Live March Madness: Highlights and key moments from day 1
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March Madness: Highlights and key moments from day 1

March Madness this year comes at a time of great uncertainty in college sports. (AP video by Ted Shaffrey) (AP production by Javier Arciga)

Get your brackets ready — March Madness is back. The first round of the 2024 NCAA men’s tournament is underway, and there’s already been a few upsets.

Here’s what to know:

Bracket busters: BYU lost to Duquesne, Michigan State triumphed over Mississippi State and Oakland’s Jack Gohlke pushed his team to victory over Kentucky.
Score updates: Keep up with all the games with the AP’s men’s and women’s brackets.
Watch live: All of the men’s games are airing on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV and their digital platforms, including Paramount+. A full broadcast schedule is available on the NCAA website.

 
FINAL: Kansas 93, Samford 89
Kansas guard Elmarko Jackson (13) lays the ball up while guarded by Samford guard A.J. Staton-McCray (5) during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Isaac Hale)

Kansas guard Elmarko Jackson (13) lays the ball up while guarded by Samford guard A.J. Staton-McCray (5) during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Isaac Hale)

Samford was a popular upset pick against injury-plagued Kansas.

The 13th-seeded Bulldogs nearly pulled it off, coming within seconds — and an apparently errant foul call — of potentially knocking off the Jayhawks.

Samford trailed 90-89 with about 15 seconds left when A.J. Staton-McCray was called for a foul as Kansas’ Nick Timberlake went up for a dunk. Replays showed Staton-McCray somehow got all ball for what should have been called a block. The play wasn’t reviewable.

Timberlake hit both free throws, the Bulldogs missed a hurried 3 and the Jayhawks moved on to face No. 5 seed Gonzaga in the second round

 
Perfect Pac-12

The Pac-12 won’t go quietly.

The conference opened its last NCAA Tournament before breaking apart by starting 4-0, capped by Washington State’s 66-61 win over Drake.

The Pac-12 as we know it will be no more with 10 of its 12 teams leaving for new conferences next season.

Colorado kicked off the league’s stellar start before its demise with a 60-53 win over Boise State in the First Four. Arizona followed with an 85-65 rollover of Long Beach State in the first full day of the bracket.

No. 11 seed Oregon was next, joining four other double-digit seeds in advancing with an 87-73 win over No. 6 South Carolina.

 
FINAL: N.C. State 80, Texas Tech 67

N.C. State needed to win its conference tournament just to get into the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolfpack are now headed to the second round after becoming the fifth double-digit seed to win in the first full day of the bracket with an 80-67 win over No. 6 Texas Tech.

The 11th-seeded Wolfpack played their way into the bracket by winning the ACC tournament as a No. 10 seed, knocking off North Carolina in the title game.

 
FINAL: Washington State 66, Drake 61
Washington State's Myles Rice (2) celebrates following a first-round college basketball game against Drake in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. Washington State won 66-61. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Washington State’s Myles Rice (2) celebrates following a first-round college basketball game against Drake in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. Washington State won 66-61. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Washington State made the most of its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 16 years.

Isaac Jones scored 20 points and the seventh-seeded Cougars made the key plays down the stretch to pull out a 66–61 win over No. 10 Drake.

Washington State was one of the surprises in college basketball this season, earning its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2007 after being picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12.

The Cougars earned an at-large bid into the bracket and survived a back-and-forth game against the Bulldogs to move into the second round against No. 2 seed Iowa State.

 
Cal’s future in doubt?
Kentucky coach John Calipari, center, stands in front of the bench late in the second half of the team's basketball game against Oakland in the first round of the men's NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. Oakland won 80-76. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Kentucky coach John Calipari, center, stands in front of the bench late in the second half of the team’s basketball game against Oakland in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. Oakland won 80-76. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

John Calipari’s future as Kentucky’s coach is in doubt another early NCAA Tournament exit.

Calipari used the one-and-done rule to his advantage, riding some of the nation’s best recruiting classes to the 2012 national championship and four Final Fours.

Kentucky hasn’t been as good lately, failing to get past the first weekend three straight years, including a loss to Saint Peter’s as a No. 2 seed in 2022.

Wildcats fans started calling for Calipari’s job during a rough stretch earlier this season, and it’s only going to intensify after the latest shortened March run.

“I hate it for these guys that people try to define this season by that game, and it’s natural and it’s how this business works,” Calipari said. “But this group was a ball to coach, and we did things to help them and bring them together, and they did it for each other. They’ve got great hearts, and that’s what’s devastating about this for me.”

 
FINAL: Tennessee 83, Saint Peter’s 49

Saint Peter’s bid for another Cinderella run came to a crashing halt.

All-American Dalton Knecht scored 23 points and No. 2 seed Tennessee dominated the 15th-seeded Peacocks from the start in an 83-49 win in the Midwest Region.

Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht drives to the basket between Saint Peter's guard Roy Clarke and forward Corey Washington during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht drives to the basket between Saint Peter’s guard Roy Clarke and forward Corey Washington during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Saint Peter’s added a massive dose of madness to March in 2022 with a run to the Elite Eight. The Peacocks were no match for the ultra-athletic Vols, falling into a 26-point hole by halftime.

Tennessee cruised from there to earn coach Rick Barnes a shot at his former team, Texas, in Saturday’s second round.

 
OK, maybe ‘Plan A’ will work

It’s now 12 turnovers. Kansas’ season high is 18, and we’re still in the first half.

KU is shooting 75% and still dunking a lot. Still leading by double digits, but it feels like if the Jayhawks are going to win, they’re going to do it the way Samford wants them to.

 
Cougars up on Drake

No. 7 seed Washington State leads No. 10 Drake 33-29 at halftime in a back-and-forth game that’s pretty even on the stat sheet.

Washington State's Myles Rice (2) and Drake's Conor Enright (4) chase a loose ball during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Washington State’s Myles Rice (2) and Drake’s Conor Enright (4) chase a loose ball during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Cougars answered a 12-0 Drake spurt with a 13-2 run. Tucker DeVries and Atin Wright have nine points each for the Bulldogs. Isaac Jones has nine for the Cougars.

WSU is 20-0 this season when leading at half.

 
Samford trapped

Message to Samford: So far, at least, Plan A is not working.

The trapping, pressing champions of the Southern Conference have, indeed, made a few steals and forced six turnovers against Kansas.

Problem for them is, this is turning into a slam dunk contest for the Jayhawks in the first half. Of KU’s first 14 buckets, four have been dunks, another four layups. Also, they’re shooting 87.5% and lead by double digits.

 
Hunter’s shoulder looking good against Samford

So far, so good for KU’s dinged-up center Hunter Dickinson.

Wearing a brace on his recently dislocated right shoulder, the Kansas big fella was moving up and down the court against Samford, grabbing a pair of rebounds and even swatting a shot with no problems.

Kansas center Hunter Dickinson shoots during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against BYU Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas center Hunter Dickinson shoots during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against BYU Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

One of coach Bill Self’s fears -- that Dickinson might reinjure the shoulder hanging on the rim -- hasn’t come to fruition either. Two of his seven points over the first eight minutes came on a dunk off a nice pass from Nicolas Timberlake.

 
Vols rolling over Peacocks

Tennessee looked every bit like a high seed in complete control through the first half of its game against Saint Peter’s.

The second-seeded Vols shot 64% and took a 25-11 rebounding advantage to take a 46-20 lead into halftime. The 15th-seeded Peacocks made just 7 of 30 shots (23.3%), putting an early end to any thoughts of repeating that 2022 magic.

 
Slump buster

Myles Rice’s 3-point shooting frustration is over. The Pac-12 freshman of the year had missed 25 straight 3-pointers over nine games before he swished his second attempt against Drake.

Washington State guard Myles Rice controls the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Washington State guard Myles Rice controls the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

 
SEC stumbling

The Southeastern Conference is off to a rough start.

The SEC matched the Big 12 with eight teams in the NCAA Tournament, but three are gone after their first games.

No. 3 seed Kentucky was bounced from the South Region by No. 14 Oakland 80-76 after Jack Gohlke torched the Wildcats with 10 3-pointers. No. 6 seed South Carolina had a similar problem in the Midwest Region, giving up 40 points to Jermaine Couisnard in an 87-73 loss to No. 11 Oregon, and Mississippi State fell 69-51 to Michigan State in the West Region.

Tennessee is at least off to a good start against last year’s darlings Saint Peter’s, building a 19-point lead late in the first half.

 
Oh, so close

Fan favorite Conrad Hawley, who walked on to the Iowa State basketball team two years ago after having been a scholarship quarterback on the Kansas football team for one season, nearly made his first field goal as a Cyclone during garbage time against South Dakota State.

Iowa State forward Conrad Hawley celebrates after a basket during the first half of a first-round college basketball game against Pittsburgh in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 17, 2023, in Greensboro, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Iowa State forward Conrad Hawley celebrates after a basket during the first half of a first-round college basketball game against Pittsburgh in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 17, 2023, in Greensboro, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Hawley entered to a round of cheers with 1:16 left, and the ISU fans held their collective breath when he corralled a ball under the basket and attempted to lay it in. The ball bounced twice on the rim and fell off, leaving Hawley 0 for 2 for the season. He has played a total of 11:48 in nine games this season. He has one point in 18 career games.

 
FINAL: Gonzaga 86, McNeese 65

That upset pick of McNeese over Gonzaga? The Zags blew it out of the bracket.

Graham Ike had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 5 Gonzaga dominated from start to finish in an 86–65 win over McNeese in the Midwest Region.

Gonzaga forward Graham Ike during an NCAA college basketball game against San Francisco in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Gonzaga forward Graham Ike during an NCAA college basketball game against San Francisco in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Gonzaga led by 17 at halftime and stretched it to 35 to earn a spot in Saturday’s second round against Kansas or Samford.

