NCAA Tournament 2021: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for First Round

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

NCAA Tournament 2021: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for First Round

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    Associated Press

    After 15-seed Oral Roberts shocked second-seeded Ohio State on Friday night, March officially went mad. 

    It only got crazier on Saturday.

    Day Two of the 2021 NCAA Tournament reads like the college basketball gods making up for the absence of last year's festivities. While projected darling Georgetown fell quickly to Colorado, several new Cinderella candidates have emerged, from Jason Preston and Ohio dethroning Virginia to Abilene Christian ending the night and round with a pulse-pounding victory over intrastate rival Texas.

    All told, nine double-digit seeds survived and advanced, with at least one— either UCLA or Abilene Christian— guaranteed to make the Sweet Sixteen.

    Here, we've recapped each of the 32 first-round matchups, highlighting particular statistical disparities that made a difference, standout individual performances, and more. 

    If these first two days are any indication, then the Madness is just getting started.

             

    Pregame analysis written by Kerry Miller.

No. 5 Colorado 96, No. 12 Georgetown 73

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    Colorado's Jabari Walker
    Colorado's Jabari WalkerMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    Well that's one way to start off your bracket run. Halfway through the second half, Colorado had already set a season-high for three-pointers made with 15. That blazing form from deep, coupled with impeccable ball movement, helped the Buffaloes carve out a massive lead.

    By the end, Colorado had hit 16 of 25 threes (64.0 percent), helped by 27 assists. Georgetown? Eight of 24 from deep (33.4 percent) and 12 assists. 

    It was a tie game with 16 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first half, but then Jabari Walker came off the bench and erupted. With a dunk followed by four threes in the period, the freshman forward marched toward a career-high in points, paving the way for a scorching March Madness start for Colorado. 

               

    Top Performers

    Georgetown center Qudus Wahab was a problem, scoring an efficient 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. But Colorado's perimeter performances set an insurmountable tone.

    Walker had 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field (and 5-of-5 from three) while D'Shawn Schwartz pitched in 18 (5-of-7 from deep) and McKinley Wright IV out-assisted Georgetown single-handedly, collecting 13 dimes alongside 12 points and five rebounds.

            

    Next Round

    Colorado will face Florida State in the second round on Monday.

                    

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 4 Florida State 64, No. 13 UNC Greensboro 54

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    Florida State's Balsa Koprivica
    Florida State's Balsa KoprivicaDarron Cummings/Associated Press

    Florida State and UNC Greensboro treated fans to a tighter affair than Day 2's first matchup, but no upset would be allowed. The Spartans came close, tying or coming within one point of Florida State four separate times, but the Seminoles could not be denied.

    Florida State's defense, time and time again, proved to be the difference-maker. In a stark contrast to Colorado's Saturday win, the Seminoles did not hit a single three (and only attempted nine). They balanced that out, though, by holding the Spartans to 31.7 percent shooting from the field. 

    With some sturdy performances from its bigs, Florida State was an interior menace—scoring on about 61 percent of its attempts within the perimeter. Ultimately, that grueling performance was enough to hold UNC Greensboro to just 54 points and force the Spartans into a first-round exit.

                       

    Top Performers

    The Florida State frontcourt could not be contained. Forward Raiquan Gray notched 17 points and seven rebounds as center Balsa Koprivica garnered 13 and 11. 

    On UNC Greensboro's end, guard Isaiah Miller's 17 points, five rebounds and four assists embodied a valiant effort, but a stingy Seminoles defense kept him to just 7-of-18 from the field.

                

    Next Round

    Florida State will test its defense against a blazing Colorado on Monday.

             

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 3 Kansas 93, No. 14 Eastern Washington 84

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    Kansas' David McCormack and Eastern Washington's Tanner Groves
    Kansas' David McCormack and Eastern Washington's Tanner GrovesAJ Mast/Associated Press

    It seems no one wants to follow in Ohio State's footsteps, as Kansas continues Day 2's trend of maintaining reasonable bracket predictions. Although Eastern Washington held a 10-point lead early in the second half, the Jayhawks stormed back.

    Off the bench, Kansas forward David McCormack scored consecutive buckets with under nine minutes left in the second half to give the Jayhawks a four-point lead. Those would prove to be the nail in the coffin, ruining a historic effort by the Eagles' brothers, Tanner and Jacob Groves.

    Although the siblings totaled a wild 58 points, Kansas had enough depth to outlast its lower-seeded foe. With 35 bench points (to just 12 from the Eagles), the Jayhawks edged the opposition in a high-scoring affair and earned their trip to the second round.

              

    Top Performers

    Marcus Garrett's 23 points (on 9-of-13 from the field, 4-of-6 from deep) and eight rebounds helped the team keep pace, but McCormack's 22 points and nine rebounds helped Kansas take the late lead.

