Everything You Need to Know About Day One of March Madness

It’s that time of year again when everybody around the country pretends to be diehard college basketball fans for four days straight. I am sure most of you have heard lines from “I still have a perfect bracket!” to “Ugh, my bracket is busted on the first day.” It is difficult to keep up with all the madness of March (get it, March Madness…I flipped it…please), but luckily I am here to recap day one of March Madness 2018.

Also, to make it easy, the numbers from scores correlate with the numbers in takeaways. I think it is obvious, but you never know.


Scores:

1.) No. 7 URI – 83 vs No. 10 Oklahoma – 78 (OT)

2.) No. 3 Tennessee – 73 vs No. 14 Wright State – 47

3.) No. 4 Gonzaga – 68 vs No. 13 UNCG – 64

4.) No. 1 Kansas – 76 vs No. 16 Penn – 60

5.) No. 2 Duke – 89 vs No. 15 Iona – 67

6.) No. 11 Loyola Chicago – 64 vs No. 6 Miami – 62

7.) No. 5 Ohio State – 81 vs No. 12 South Dakota State – 73

8.) No. 8 Seton Hall – 94 vs No. 9 NC State – 83

9.) No. 1 Villanova – 87 vs No. 16 Radford – 61

10.) No. 5 Kentucky – 78 vs No. 12 Davidson – 73

11.) No. 6 Houston – 67 vs No. 11 San Diego State University – 65

12.) No. 3 Texas Tech – 70 vs No. 14 Stephen F. Austin – 60

13.) No. 9 Alabama – 86 vs No. 8 VA Tech – 83

14.) No. 13 Buffalo – 89 vs No. 4 Arizona – 68

15.) No. 6 Florida – 77 vs No. 11 St. Bona – 62

16.) No. 3 Michigan – 54 vs No. 14 Montana – 44


Takeaways:

1. No. 7 URI – 83 vs No. 10 Oklahoma – 78 (OT)

This game was the perfect game to kick off March Madness. After two back and forth halves, URI was inches away from a buzzer beater put back, but it did not fall.

In overtime E.C. Matthews hit a deep three-ball to put the nail in the coffin giving URI the overtime win. This is most likely the last time that we see Trae Young in a Sooner’s jersey. His final stat line as a Sooner was 28 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Who knows how good Young will be in the NBA. I have seen comparisons from Steph Curry to Jimmer Fredette. Hot and Cold.

2. No. 3 Tennessee – 73 vs No. 14 Wright State – 47

This game was an absolute bloodbath. I don’t think anyone outside of Wright State (wherever that is, I’m not going to look it up) actually thought they had a chance. Tennessee played unreal defense holding Wright State to 47 points. If you didn’t know, college games are 40 minutes long. Just over a point per minute is crazy. This poster happened too, which was pretty cool.

3. No. 4 Gonzaga – 68 vs No. 13 UNCG – 64

Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) sinks a 3-point tie-breaking shot over UNC-Greensboro guard Francis Alonso (10) in the final minute of the second half of an NCAA college basketball tournament first-round game, Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Gonzaga won 68-64.

No matter what year it is or how good Gonzaga is, I will never take them seriously. Yeah, they are normally a high seed and last year they lost in the finals, but it is just something about them that makes me think they are overrated every year. Today proved my point as they barely survived the first round thanks to freshman Kevin Norville Jr. hitting the biggest shot of their season in the final minute of the game. I don’t expect them to go much further in the tournament.

4. No. 1 Kansas – 76 vs No. 16 Penn – 60

KU's Svi Mykhailiuk, right, drives to the bucket while being defended by Penn's Maz Rothschild during the first half of Thursday's game in Wichita.

Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte Graham proved why he won the award carrying Kansas in their first-round win. Graham scored 29 points, 6 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. Really nothing too exciting happened this game. Just your average 1 seed beating down on a 16 seed. Here are some highlights.

5. No. 2 Duke – 89 vs No. 15 Iona – 67

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) controls the ball against Iona during the first half of the game in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Marvin Bagley III. Very good at basketball. Even though Bagley refuses to use his right hand entirely, he won ACC Player of the Year. Duke jumped out to an early lead and seemed to coast the rest of the way. This allowed their star players to relax a little during the game and have some fresh legs for the rest of the tournament.

Also, hate Grayson Allen all you want, I am for sure with you. However, we are absolutely going to miss him next year. He makes Duke games must watch. Is it because he is good at basketball? Eh, kinda. Is it because he has the capability of snapping at any second and having a temper tantrum on the court? Absolutely.

6. No. 11 Loyola Chicago – 64 vs No. 6 Miami – 62

This was the day’s first upset as well as first buzzer beater. Due to missed free throws down the stretch and a costly turnover (maybe Miami football should give the basketball team their turnover chain…get it), Loyola was able to hit a game winner.

The world was also introduced to Loyola’s Sister Jean. She prays for the team before every game and seems to be their number one fan. I remember last year, I went to the accepted students day at Loyola. At the end of the day, my dad and I went to their basketball game. Sister Jean took center court before the game and led the entire arena in a prayer. I would be lying if I said I thought she was still gonna be kicking in 2018, but I am glad she was able to see her team get “the big W.” Ramble on Loyola!

P.S. Someone give these play by play guys a raise after this call.

7. No. 5 Ohio State – 81 vs No. 12 South Dakota State – 73

South Dakota State guard Brandon Key, center, drives to the hoop between Ohio State forward Andre Wesson (24) and guard C.J. Jackson (3) during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 15, 2018,

Hand up. I am probably why Ohio State won. South Dakota was down ten with a few minutes left. A quick 10-0 run, however, tied the game at 70, and that is when I said, “South Dakota is going to pull off the upset!” No less than 5 seconds later, Ohio State hits an and one three which seemingly ended the game.

