First Day of March Madness Does Not Disappoint


Joe Burtzlaff

March Madness, a nickname for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, definitely lived up to its name in the first day of tournament action on Thursday, March 15. The day featured the first 16 games of the Round of 64, the First Round, and it did not disappoint. It was a day of upsets and buzzer beaters and close games. It truly was a day of madness, and here is a review of the wild day that it was.

The first game of the day definitely got the day off to a wild start. Rhode Island faced off versus Oklahoma in a game that featured top NBA prospect Trae Young of Oklahoma. The game was close the whole time, with constant ties and lead changes. 40 minutes, however, was not enough and the game went into overtime tied at 69 apiece. After more ties and lead changes in OT, Rhode Island was able to pull ahead late and beat Oklahoma 83-78.

Later in the day, Loyola Chicago took on the Miami Hurricanes in what was the Loyal Chicago’s first tournament appearance since 1985. Many experts had their bets on the Hurricanes, but that didn’t stop Loyola from staying in the game the whole time. With seconds left Loyola was down 62-61 and needed a miracle; they got exactly that. Donte Ingram threw up a three-pointer at the buzzer, and it was good. Loyola won 64-62 in what was the day’s first big upset.

The day featured several other close game, including Ohio State beating South Dakota State by only 8 points in a game that many thought would be a blowout. 4-seed Gonzaga was dangerously close to being upset, and only won by 4 points against 13-seed UNC Greensboro. 6-seed Houston beat 11-seed San Diego State on a game-winning layup from Rob Gray Jr. with just 1 second left. Gray scored a day-high 39 points in the win.

The biggest upset of the day, however, came later in the night, with Buffalo taking down Arizona. Arizona, despite being under FBI investigation for improper benefits, was expected by many to make a deep run in the tournament, and possibly even make the Final Four. They were also a team to watch because of their star center Deandre Ayton, who is expected the be the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Buffalo, however, didn’t care about any of that. The MAC champions came to play, and took down Arizona by force, winning the game by a score of 89-68 and shocking the sports world in the process. In their next game, Buffalo will take on the SEC Champion Kentucky Wildcats, who beat Davidson in a close of their own, winning by just 5 points.

If the tournament’s second day is anything like the first, then college basketball fans are in for a treat. Expect to see many more thrilling games, upsets, and highlight-reel dunks. Friday, March 16 features 16 more First Round games, and let’s hope they are just as exciting as the first 16.