    Still, the Groves brothers deserve relentless credit for making this a competitive affair. Tanner scored a career-high 35 points (11-of-18 from the field, 5-of-11 from three), and Jacob pitched in 23 points and nine rebounds (on 8-of-11 from the field, 4-of-5 from three).

            

    Next Round

    Kansas will meet USC in the Round of 32 on Monday.

              

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 8 LSU 76, No. 9 St. Bonaventure 61

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    LSU's Cameron Thomas
    LSU's Cameron ThomasDoug McSchooler/Associated Press

    St. Bonaventure earned a No. 9 seed on the back of its defense, but LSU cracked the Bonnies open halfway through the first half and never looked back.

    The Tigers took the lead on a Trendon Watford three with 10 minutes left in the first half, extended it to five two minutes later with a Darius Days triple and maintained their cushion until the final buzzer. Comfortably scoring, LSU complemented that offensive output with nasty defensive and rebounding production.

    St. Bonaventure was held to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field (and a measly, desperate 15 percent from deep) and got out-rebounded 49-30. With four of LSU's starters scoring in double digits and three notching double-doubles, the Tigers look balanced and dangerous moving into the second round.

            

    Top Performers

    This matchup was all LSU. Guard Cameron Thomas led the way with 27 points, but forwards Watford and Days each notched double-doubles (including the pivotal first-half threes). 

    Sophomore Aundre Hyatt pitched in admirably as well, scoring 13 points, securing 10 rebounds and swatting four shots.

            

    Next Round

    LSU will play Michigan in the second round Monday.

            

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 1 Michigan 82, No. 16 Texas Southern 66

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    Michigan's Franz Wagner
    Michigan's Franz WagnerRobert Franklin/Associated Press

    The top-seeded Michigan Wolverines began their quest for the Final Four with a decisive first-round victory over the Texas Southern Tigers.

    Michigan jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back in a rout. The Big Ten powerhouse controlled nearly every facet of the game in Juwan Howard's NCAA tournament debut as a head coach.

    Overmatched Texas Southern went 23-of-64 (35.9 percent) from the field and made just one three-pointer in 12 tries. Michigan, meanwhile, shot an efficient 48.1 percent (26-of-54) while making 21 of 26 free-throw attempts.

    Texas Southern held its own in the second half, outscoring Michigan 42-40, but the SWAC champions couldn't climb back from the early deficit.

            

    Top Performers

    The Wolverines had a well-rounded effort without injured senior Isaiah Livers. Mike Smith led the way with 18 points, four rebounds and five assists. Hunter Dickinson added 16 points and three blocks. Michael Weathers, Texas Southern's leading scorer, posted a game-high 24 points with four boards and two steals.

         

    Next Round

    Michigan will face the LSU Tigers in the second round Monday.

         

    Updated by Andrew Gould.

No. 5 Creighton 63, No. 12 UC Santa Barbara 62

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    Creighton's Christian Bishop
    Creighton's Christian BishopMark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Creighton narrowly held off UC Santa Barbara in the first nail-biter of Saturday's action.

    The evenly matched Bluejays and Gauchos traded barbs throughout a back-and-forth affair.

    Creighton's Marcus Zegarowski closed the first half by capping a 13-4 run with eight of his team's final 10 points. The Bluejays carried that momentum into the second half, but the Gaunchos pushed back with an 18-3 run of their own.

    With 37 seconds remaining, Amadou Sow sank two free throws to put UCSB ahead by one. After grabbing a key offensive board on the next possession, Christian Bishop then made the game-tying and -winning foul shots with 16 seconds remaining.

    Sow couldn't convert a contested layup with two seconds left. Shereef Mitchell missed a one-and-one, but Santa Barbara was way off on a last-second heave.

        

    Top Performers

    Zegarowski propelled Creighton with 17 points and seven assists, while Bishop added 15 points and 11 boards. Four starters—led by Miles Norris and JaQuori McLaughlin, who had 13 apiece—delivered double-digit points for UCSB.

         

    Next Round

    Creighton will oppose Ohio in the second round Monday.

       

    Updated by Andrew Gould.

No. 2 Alabama 68, No. 15 Iona 55

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    Alabama's Herbert Jones
    Alabama's Herbert JonesMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    It wasn't necessarily pretty, but the Alabama Crimson Tide fended off the Iona Gaels to avoid another No. 2 seed upset in the opening round.

    Both sides succumbed to sloppy play, combining for 29 turnovers (15 by Iona) in a physical affair. They also struggled mightily from three-point range. Alabama made just five of 16 attempts, and Iona mustered only five makes in 23 tries.

    The Crimson Tide went to halftime with a one-point lead, but they pulled ahead late in the second half. Free throws proved pivotal. Alabama made 13 of 22 attempts, while Rick Pitino's squad went to the foul line only five times.

