South Region. 

                                                    

    Top Performers

    De'Andre Hunter led Virginia with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field coupled with six rebounds and two blocks. 

    Jose Perez paced Gardner-Webb with 19 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting. 

                                                              

    X-Factor

    Mamadi Diakite came off the bench for Virginia and poured in 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting with nine rebounds. 

                                       

    Next Round

    Virginia will face the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners in the second round Sunday at Colonial Life Arena. 

                                           

    —Updated by Sean Frye.

No. 6 Buffalo 91, No. 11 Arizona State 74

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    Jeremy Harris had a double-double for Buffalo.
    Jeremy Harris had a double-double for Buffalo.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    No. 6 Buffalo led the final 32 minutes in a dominant 91-74 win over the No. 11 Arizona State Sun Devils, marking the second straight season the Bulls have won an NCAA tournament game. 

    The 17-point margin of victory was the third-largest by a MAC school in tourney history, according to ESPN Stats & Info.        

                                                                          

    Top Performers

    Jeremy Harris posted a double-double for Buffalo, scoring 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting with 10 rebounds. He also had four assists and two steals. 

    Zylan Cheatham led the Sun Devils with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with eight boards, three assists, two steals and a block.

                                                  

    X-Factor

    The Bulls' sixth man, Nick Perkins, had his own double-double. He came off the bench to score 21 points and grab 10 rebounds.

                                            

    Next Round

    Buffalo will face the No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders in the West Region's second round Saturday. 

                                      

    —Updated by Sean Frye.

No. 12 Oregon 72, No. 5 Wisconsin 54

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    Oregon advanced to the second round with a win over Wisconsin.
    Oregon advanced to the second round with a win over Wisconsin.Associated Press

    No. 12 Oregon is starting to peak. 

    After earning a bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the Pac-12 tourney title, the Ducks upset No. 5 Wisconsin 72-54 by pulling away in the second half of the first round on Friday.

    The Ducks and Badgers were tied at 25 at halftime. But Oregon outscored Wisconsin 47-29 in the final 20 minutes to advance to the second round. 

                                   

    Top Performers

    Payton Pritchard went 8-of-18 from the field to lead Oregon with 19 points. The guard also added eight assists and five rebounds to fill the stat sheet.

    Wisconsin's Ethan Happ had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers.

                               

    X-Factor

    Oregon was hot from behind the arc, connecting on seven of 15 three-pointers while Wisconsin was just 6-of-30. 

                                       

    Next Round

    Oregon will face No. 13 UC Irvine, which upset Kansas State, on Sunday in the second round. 

                      

    —Updated by Sean Frye.

No. 9 Washington 78, No. 8 Utah State 61

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    Sam Merrill
    Sam MerrillTony Dejak/Associated Press

    Our experts were split on this game, but with an aggressive defensive approach, the Washington Huskies got off to a good start in their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011. The Huskies kept Mountain West Player of the Year Sam Merrill off the scoresheet in the first half and limited him to 10 points in total on their way to a comfortable win over Utah State.

    Turnovers were the undoing of the Aggies in a game that had its share of sloppiness at both ends of the court. Utah State coughed up the ball 21 times, while Washington had 14. 

    Down by 12 at halftime, Utah State made a strong push to start the second half—whittling the Washington lead down to just one point with 9:54 left to play—before the Huskies reasserted their control.

                 

    Top Performers

    Senior forward Noah Dickerson had a double-double for Washington with 20 points and 12 boards. With Merrill largely neutralized, Utah State’s leading scorer was Brock Miller, who had 13 points.

               

    X-Factor

    Pac-12 All-Defensive recipient Matisse Thybulle was his usual tenacious self, with five steals and three blocks to go along with 10 points.

                     

    Next Round

    Washington will face the winner of North Carolina vs. Iona in its second-round matchup on Sunday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 1 Duke 85, No. 16 North Dakota State 62

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    Zion Williamson
    Zion WilliamsonKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It started out closer than expected for a matchup between a top seed and a No. 16 seed, but Duke is through to the second round after dispatching No. 16 North Dakota State in East Region action on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.

    With a free throw by junior guard Vinnie Shahid, North Dakota State took a 25-24 lead with 2:35 left to play in the first half, but that's when Duke woke up. The Blue Devils outscored the Bison 7-2 to take a four-point lead into the locker room and then came back out with a 9-0 run to start the second half before cruising to an easy win.

