Day one of March Madness is in the books and the night cap had some very good games.
– Western Kentucky beat Illinois and advanced to the second round for the second straight year. The Hilltoppers used great shooting from downtown to build a 17 point lead with just over 4 minutes to go, only to see the Illini cut the deficit to 2 with 8 seconds left, but Western hit two free throws to seal the 76-72 and advance to the second round against Gonzaga.
– Gonzaga trailed Akron at halftime and with 14 minutes to go, but used a 31-6 run to put away the Zips. Josh Heytvelt led all scorers with 22 points and will now look to lead his team past Western Kentucky on Saturday.
– UCLA beat VCU in what was the most competitive game of the night. All 5 Bruin starters were in double figures, but VCU had the ball with 10 seconds left and a chance to win the game, but Eric Maynor’s last ditch effort fell short and UCLA escaped with the win. UCLA now gets Villanova in the second round.
– Villanova trailed American by 10 at halftime and by as much as 14 in the second half, but the Wildcats outscored American by 23 in the second half to avoid the upset. Dwyane Anderson picked a good time to score a career high 25 points as they needed the monster effort to pick up the victory and advance to the second round to face UCLA.
– Oklahoma had no trouble blowing out Morgan St in the first round despite having their star player Blake Griffin flipped over a Morgan State player’s back and land hard on the floor. Oklahoma shot an outstanding 60% from the floor and held the Bears to just 28% to advance to the second round and will meet the Michigan Wolverines.
– Michigan took full advantage of their first tourney appearance in 11 years by beating Clemson 62-59 in the opening round. The Wolverines saw their 12 point lead with 5 minutes left slip to just 1 with 49 seconds remaining, but Clemson could not take the lead and the Wolverines advanced. The Michigan defense held the Tigers 20 points under their season average. Michigan’s Manny Harris led all scorers with 23 points. The Wolverines face off against Oklahoma on Saturday.
– Texas used A.J. Abrams 8 three pointers to propel them to a 76-62 opening round victory over Minnesota. The Longhorns took a double digit lead with 12 minutes remaining and the lead never slipped under 10 the rest of the game as Minnesota could just never make a run to get back in the game thanks in large part to shooting just 31% in the second half. Texas will face Duke on Saturday.
– Duke had no trouble rolling past 15th seeded Binghamton on Thursday night to advance to the second round. The Bearcats shot the ball well making 52% of their shots, but could not overcome 6 Blue Devils in double figures as the Bearcats lost in their NCAA tourney debut. Duke will take on the Texas Longhorns in the second round on Saturday