           

    Top Performers

    Herbert Jones led a balanced Alabama attack with 20 points, six rebounds and three steals. While fellow senior Isaiah Ross spearheaded Iona with 19 points, he highlighted the Gaels' perimeter shooting woes by missing seven of 10 attempts from beyond the arc.

        

    Next Round

    Alabama will face Maryland on Monday.

           

    Updated by Andrew Gould.

No. 6 USC 72, No. 11 Drake 56

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    USC's Evan Mobley
    USC's Evan MobleyPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    USC spoiled Drake's quest to reach the second round for the first time in 50 years.

    A game that started as a competitive clash turned into a 16-point win for the Trojans, who held the Bulldogs to just 19 points in the second half.

    Playing without Roman Penn and with ShanQuan Hemphill limited on the bench, Drake's entire offense revolved around Joseph Yesufu. No other Bulldogs player exceeded six points.

    Drake collectively shot just 29.4 percent (20-of-68) from the floor. USC, meanwhile, made half (29-of-58) of its field-goal attempts despite draining one-third of its three-point tries (6-of-18).

          

    Top Performers

    Following consecutive 26-point outings in the Pac-12 tournament, USC's Evan Mobley posted an economical 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting with 11 rebounds. Tahj Eaddy dished out 10 of the Trojans' 20 assists. After scoring 21 points in a play-in victory over Wichita State, Yesufu once again steered a short-handed Bulldogs offense with 26 points.

           

    Next Round

    USC will face Kansas in the second round on Monday.

          

    Updated by Andrew Gould

No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes 86, No. 15 Grand Canyon Antelopes 74

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    Iowa's Luka Garza
    Iowa's Luka GarzaCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    For the fourth time in the Fran McCaffery era, Iowa has advanced to the second round.

    Coming into today as the 13th-best 3-point shooting team in the nation (38.6%), the Hawkeyes' long-range proficiency showed up in spades today, making 10-of-22 threes (45.5%) to slowly but surely pull away from Grand Canyon. Luke Garza led the squad with four triples, while Jordan Bohannon chipped in with three of his own.

    The Antelopes were hindered by team-wide foul trouble. Meanwhile, Four of Grand Canyon's five starters recorded at least three fouls, leading to 18 made free throws for Iowa.

         

    Top Performers

    As usual, the Hawkeyes were led by Garza. The presumptive National Player of the Year recorded a typical 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, adding six rebounds and two steals to boot. Also scoring in double figures were Joe Wieskamp (16 points), Keegan Murray (13 points), and Bohannon (13 points).

    Grand Canyon was paced by Danish big man Asbjorn Midtgaard, who led four Antelopes in double-figures with 18 points. 

    Next Round

    Iowa will face Oregon in the second round on Monday.

          

    Updated by Mandela Namaste

No. 10 Maryland Terrapins 63, No. 7 Connecticut Huskies 54

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    Connecticut's James Bouknight
    Connecticut's James BouknightKathy Willens/Associated Press

    Nine made threes and a highly efficient offensive performance put the Maryland Terrapins in the second round for the second consecutive tournament. 

    After a 22-7 run to end the first half and open up the second, Maryland led by 14 and successfully kept UConn at arms length from then on, punctuating its control of the matchup with ferocious dunks from Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins in the final minutes.

    Likely lottery pick James Bouknight also picked the wrong night to slump for the Huskies, shooting just 6-of-16 from the field, while backcourt mates R.J. Cole and Tyrese Martin combined to make just 4 of 22 field goals.

        

    Top Performers

    Ayala and Wiggins were lights-out from start to finish for Maryland, combining for 37 points, 10 rebounds and four steals on 13-of-23 overall shooting (and 7-of-11 from three). Meanwhile, despite the poor efficiency, Bouknight still led UConn in scoring with 15, while sophomore guard Jalen Gaffney chipped in 12 and recorded three steals off the bench.

    Next Round

    Maryland will face Alabama in the second round on Monday.

          

    Updated by Mandela Namaste

No. 13 Ohio Bobcats 62, No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers 58

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    Virginia's Jay Huff
    Virginia's Jay HuffMichael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Despite seven points in the final 20 seconds from Virginia, Ohio dethroned the reigning national champions.

    The Cavaliers' pack-line defense was in vintage form, but they were beaten at their own game by the Bobcats. UVA shot just 34.4 percent from the field, while starters Jay Huff and Trey Murphy III combined for seven personal fouls. 

    On the flip side, Ohio took the lead with 7:44 to go and never relinquished it. From that timestamp until the end of the game, Ben Vander Plas scored 10 points to help stave off Tony Bennett's club.

         

    Top Performers

    Van Der Plas led the Bobcats in scoring with 17, while Ben Roderick chipped in 15. Star point guard Jason Preston also finished two assists shy of a triple-double, recording 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

    Thanks to six free throws, Sam Hauser paced Virginia with 15 points. Additionally, Murphy made four field goals—all of them threes—on his way to a cool dozen.