    The Blue Devils shot 50.8 percent in the game, while the Bison finished at 36.2 percent.

                  

    Top Performers 

    Zion Williamson delivered as expected for the Blue Devils, going 12-of-16 from the field for 25 points and adding three boards. Shahid did everything he could to force the upset, dropping 20 points for the Bison.

               

    X-Factor

    With 26 points and 15 boards, Duke freshman RJ Barrett showed that March Madness suits him well.

                     

    Next Round

    Duke will face the winner of Friday's late game between VCU and UCF in second-round action on Sunday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 Houston 84, No. 14 Georgia State 55

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    With a strong defensive effort, Houston comfortably advanced to the second round of the Midwest Regional by knocking out Georgia State on Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    The Panthers were held to just 30 percent shooting from the field in the game and tallied only two assists in the first half as they struggled to make shots from inside. Down by nine at the break, Georgia State failed to mount much pushback as they were outscored by 20 in the second half.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Senior guard Corey Davis Jr. lived up to his status as Houston's top scorer, dropping 26 points while adding six assists and seven rebounds. D'Marcus Simonds led the way for Georgia State with 18 points.

               

    X-Factor

    The Panthers' perimeter attack failed to click on Friday. Georgia State went just 6-of-23 from three-point territory. 

                     

    Next Round

    Houston will square off against the winner of Iowa State vs. Ohio State in second-round Midwest Regional action on Sunday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 12 Liberty 80, No. 5 Mississippi State 76

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Our experts were split on this matchup and rightfully so.

    A three-pointer by Lovell Cabbil Jr. with 1:21 left to play gave the No. 12 Liberty Flames a lead they wouldn't relinquish in a nail-biting 80-76 upset of the No. 5 Mississippi State Bulldogs in first-round East Regional action Friday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

    Mississippi State was up by two points at halftime and led by as many as 10 in the second frame, but Caleb Homesley's three-point jumper with 2:39 left in the second half gave Liberty a one-point lead, setting off a battle down to the final buzzer.

                         

    Top Performers 

    Homesley scored 30 points for Liberty, while senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon had 27 for Mississippi State.

                         

    X-Factor

    Fouls were an issue for the Bulldogs, with the backcourt of Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters both playing with four late in the game.

                         

    Next Round

    Liberty will face the winner of Friday's game between the No. 4 Virginia Tech Hokies and No. 13 Saint Louis Billikens in the East Region's second round.

                       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 1 North Carolina 88, No. 16 Iona 73

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Strong first-half perimeter shooting by Iona teased the possibility of a major upset in the late game of the Midwest Regional bracket in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday.

    In the end, North Carolina surged back with a 55-point second half to punch its ticket to the second round, and Roy Williams improved his career first-round record to 29-0.

    Iona made 10 three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes on its way to taking a 38-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Cameron Johnson led the way with 21 points for North Carolina and added seven rebounds, while Luke Maye finished one board shy of a double-double. Rickey McGill went 7-of-9 from downtown for a 26-point night for Iona.

               

    X-Factor

    The Tar Heels were tough on the boards all night. They out-rebounded the Gaels 52-26, including 20-2 on the offensive glass.

                     

    Next Round

    In the Midwest Region’s second round, the Tar Heels will face No. 9 Washington on Sunday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 9 UCF 73, No. 8 VCU 58

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    Tacko Fall
    Tacko FallRichard Shiro/Associated Press

    With a stellar defensive effort, UCF punched its ticket to the second round with a 15-point win over VCU in Friday's East Regional action in Columbia, South Carolina.

    The Knights limited the Rams to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half and shut them down completely from long range while hitting 46.7 percent of their own shots and going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. VCU hit six threes in the second half but still finished with a 31.1 percent rate from the field for the game.     

          

    Top Performers 

    UCF relied on scoring by committee. Big 7'6" Tacko Fall had the double-double with 13 points to go along with 18 rebounds and five blocks—one of three Knights players to hit double digits. Marcus Evans returned to the VCU lineup after dealing with a bone bruise, but he was limited to just six points.

                   

    X-Factor

    UCF shot well from long range, going 9-of-14 on the night. Off the bench, Frank Bertz hit three treys for nine points. VCU wasn't shy about shooting from behind the arc, but went just 6-of-26.