Nice job, Ty. Hey, but can you blame me? I’m a student at Penn State, so we are basically forced to hate the Buckeyes. Sorry for getting excited.

8. No. 8 Seton Hall – 94 vs No. 9 NC State – 83

Seton Hall guard Myles Powell (13) and North Carolina State guard Braxton Beverly (10) chase a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball tournament first-round game Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Wichita, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Really nothing exciting happened during this game. Seton Hall led the entire game. Not a lot of defense, a lot of fouls, and the best name in the tournament was found in Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado. Here are some highlights from the game.

9. No. 1 Villanova – 87 vs No. 16 Radford – 61

Travis Fields Jr., Omari Spellman

This game was just your average one seed beating down on a sixteen seed. Again, nothing all too special happened during this game, so here are some of the highlights.

10. No. 5 Kentucky – 78 vs No. 12 Davidson – 73

Kentucky’s Kevin Knox (5) shot over Davidson’s Oskar Michelsen (15) and Peyton Aldridge (23) during the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

This was the game I was most excited for today. Both teams were coming into the tournament with some momentum with Kentucky coming off winning the SEC Championship and Davidson winning the A-10 Championship. A lot of people had Davidson upsetting Kentucky and I can almost guarantee it is because Steph Curry went to Davidson like ten years ago. No chance these people know a thing about Davidson basketball.

I was glad Kentucky won. They are an incredibly young team with an all-freshman starting five, a sophomore bench, very few juniors, and zero seniors. They won yes, but they did not hit a single three-pointer in doing so. I suggest they run the “score the 3 point basket” play more often as they go further into the tournament, but hey that’s just me. Honestly, say what you want about Coach Cal, but this is one of the most impressive seasons in his career. This team is so young and was struggling so much at the beginning of the year, but he helped them hit their stride at the right time.

11. No. 6 Houston – 67 vs No. 11 San Diego State University – 65

Houston guard Galen Robinson Jr., (25) shoots over San Diego State guard Devin Watson (0) and forward Malik Pope (21) during the first half of an NCAA mens college basketball tournament first-round game Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Wichita, Kan. (AP

This game was back and forth the whole time. Well, more like Houston was ahead the whole time, but San Diego was never far behind. The end of the game was awesome with teams trading threes on consecutive possessions.

Houston ended up winning the game on this shot.

All in all, this was a great game. Love to see these type of games in March.

12. No. 3 Texas Tech – 70 vs No. 14 Stephen F. Austin – 60

Stephen F. Austin guard Ivan Canete (11) battles Texas Tech guard Justin Gray (5) for space during the first half of a first-round game at the NCAA college basketball tournament in Dallas, Thursday, March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Texas Tech is a team that nobody really knows what to expect from. They are a bunch of freak athletes that decided that they wanted to be good at basketball. This was another one of those blah type games, so here are some highlights.

Oh wait, I forgot that one of the most impressive dunks ever came from this game.

13. No. 9 Alabama – 86 vs No. 8 VA Tech – 83

Colin Sexton and Alabama live to see another day in Alabama’s first time being in the tournament in just over a decade. Normally Bama is seen as a football school, but this year they have shown that they can do much more than that. This game was really just a back and forth evenly played game, until Alabama prevailed in the end. Roll tide.

14. No. 13 Buffalo – 89 vs No. 4 Arizona – 68

NCAA Buffalo Arizona Basketball

Hear that? That’s the sound of people’s brackets shattering all over the country. Whether it was actually likely or not, a lot of people had Arizona in their Final Four, Finals, or winning the entire thing. Yeah, this team was inconsistent the entire tournament, but I think we all thought that after the whole falsely accused FBI situation and the fact that Zona has likely first overall pick Deandre Ayton on their team, that they could have made a push at the right time of the year.

Give props to Buffalo though. This team straight up wanted to win more than Arizona. They shot the lights out from three-point land hitting 15 of 30. This team was simply faster, smarter, and way more aggressive.  Buffalo’s Wes Clark and Jeremy Harris each had 25 points and 23 points. This was more than likely the last time we see Ayton wearing an Arizona jersey. His final stat line was 14 points and 13 boards.

15. No. 6 Florida – 77 vs No. 11 St. Bona – 62

This was another game that the higher seed shined in. The Gators got out to a quick lead, and never seemed to let it go. After barely being able to put the ball in the basket (which I hear is important) in the first half, they seemed to run the “score the ball” play a lot more in the second half.

This Gator also decided that he would like to dunk on everyone on the court at once with this putback dunk.

16. No. 3 Michigan – 54 vs No. 14 Montana – 44

Michigan did not score a single point until 5 minutes into the game going down 10-0 early. However, that did not seem to matter as they won pretty handily over a weak Montana team. Coming off of winning the B1G Ten tournament weeks ago, a lot of people speculated this whole rest vs rust argument. Any momentum they had going into the tournament after winning B1G Ten was worthless because they had two weeks off. However, they also had two weeks or preparation and rest. Look out for the Wolverines the rest of the tournament, as they look to be playing right where they left off.


This wraps up the day one recap of March Madness 2018. Be on the lookout for more college basketball blogs from myself, and many others at WTP.

Also, look for the March Madness video/podcast series hosted by me and @DanteOnDeck. You can check those videos out on our website, or listen along to Parkball Heroes on Apple Podcasts.

Follow WTP’s basketball twitter page @ParkballHeroes for consistent content throughout the entire tournament.

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