    Next Round

    Ohio will face Creighton in the second round on Monday.

          

    Updated by Mandela Namaste

No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners 72, No. 9 Missouri Tigers 68

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    Oklahoma's Austin Reaves
    Oklahoma's Austin ReavesCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Despite lacking second-leading scorer De'Vion Harmon due to COVID-19, the Oklahoma Sooners are moving on.

    Lon Kruger's club took care of business in ways both large and small. Role players stepped up to score in Harmon's absence, particularly Elijah Harkless, while the Sooners continue to be one of the more disciplined teams in the nation as well, limiting Missouri to zero first-half free throw attempts for the first time all year.

    The Tigers were never totally out of this one, but they made it close until the final seconds, cutting the lead from eight points to two in the last minute thanks to a pair of clutch threes from Dru Smith.

    Top Performers

    Austin Reaves was stellar today for Oklahoma, pouring in 23 points, dropping six dimes and shooting 10-of-12 from the charity stripe, while Brady Manek scored 19 off the strength of five made threes. The aforementioned Harkless was the main surprise, though, doubling his season averages with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

    Dru Smith led the way for Missouri with 22 (6-for-11 from three), while Jeremiah Tilmon bruised his way to a 16-point double-double.      

    Next Round

    Oklahoma will face Gonzaga in the second round on Monday.

          

    Updated by Mandela Namaste

No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs 98, No. 16 Norfolk State Spartans 55

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    Gonzaga's Drew Timme
    Gonzaga's Drew TimmeYoung Kwak/Associated Press

    In a result that shocked virtually nobody, Gonzaga controlled its first-round matchup from start to finish.

    Mark Few's club completely dominated Norfolk State in virtually every aspect of this game, winning the rebound tug-of-war 45-22, the assist battle 27-10 and recording 55.7/51.9/88.9 total shooting splits in comparison to a paltry 30.6/33.3/62.5 from the Spartans. They never let up either, leading by 20 points at the half and outscoring NSU by another 23 over the latter 20 minutes.

        

    Top Performers

    In the absence of a major Jalen Suggs performance, the Bulldogs' other All-Americans stepped up. First-teamer Corey Kispert tallied 23 points and five rebounds, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 6-of-9 from three, while second-team member Drew Timme added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Anton Watson chipped in a versatile stat line off the bench as well with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

    Devante Carter and Kyonze Chavis each scored 12 points to co-lead Norfolk State.

        

    Next Round

    Gonzaga progresses to face Oklahoma in Monday's second-round game.

          

    Updated by Mandela Namaste

No. 11 UCLA Bruins 73, No. 6 BYU Cougars 62

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    BYU's Matt Haarms
    BYU's Matt HaarmsYoung Kwak/Associated Press

    UCLA's strong history of NCAA tournament success continued on Saturday when the 11th-seeded Bruins toppled BYU to win their second game in three days.

    In a surprising turn of events for two high-flying offenses, this was a relatively slow-paced, detail-oriented affair. UCLA turned the ball over just four times, while BYU made just three of 17 three-pointers. However, those two stats seemingly made all the difference, as the Bruins sank 42.1 percent of their long-range shots and the Cougars recorded 10 turnovers, paving the way for Mick Cronin's squad to reach the round of 32.

         

    Top Performers

    The Bruins' leading scorer, Johnny Juzang, delivered on the big stage, pouring in 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Jules Bernard and Jaime Jaquez Jr. also put up double figures with 16 and 13, respectively.

    As for BYU, Alex Barcello led the way with 20 points and five rebounds. Brandon Averette added 15 points and two assists, while big man Matt Haarms produced a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

           

    Next Round

    UCLA will face Abilene Christian in Monday's second-round matchup.

        

    Updated by Mandela Namaste

No. 14 Abilene Christian Wildcats 53, No. 3 Texas Longhorns 52

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Saturday night ended with a bang, as two free throws from Joe Pleasant gave Abilene Christian its first tournament victory ever and eliminated the Lone Star State's premiere basketball team from March Madness.

    The Wildcats entered tonight with the nation's best turnover ratio, and lo and behold, that simple statistic wreaked havoc upon the Longhorns. Despite limiting Abilene Christian to just 29.0 percent overall shooting and coach Shaka Smart rising to fame a decade ago thanks to VCU's HAVOC defense, Texas' inability to handle a pressure defense was its mortal wound, as the team turned the ball over 20 times.

    Additionally, the burnt orange and white never led by more than nine and suffered a nearly four minute scoring drought towards the end of the game.

          

    Top Performers: 

    In a game full of inefficient scoring from Abilene Christian, Coryon Mason and Joe Pleasant stood out, scoring 11 points apiece and shooting a combined 9-for-21 from the field.