                     

    Next Round

    In the East Region's second round, UCF will face No. 1 Duke on Sunday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 11 Ohio State 62, No. 6 Iowa State 59

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    Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

    Three of our four experts picked the favored Iowa State to win, but Ohio State pulled out the upset in a close affair with strong play down the homestretch. The Buckeyes fended off the Cyclones' last minute-push to advance in the Midwest Region in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Trouble was brewing in the first half, when Ohio State took a two-point lead into the locker room. Though they shot just 39.7 percent from the field, the Buckeyes were able to get enough looks to earn the win and went 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.

                                  

    Top Performers 

    Sophomore Kaleb Wesson once again proved his worth to the Buckeyes, earning a double-double and leading his team with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Marial Shayok took charge for the Cyclones with 23 points. 

                                  

    X-Factor

    Though they didn't do quite enough to help the Cyclones advance, Iowa State's bench players were impressive, with 26 points from Lindell Wigginton and Cameron Lard. Ohio State got just four points off its bench from Duane Washington Jr.

                                     

    Next Round

    In second-round Midwest Region action Sunday, Ohio State will face the No. 3 Houston Cougars at the BOK Center.

                      

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 4 Virginia Tech 66, No. 13 Saint Louis 52

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Finishing out first-round action, Virginia Tech had little trouble dispatching Saint Louis in East Regional action in San Jose, California.

    Pressuring the Billikens into foul trouble, the Hokies hit 22 of 27 shots from the foul line while limiting Saint Louis to just 16 free-throw attempts.

    Virginia Tech came out of the gate strong, building a 40-18 lead by halftime on its way to its first NCAA tournament win in 12 years.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Nickeil Alexander-Walker took charge for the Hokies, finishing with 20 points and six boards. Javon Bess had a double-double for Saint Louis with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

               

    X-Factor

    Returning from a foot injury, Justin Robinson came off the bench with nine points for Virginia Tech.

                     

    Next Round

    In the East Region's second round, Virginia Tech will face Liberty on Sunday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 10 Minnesota 86, No. 7 Louisville 76

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    Jordan Nwora
    Jordan NworaJamie Squire/Getty Images

    No. 10 Minnesota survived a late push from No. 7 Louisville to secure the first victory of the first round Thursday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa. 

    The Golden Gophers, who led by five points at halftime, broke the game open at the start of the second half with three-point shooting, strong play on the glass and frustrating defense.

    Five consecutive points from Darius Perry brought the Cardinals within seven points with two minutes remaining, but that was as close as Chris Mack's team would get. 

    Minnesota received all 86 of its points from its five starters, all of whom finished with at least 13. 

                 

    Top Performers 

    Minnesota freshman Gabe Kalscheur knocked down five three-pointers to lead the Golden Gophers with 24 points. Christen Cunningham scored 22 points in defeat for the Cardinals. 

               

    X-Factor

    Daniel Oturu provided a nice complement to Jordan Murphy in the paint for Minnesota, as he contributed 13 points, six rebounds and two assists. 

                     

    Next Round

    Minnesota will likely face Big Ten foe and East Region No. 2 seed Michigan State in the second round Saturday. 

              

    Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 3 LSU 79, No. 14 Yale 74

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    No. 3 LSU's 16-point halftime lead nearly evaporated in the final minutes of the second half against No. 14 Yale.

    The Tigers cruised through the first half and the majority of the second half, but the Bulldogs out of the Ivy League made a late surge after getting hot from deep. 

    Yale shot 22 percent from beyond the arc on the day, but it made four three-pointers in the final minute to force LSU to close out the game at the free-throw line. 

    The Tigers answered by hitting nine of their 10 free throws in the last 60 seconds to clinch a spot in the second round. 

              

    Top Performers

    Skylar Mays led LSU with 19 points, while Tremont Waters added 15. Yale's Alex Copeland was the game's top scorer with 24 points. 

              

    X-Factor

    Kavell Bigby-Williams affected everything Yale did in the paint, as he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. 

              

    Next Round

    LSU faces the winner of No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Belmont in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday. 

            

    Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 5 Auburn 78, No. 12 New Mexico State 77

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    Bruce Pearl
    Bruce PearlTom Pennington/Getty Images

    No. 5 Auburn stumbled to the finish line in its one-point victory over No. 12 New Mexico State.

    The Tigers appeared to have an easy first-round win in the bag, but the Aggies stormed back from a double-digit deficit to leave the result up in the air until the last second. 

    Auburn's late-game execution featured a comedy of errors, including turnovers, missed free throws and fouling a three-point shooter with one second left. 

    New Mexico State's Terrell Brown had an opportunity to win the game, but he missed two of his three free throws. 