    On the other hand, Texas claimed three players with double-figure scoring totals, headlined by Andrew Jones' 13 points. Kai Jones and Jericho Sims added 11 and 10 respectively, Sims grabbed 11 rebounds, and the big men also each rejected three shots.           

    Next Round

    Abilene Christian will play UCLA on Monday with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.

No. 7 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 10 VCU Rams: No-Contest

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    Oregon's Chris Duarte
    Oregon's Chris DuarteAmanda Loman/Associated Press

    The NCAA has officially declared Saturday's scheduled first-round matchup between Oregon and VCU a no-contest due to COVID-19 protocols. The Ducks will advance to the second round of the West Region.

        

    Next Round

    Oregon will face Iowa in the round of 32 on Monday.

No. 7 Florida 75, No. 10 Virginia Tech 70 (OT)

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    Florida's Tre Mann
    Florida's Tre MannMark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Florida Gators became the first team to advance to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament's second overtime game so far.

    Florida appeared to have the game locked up after Colin Castleton affected a three-point miss from Nahiem Alleyne, but the Gators' free-throw shooting let them down at the end of regulation.

    Anthony Duruji missed a pair of foul shots with seven seconds remaining to open the door for the Hokies to tie the game.

    Alleyne took full advantage of that opportunity, forcing overtime with a three-point shot from the right elbow.

    However, the momentum wore off for the Hokies as the overtime period went on. Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts both fouled out early in the extra frame.

    Hunter Cattoor got the Hokies within one point through a steal and a slam, but Tre Mann shut the door on a Virginia Tech win with a made three-pointer with 25 seconds left

        

    Top Performers

    Castleton made an impact on both ends of the floor for Florida. He finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

    The Gators' Scottie Lewis made the biggest impact off the bench of both squads, putting up 15 points, including a pair of threes.

    Alleyne led all scorers with 28 points. He had the most field goals (eight) and three-pointers (four) of any player on the floor.

        

    Next Round

    Florida will face the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in the second round on Sunday.

    --Update by Joe Tansey

No. 3 Arkansas 85, No. 14 Colgate 68

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    Arkansas' Moses Moody
    Arkansas' Moses MoodyMichael Woods/Associated Press

    The Arkansas Razorbacks brushed off a challenge from the freshly minted Patriot League champion Colgate Raiders.

    Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman's team erased a 33-19 deficit in the final four minutes of the first half to take a three-point lead into the locker room.

    Colgate responded to the Razorbacks' run with solid play in the opening minutes of the second half. However, the speed and tenacity of Arkansas' defense eventually took over. Colgate went nearly four minutes without scoring late in the second half as the Hogs jumped out to a double-digit advantage.

    The third-seeded Razorbacks had five players finish with at least 12 points, with Justin Smith leading the way with a double-double.

    Arkansas now has six wins in seven games against NCAA tournament qualifiers dating back to the start of February.

        

    Top Performers

    Smith put up 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Razorbacks. Five of those boards came on the offensive end.

    Moses Moody, JD Notae, Jalen Tate and Davonte Davis all reached double figures in the 17-point victory.

    Nelly Cummings led Colgate with 14 points and knocked down four three-pointers.

       

    Next Round

    Arkansas will meet the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Sunday in the second round. 

    --Update by Joe Tansey

No. 1 Illinois 78, No. 16 Drexel 49

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    Illinois' Trent Frazier
    Illinois' Trent FrazierAssociated Press

    The top-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini had no trouble moving on to the round of 32.

    The Big Ten tournament champion rushed out to an 18-point lead at halftime and only extended the advantage over the Drexel Dragons in the second half.

    Sixty-four of Illinois' 78 points came from its starting five, with four of them finishing in double figures.

    Drexel, who won the Colonial men's tournament through a few terrific shooting nights, could not find a rhythm from the field, shooting just 30.6 percent. Seven of their 19 field goals were three-pointers.

    Illinois gained an advantage in all of the major stat categories, earning eight more rebounds and conceding six fewer turnovers to advance with ease.

        

    Top Performers

    Kofi Cockburn led the Illini in scoring with 18 points, while Ayo Dosunmu was one point behind the big man.

    Dosunmu, a National Player of the Year contender, recorded six more rebounds than Cockburn with 11 and dished out six assists.

       

    Next Round

    Illinois will take on the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in the round of 32 on Sunday.

    --Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 6 Texas Tech 65, No. 11 Utah State 53

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    Texas Tech's Kyler Edwards
    Texas Tech's Kyler EdwardsJustin Rex/Associated Press

    The Texas Tech Red Raiders began their quest to return to the national championship with a double-digit win over the Utah State Aggies.

    Chris Beard's team limited the impact of Neemias Queta in the paint and took advantage of the Aggies' worst turnover day of the season. Utah State finished with 22 turnovers.

    To make matters worse, the Aggies failed to have any accuracy from three-point range, going 4-of-19.

    Their inability to hit shots from beyond the arc allowed the Red Raiders to focus more on Queta, who was limited to 11 points.

    Texas Tech did not produce an offensive masterpiece of its own, but it did enough to pull away in the second half through its abundance of guards, led by Mac McClung.

        

    Top Performers

    McClung led all scorers with 16 points, and teammates Kyler Edwards, Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon Jr. all reached double digits. McCullar led the Red Raiders with seven rebounds. Three Texas Tech players hauled in six or more boards.

    Justin Bean (13), Marco Anthony (11) and Queta (11) were the only Utah State players to have more than 10 points.

       

    Next Round

    Texas Tech will take on No. 3 Arkansas in the round of 32 on Saturday.

    --Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 15 Oral Roberts 75, No. 2 Ohio State 72

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    Oral Roberts' Max Abmas
    Oral Roberts' Max AbmasRobert Franklin/Associated Press

    Despite being a No. 15 seed, many expected Oral Roberts to have a chance against No. 2 Ohio State. Swapping leads for much of the game, those hopes began to evaporate when the Buckeyes' E.J. Liddell secured a fast-break block to maintain a four-point lead with just under two minutes left in regulation.

    A few Oral Roberts defensive stops led to four free throws for the Golden Eagles' Kevin Obanor, and fans were gifted a second overtime finish in just the first day of the Big Dance. 

    Each team's two leading scorers dueled in extra time, with Max Abmas extending an Oral Roberts lead to six with a smooth pull-up jumper with around two minutes left and Liddell drilling a three to make it 72-73 with 17 seconds left. But the No. 15 Golden Eagles held on, unfazed and secured the bracket's first upset.

                 

    Top Performers

    Ohio State's top scorers, Duane Washington Jr. and Liddell, performed admirably. Washington chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Liddell notched 23 points and 13 rebounds. 

    But it was Oral Roberts' tandem who proved to be insurmountable. The nation's leading scorer, Abmas, dropped 29 points (on a sharp 5-of-10 from deep) as Obanor put up a much-needed 30 with 11 rebounds.

                 

    Next Round

    Oral Roberts will play the No. 7 Florida Gators in the second round Sunday.

                        

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 1 Baylor 79, No. 16 Hartford 55

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    Baylor's MaCio Teague
    Baylor's MaCio TeagueAssociated Press

    Unlike the Ohio State and Oral Roberts matchup, No. 1 Baylor had no intentions of giving No. 16 Hartford a chance at the upset. Winning the first half by 16 points, the Bears eased up a little—but still ended up winning by a hefty 24.

    Hartford's Austin Williams dropped 19 points and seven rebounds, but that was far from enough to match Baylor's ball movement and defensive aggression.

    The Bears out-rebounded the Hawks 43-35, but their biggest edge was in steals, where they totaled 15 to Hartford's five. With four different Bears scoring in the double digits, Baylor comfortably moved on to the second round.

                      

    Top Performers

    The aforementioned Williams had a smooth 19 on 7-of-14 from the field, but Baylor guard MaCio Teague paved the way for a Bears victory. 

    With 22 points from Teague (on a clean 4-of-8 from three), 13 from Jared Butler, 12 from Davion Mitchell and another 12 off the bench from Adam Flagler, Baylor got big performances from a lot of places.

              

    Next Round

    Baylor will face No. 9 Wisconsin on Sunday.

                        

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 8 Loyola-Chicago 71, No. 9 Georgia Tech 60

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    Loyola-Chicago's Lucas Williamson
    Loyola-Chicago's Lucas WilliamsonAJ Mast/Associated Press

    As expected, Georgia Tech and Loyola of Chicago were neck-and-neck for much of their first-round matchup. But the Ramblers took a three-point lead on a Lucas Williamson triple (a recurring theme) with around 11 minutes left and proceeded to extend that cushion.

    While Georgia Tech played efficient basketball, mounting a 57.4 percent-field goal rate, Loyola-Chicago demonstrated the lethality of modern basketball.

    Making more threes than Georgia Tech even attempted, the Ramblers went 11-27 from beyond the arc (compared to the Yellow Jackets' 3-10) and stormed toward a double-digit win. It was a balanced effort, with four of Loyola-Chicago's starters hitting double-digit scoring.

                      

    Top Performers

    Georgia Tech got double-digit scoring efforts from three players: Jose Alvarado, Jordan Usher and Michael Devoe—with each deserving credit for keeping the game tight.

    Loyola-Chicago's Lucas Williamson stole the show, though, as he complemented 21 points (on a dangerous 8-of-13 from the field, 4-of-7 from three) with six rebounds and four assists. Braden Norris joined from range too, scoring 16 points on 4-of-7 from deep, with a smooth eight assists as well.

                            

    Next Round

    Loyola-Chicago will meet top-seeded Illinois in the round of 32 on Sunday.