    The Aggies had one final shot at victory as the buzzer sounded, but Trevelin Queen missed an open three-point shot off an inbounds play. 

                   

    Top Performers

    Before fouling out, Jared Harper scored 17 points to lead the Tigers, while Johnny McCants led New Mexico State with 16 points. 

                

    X-Factor

    J'Von McCormick added 16 points off the bench for the Tigers, and he made a pair of clutch free throws with 12 seconds left to keep Auburn ahead. 

                

    Next Round

    Auburn takes on either No. 4 Kansas or No. 13 Northeastern in the second round Saturday in Salt Lake City. 

               

    Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 4 Florida State 76, No. 13 Vermont 69

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    Mfiondu Kabengele
    Mfiondu KabengelePhil Sears/Associated Press

    No. 4 seed Florida State survived a first-round upset bid from No. 13 Vermont, winning 76-69 after being tied at 27-27 at halftime.

    The Seminoles entered the tournament as a contender to make a deep run into the second weekend. But Vermont nearly derailed Florida State's aspirations and looked like it could shake up plenty of brackets. 

                          

    Top Performers

    Mfiondu Kabengele posted a double-double for Florida State with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Lamb led Vermont with 16 points. 

                      

    X-Factor

    Terance Mann nearly posted his own double-double for the Seminoles, racking up 19 points and eight rebounds. 

                

    Next Round

    Florida State awaits the winner of No. 5 Marquette-No. 12 Murray State.

                

    Updated by Sean Frye

No. 2 Michigan State 76, No. 15 Bradley 65

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    Cassius Winston
    Cassius WinstonAl Goldis/Associated Press

    Spartans fans can exhale. 

    No. 2 Michigan State survived a massive upset bid from No. 15 Bradley, winning 76-65 thanks to a late second-half run.

    The Braves led the Spartans 55-54 with seven minutes left, but an ensuing 9-0 run gave Michigan State enough breathing room to advance to the second round. 

                        

    Top Performers

    Cassius Winston proved to be a steady presence for Michigan State, pouring in 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting. 

    Elijah Childs led Bradley with 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

                      

    X-Factor

    Michigan State was nearly perfect from the charity stripe, converting 25 of 26 free-throw attempts. The Spartans' lone miss at the foul line didn't come until there was only 1:04 remaining in the game. 

               

    Next Round

    No. 2 Michigan State will face No. 10 Minnesota, which upset No. 7 Louisville, in the second round on Saturday. 

                

    Updated by Sean Frye

No. 6 Maryland 79, No. 11 Belmont 77

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    Bruno Fernando
    Bruno FernandoPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

    No. 11 Belmont got the last shot, but it was a desperation heave from beyond halfcourt that fell short as No. 6 Maryland survived an upset bid, winning 79-77 in the first round. 

    Belmont led by as much as 10 in the first half. But Maryland slowly wore down a Belmont team already weary from earning its way into the field of 64 in the First Four.

    The Terrapins outscored Belmont 45-37 in the second half to advance to the second round. 

                          

    Top Performers

    Jalen Smith had a double-double for Maryland, posting 19 points and 12 rebounds. Bruno Fernando added his own double-double with 14 points and 13 boards.

    Belmont's Dylan Windler gave perhaps the best single-game performance of the tournament thus far, dropping 35 points on 11-of-23 shooting. 

                      

    X-Factor

    Both teams were well versed in ball security as Maryland and Belmont only committed five turnovers apiece. Maryland ended up pulling down 15 offensive rebounds to Belmont's 10. 

                

    Next Round

    Maryland will face No. 3 LSU in the second round. 

                

    Updated by Sean Frye

No. 4 Kansas 87, No. 13 Northeastern 53

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    Dedric Lawson
    Dedric LawsonCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    While the No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks' 14-year streak of Big 12 titles ended this season, Bill Self and Co. are still dancing after they throttled No. 13 Northeastern 87-53 in the first round Thursday. 

    Northeastern trailed by 12 at halftime. It trimmed its deficit by seven early in the second half, but Kansas ran away into Saturday's second round. 

                          

    Top Performers

    Dedric Lawson, the unquestioned star for an injury-rocked Kansas, shined with 25 points and 11 rebounds. 

    Jordan Rowland led Northeastern with 12 points. 

                      

    X-Factor

    Mitch Lightfoot, an energy guy for the Jayhawks, pulled down seven rebounds and scored five points off the bench. 