               

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 12 Oregon State 70, No. 5 Tennessee 56

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    Oregon State's Roman Silva
    Oregon State's Roman SilvaPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    In the preview, we pointed out that Oregon State could win this matchup against a fading Tennessee if the team shot at least 37.0 percent from three. The Beavers did us a few better, nailing 47.6 percent of their triples and ensuring their place on the Sunday schedule.

    Going 10-of-21 from deep, Oregon State more than doubled Tennessee's ice-cold 19.2 percent rate from beyond the arc. This win makes the Beavers a stunning 14-0 this season when hitting 37-plus percent of their deep attempts.

    After taking a 5-2 lead on a Jarod Lucas triple about two minutes into the game, Oregon State overpowered Tennessee, out-rebounding, out-assisting and outscoring the Volunteers and gradually extending their lead until the final bell.

           

    Top Performers

    Four Beavers scored in double digits, but it was center Roman Silva who most defied expectations. After averaging just 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds this season, the 7'1" big man took advantage of John Fulkerson's absence in a major way.

    On a comfortable 8-of-8 from the field, the senior put up 16 points, four rebounds and three blocks.

           

    Next Round

    Oregon State will face No. 4 Oklahoma State in a second-round matchup Sunday.       

          

    Updated by Théo Salaun.

No. 4 Oklahoma State 69, No. 13 Liberty 60

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    Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham
    Oklahoma State's Cade CunninghamBrody Schmidt/Associated Press

    They trailed by three at the half, but the Oklahoma State Cowboys turned up the offense in the second half to eliminate the Liberty Flames by a nine-point margin in the first round of Midwest Region action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

    It's the first tournament win for the Cowboys since 2009.

    Eight first-half points from Darius McGhee and nine from Blake Preston helped Liberty take a 30-27 lead into the locker room. But McGhee took his third foul early in the second half, as the favorites took over and didn't look back.

    Both teams had a tough time taking care of the ball. Liberty was charged with 18 turnovers, while Oklahoma State had 13.

            

    Top Performers

    This game was supposed to be the Cade Cunningham show. The Big 12 Player of the Year had just one point at halftime. He didn't hit his first field goal until over four minutes into the second half but made his key shots, finishing with 15 points.

    Avery Anderson III led the Cowboys with 19 points, while Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe flirted with double-double territory with 10 points and nine boards.

            

    Next Round

    Oklahoma State will face No. 12 underdog Oregon State in second-round action on Sunday. 

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 9 Wisconsin 85, No. 8 North Carolina 62

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    Associated Press

    They didn't look especially sharp coming in, but the Wisconsin Badgers found their form at the right time as they cruised to a 23-point win over a young North Carolina Tar Heels squad.

    Wisconsin's Brad Davison and D'Mitrik Trice both hit double digits by halftime, helping the Badgers take a 40-24 lead into the locker room.

    At the other end of the floor, the Tar Heels shot just 31 percent through the first 20 minutes.

    In the second half, the margin widened by another seven points, as Wisconsin shot a sparkling 50.8 percent.

                  

    Top Performers

    Davison finished with a spectacular 29 points off 10-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-7 from long range. Trice finished the game with 21.

    For North Carolina, Armando Bacot led the way with 15 points, and Garrison Brooks recorded 10 points and 10 boards.

                    

    Next Round

    Wisconsin will face No. 1 Baylor in second-round action Sunday.

                  
    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 2 Houston 87, No. 15 Cleveland State 56

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    Associated Press

    On an opening day of March Madness that featured plenty of close games, the Houston Cougars had no trouble dispatching the Cleveland State Vikings in Midwest Region action on Friday.

    Houston took a 37-29 lead into the locker room at halftime off eight points each from Justin Gorham and Quentin Grimes, along with Fabian White Jr. off the bench. By game's end, six Cougars were in double digits.

    The Cougars also dominated on the offensive glass, finishing with 16 offensive rebounds compared to just seven for the Vikings.

             

    Top Performers 

    Grimes was the top producer for Houston, finishing with 18 points. Gorham ended the game with 10 points off 4-of-7 shooting.

    D'Moi Hodge was the only Cleveland State player to hit double digits, with 11 points and three steals.

                      

    Next Round

    Houston will face No. 10 Rutgers in second-round action Sunday.
               

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 13 North Texas 78, No. 4 Purdue 69 (OT)

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    Javion Hamlet of North Texas
    Javion Hamlet of North TexasDarron Cummings/Associated Press

    The North Texas Mean Green prevailed in overtime, upsetting the Purdue Boilermakers to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament in the South Region on Friday.

    Spoiling for the upset from almost the opening tip, North Texas took its first lead less than three minutes into the game and had built a 32-24 lead by halftime.

    Patient Purdue chipped away. After a long-range jumper by the Mean Green's James Reese hit the rim and bounced out with one second remaining, extra time was added with the score tied 61-61.

    In overtime, it was all North Texas. Thomas Bell hit an early three, followed up by buckets from Zachary Simmons and Javion Hamlet. In the last minute of overtime, Mason Gillis and Jaden Ivey hit three-pointers for Purdue, and Trevion Williams threw down a dunk. It was too little, too late as the Mean Green finished the night 13-of-15 from the foul line.

    From the field, North Texas shot 47.5 percent, while Purdue managed just 36.2 percent.

             

    Top Performers

    Hamlet finished with 24 points, while Bell and Mardrez McBride each had 16 for North Texas. 

    Ivey led the way for Purdue with 26 points off 10-of-24 shooting.

                

    Next Round

    North Texas will face No. 5 Villanova in second-round action Sunday.

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 10 Rutgers 60, No. 7 Clemson 56

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    In a tight defensive battle, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights pulled off the upset over the Clemson Tigers in a tense first-round Midwest Region matchup on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

    Both teams took a while to warm up offensively. Clemson led 26-23 at halftime but shot just 29.4 percent from the field in that frame, while Rutgers was at 36.0 percent.

    With 13:20 left to play in the second half, a three-pointer by dynamic senior Jacob Young gave the Scarlet Knights a 39-37 lead and the upper hand the rest of the way.

    Rutgers held a 58-56 lead with a minute to go when defensive powerhouse Myles Johnson came out of the game after an apparent ankle injury. But in the final minute, the Scarlet Knights were able to lock it down defensively, forcing a travel from Aamir Simms and getting a block from Ron Harper Jr. to close out the win.

                  

    Top Performers

    Young was a sparkplug for Rutgers, hitting 3-of-5 from long range to co-lead the Scarlet Knights with 13 points. Geo Baker and Caleb McConnell also picked up 13 points for Rutgers, while Simms led Clemson with 15.

                         
    Next Round

    Rutgers will face No. 2 Houston in second-round action on Sunday,

             

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 11 Syracuse 74, No. 6 San Diego State 62

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Ice-cold first-half shooting doomed the San Diego State Aztecs, who were upset by No. 11 Syracuse in Friday’s first-round Midwest Region action from Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

    The Aztecs rely on three-pointers and built an 18-17 lead over the first 8:49 of the game, but they went to the locker room down 32-18, shooting 7-of-31 for 22.6 percent and just 3-of-20 from long range.

    Meanwhile, Syracuse went 7-of-14 from three-point territory in the first 20 minutes, building a lead that would stand to bust more brackets on the opening day of March Madness.

    By game's end, Syracuse was 15-of-27 from long range, while San Diego State shot just 11-of-40.

            

    Top Performers 

    Junior guard Buddy Boeheim brought his A-game for Syracuse. He finished the night with 30 points off 11-of-15 shooting, including seven three-pointers, and chipped in four rebounds.

    Aztecs start Jordan Schakel finished the night with 17 points.

           

    Next Round

    Syracuse will face No. 3 West Virginia in second-round action on Sunday.

             

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 West Virginia 84, No. 14 Morehead State 67

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    West Virginia's Miles McBride
    West Virginia's Miles McBrideTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Miles McBride led the way with 30 points as No. 3 West Virginia cruised to an easy first-round win over No. 14 Morehead State in the final game of Day 1 of the 2021 NCAA men's tournament.

    Press Virginia was on point with 10 steals. The Mountaineers also limited the Eagles to just nine free-throw attempts.

    Friday's win was the 900th of West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins' career.

          

    Top Performers

    The sophomore guard McBride added six assists and six rebounds to his 30 points. 

    For Morehead State, 5-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc keyed junior guard DeVon Cooper to a 21-point performance.

                   

    Next Round

    West Virginia will face Syracuse in second-round action on Sunday.

                   

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 5 Villanova 73, No. 12 Winthrop 63

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    It was a one-point game at the half, but the Winthrop Eagles couldn't hang with the Villanova Wildcats through a full 40 minutes at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Friday.

    Despite losing starting point guard Colin Gillespie to a torn MCL in early March, Villanova handled its playmaking by committee and played a solid defensive game, outblocking Winthrop 8-0 on its way to a 10-point win.

    With the victory, Villanova reached the round of 32 for the seventh straight year.

                                      

    Top Performers 

    Villanova got a standout double-double performance from 6'9" sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. He led the Wildcats with 22 points despite going 0-of-4 from long range. He also chipped in a team-high 12 rebounds and five assists.

    D.J. Burns Jr. led the Eagles with 12 points before fouling out with 4:37 left in the second half, while Chandler Vaudrin approached triple-double territory with nine points, seven assists and 11 rebounds.

                    

    Next Round

    Villanova will face the upstarts from North Texas in second-round action on Sunday.

            

    —Updated by Carol Schram

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