                         

    Next Round

    No. 4 Kansas will face No. 5 Auburn on Saturday in the second round. 

                 

    Updated by Sean Frye

No. 12 Murray State 83, No. 5 Marquette 64

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    Ja Morant
    Ja MorantJessica Hill/Associated Press

    Welcome to the Ja Morant Show. 

    No. 12 Murray State blew past No. 5 Marquette in the first round, cruising to an 83-64 upset. 

    After leading by seven at halftime, the Racers pulled away to seal a dominant victory. Murray State never trailed in the second half. 

                            

    Top Performers

    Do you even have to ask who the top performer was? 

    Murray State's Ja Morant, one of the nation's most explosive talents, stamped his March Madness legacy with a 17-point, 16-assist, 11-rebound triple-double. 

    It was the first triple-double in the NCAA tournament since Draymond Green's in 2012. 

    He's also just the eighth player to post a triple-double in the Big Dance since assists became a recorded stat in 1983-84. 

                              

    X-Factor

    Tevin Brown was Murray State's leading scorer with 19 points. Brown converted five of nine three-pointers and added six rebounds. 

                

    Next Round

    Murray State will face No. 4 Florida State in the second round Saturday. 

                 

    Updated by Sean Frye

No. 10 Florida 70, No. 7 Nevada 61

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    Kevarrius Hayes
    Kevarrius HayesAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Our experts were split on this matchup. But in the end, the Gators pulled off the upset over the Wolf Pack in Des Moines.

    Florida went into halftime with a nine-point lead thanks to its strong work hanging onto the ball and ability to force Nevada into nine turnovers during the first 20 minutes.

    The Wolf Pack pushed back in the second half and cut the lead to two points with 2:02 remaining. But that was as close as they'd get.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Kevarrius Hayes led a balanced Florida scoring attack with 16 points, while Jalen Hudson chipped in 15. The Martin brothers did the majority of the scoring for Nevada: Cody had 23 points, and Caleb added 19.

               

    X-Factor

    Though Nevada didn't go quietly, Florida's scoring surge to close out the first half and a 12-0 run early in the second helped crush the confidence of the high-flying Wolf Pack offense, which had averaged 80.7 points heading into its final game.

                     

    Next Round

    In the West Region's second round, Florida will now face the winner of Thursday's game between No. 2 Michigan and No. 15 Montana on Saturday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 2 Kentucky 79, No. 15 Abilene Christian 44

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    Ashton Hagans
    Ashton HagansJohn Raoux/Associated Press

    In a battle of two teams of Wildcats, Kentucky cruised to an easy win over Abilene Christian in first-round Midwest Region action in Jacksonville, Florida.

    John Calipari's crew set a new team record by giving up just 13 points in the first half against a crew that  reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

    Kentucky eased off in the second half but still finished the game shooting 53.6 percent.

                 

    Top Performers 

    With leading scorer P.J. Washington watching from the sidelines due to a foot sprain, freshman guard Keldon Johnson had a big game. Averaging 13.4 points for the year, he tallied 25 on Thursday and added six rebounds. Jaren Lewis had a strong showing for Abilene Christian, with 17 points.

               

    X-Factor

    Kentucky senior Reid Thomas nearly recorded a double-double, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds.

                     

    Next Round

    In the Midwest Region's second round, Kentucky will now face the winner of Thursday's late game between No. 7 Wofford and No. 10 Seton Hall.

No. 6 Villanova 61, No. 11 Saint Mary’s 57

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    Phil Booth
    Phil BoothRob Carr/Getty Images

    The Villanova Wildcats withstood a strong push but overcame a two-point first-half deficit to advance past Saint Mary's in first-round South Regional action in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday.

    Jay Wright's crew relied on 49 percent shooting to take the first step toward defending their 2018 NCAA title against one of the double-digit seeds that many picked for a possible first-round upset.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Senior guard Phil Booth put down 20 points for the Wildcats, while Malik Fitts and Jordan Ford each had 13 for the Gaels.

                         

    X-Factor

    Considering their recent tournament successes, the Wildcats know their way around March Madness and didn't get rattled when they fell behind early. By contrast, Saint Mary's was playing in just its second tournament in the last six years, and the big stage may have overwhelmed the Gaels.

                     

    Next Round

    In second-round action Saturday, the Wildcats will face the winner of Thursday's late game between No. 3 Purdue and No. 14 Old Dominion.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson 49

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    Rui Hachimura
    Rui HachimuraJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    A 19-0 run to close out the first half was just one example of the dominant performance submitted by the best offensive team in Division I basketball.

    Top-seeded Gonzaga had no trouble dispatching Fairleigh Dickinson in West Regional action on Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Rui Hachimura led the way for the Bulldogs with 21 points and eight rebounds. Mike Holloway Jr. and Elyjah Williams each scored 10 points for the Knights.

               

    X-Factor

    Off the bench, junior forward Killian Tillie chipped in with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting for Gonzaga.

                     

    Next Round

    In the West Region's second round, the Bulldogs will face the winner of Thursday's final game between No. 8 Syracuse and No. 9 Baylor.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 2 Michigan 74, No. 15 Montana 55

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    Zavier Simpson
    Zavier SimpsonCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Stifling defense was the order of the day as Michigan cruised to a comfortable win over Montana in the final game of the first day of West Regional action in Des Moines, Iowa.

    The game was a slightly more decisive case of déjà vu all over again. Michigan dispatched Montana by a score of 61-47 in the first round on its way to runner-up status in 2018.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Senior guard Charles Matthews was dialled in for Michigan, smashing his season average of 12 points a game by hitting 8-of-12 from the field for 22. Montana had three players hit double digits, led by Sayeed Pridgett with 17 points.

               

    X-Factor

    Though Montana is known for its sharpshooting, the Wolverines held the Grizzlies to just 33.3 percent from the field while hitting nearly half of their own shots.

                     

    Next Round

    In the West Region’s second round, Michigan will face Florida on Saturday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 7 Wofford 84, No. 10 Seton Hall 68

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    Fletcher Magee
    Fletcher MageeMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Is he the next Stephen Curry?

    Fletcher Magee broke the NCAA's all-time record for career three-pointers as Wofford cruised to a comfortable first-round win over Seton Hall in Midwest Regional action in Jacksonville, Florida.

    The senior guard went 2-of-4 from downtown in the first half as the Terriers took a 10-point lead into the locker room. His historic trey came 29 seconds into the second half en route to a 7-of-12 performance from beyond the arc.

    Thursday's win is the 21st in a row for Wofford, which is competing in the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in the last 10 years.

             

    Top Performers 

    Magee led Wofford with 24 points, backed up by 18 from Nathan Hoover. Though he was smothered in the first half, Seton Hall sharpshooter Myles Powell—the only Pirate in double digits—finished the night with a game-high 27 points.

               

    X-Factor

    On the defensive end, Wofford did an outstanding job guarding Powell. Averaging 22.9 points prior to Thursday, he went 0-of-5 from long range in the first half and was held to just four points. His strong second half drew the Pirates level at 62-62 with 6:45 remaining before Wofford pulled away for the win.

                     

    Next Round

    In the Midwest Region's second round, Wofford will be in for a tough matchup against No. 2 Kentucky on Saturday.

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 Purdue 61, No. 14 Old Dominion 48

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    Carsen Edwards
    Carsen EdwardsElise Amendola/Associated Press

    Finishing out the first day of March Madness action, another higher-seeded team prevailed as Purdue laid out a convincing win over Old Dominion during first-round South Regional action in Hartford, Connecticut.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Carsen Edwards dominated for the Boilermakers with 26 points. Old Dominion's two top starters were Ahmad Caver (19) and B.J.Stith (14).

               

    X-Factor

    Though Old Dominion was perfect from the foul line, the Monarchs were limited to just six free throws. At the other end of the court, Purdue went 12-of-18.

                     

    Next Round

    In second-round South Region action on Saturday, Purdue will face No. 6 Villanova

              

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 9 Baylor 78, No. 8 Syracuse 69

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    Tyus Battle
    Tyus BattleJeff Swinger/Associated Press

    As one might expect in a No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup, not much differentiated the two sides in a see-saw affair that ultimately saw Baylor prevail—and defy the expectations of our experts—in the West Regional bracket in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Though they took a meager one-point lead into the locker room at halftime, the Bears rode their 53.8 percent shooting to a second-round berth in the NCAA tournament.

                 

    Top Performers 

    Senior Makai Mason led the way with 22 points for Baylor, while Elijah Hughes put up 25 for Syracuse.

               

    X-Factor

    Tyus Battle returned to the Syracuse lineup after he missed both ACC tournament games with a back injury. He scored 16 points, but they weren't enough to help his squad advance.

                     

    Next Round

    In the West Region's second round, Baylor will face No. 1 Gonzaga on Saturday.