Anton Watson had 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Zags.

 
Less than 0.1% of brackets are still perfect

The day started with 22,114,647 brackets in the ESPN.com predictor game.

We’re down to 20,283 shots at perfection.

Mainly because of Mississippi State, BYU and Kentucky losing, 99.91% of the brackets filled out as part of the ESPN contest already have one loss.

And that number will fall even more before Thursday night is over. Of the perfect brackets left, about half took Texas Tech and half took N.C. State — who play later on.

So, no, perfection won’t happen this year. Carry on.

 
All eyes on Pittsburgh

As Iowa State was finishing off its game with South Dakota State in Omaha, much of the attention in the CHI Health Center was focused on the big screen above the court where the Oakland-Kentucky game was being shown.

A couple times players on the court looked confused as fans reacted to what was going on in the game in Pittsburgh. Even the players on the benches in Omaha couldn’t resist sneaking a peak during stoppages.

Iowa State’s Hason Ward was locked in on the game on TV even as play resumed against SDSU.

 
FINAL: Iowa State 82, South Dakota State 65

Iowa State cruised into the second round. The second-seeded Cyclones shot a blistering 58% in an 82-65 win over No. 15 South Dakota State in the East Region.

Iowa State's Hason Ward (24) dunks during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against South Dakota State in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State’s Hason Ward (24) dunks during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against South Dakota State in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Milan Momcilovic scored 19 points and Tamin Lipsey added 17 to send Iowa State into the second round against Washington State or Drake.

 
FINAL: Oakland 80, Kentucky 76

Jack Gohlke took the first star turn of the NCAA Tournament, pushing Oakland past mighty Kentucky.

Gohlke made 10 3-pointers — one shy of the tourney record — and No. 14 Oakland pulled off the biggest upset of March Madness so far with an 80-76 win over No. 3 Kentucky in the South Region.

Oakland's Jack Gohlke (3) shoots a 3-pointer over Kentucky's Antonio Reeves (12) during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the men's NCAA tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Oakland’s Jack Gohlke (3) shoots a 3-pointer over Kentucky’s Antonio Reeves (12) during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the men’s NCAA tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Gohlke went 10 for 20 from the arc, finishing just short of the single-game record set by Loyola Marymount’s Jeff Fryer against Michigan in 1990.

Gohlke scored 32 points to send the Grizzlies into Saturday’s second round against Texas Tech or N.C. State.

Gohlke took 335 shots this season and all but eight were from 3. He doesn’t even shoot layups during warmups.

 
Vols on the court

Tennessee’s NCAA Tournament journey has begun. The Midwest Region’s No. 2 seed has tipped off with No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in the final game of a quartet in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Vols have lost to a lower NCAA seed five times in as many tournament trips under Rick Barnes, while the Peacocks are hoping an overhauled roster can re-create some of the bracket-busting magic from their Elite Eight trip in 2022.

 
Women’s First Four check-in

The No. 6 seed Syracuse women finally know their opponent on Saturday. No. 11 seeded Arizona never trailed in final First Four game of the tournament, taking down Auburn 69-59 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.

 
Jackrabbits lose Garry

South Dakota State has lost backup guard Kalen Garry to a left ankle injury, and now the Jackrabbits could be losing their game to Iowa State.

South Dakota State's Kalen Garry (10) is helped off the court after being injured during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

South Dakota State’s Kalen Garry (10) is helped off the court after being injured during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

They had clawed back from a big early hole to get within 40-33 at the break, only to watch the Big 12 Tournament champs go on a 14-5 run to start the second half. Milan Momcilovic already has 19 points, two off the freshman’s career high.

Don’t think the kid is another European phenom just because of his name, though. Dude was a prep star in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

 
Gohlke has 10 3s, one shy of tourney record

Jack Gohlke has his 10th 3-pointer, and he’s in special company now. Here are the most 3s hit in an NCAA Tournament game.

11 — Jeff Fryer, Loyola Marymount vs. Michigan, 1990
10 — Freddie Banks, UNLV vs. Indiana, 1987
10 — Roburt Sallie, Memphis vs. Cal State Northridge, 2019
10 — Carsen Edwards, Purdue vs. Virginia, 2019
10 — Jack Gohlke, Oakland vs Kentucky, 2024
9 has been done on eight other occasions

Gohlke is also now the NCAA leader in 3s this season. He passed Hofstra’s Tyler Thomas (125) tonight. Gohlke had 121 entering today.

 
Gohlke giving UK the blues

Kentucky fans don’t know whether to laugh, cry or pray. Some seem to be doing all three.

When Oakland’s Jack Gohlke made his ninth 3-pointer in 16 tries, a few Wildcats supporters dropped their heads in disbelief at the sharpshooting display. On Kentucky’s bench, coach John Calipari turned to his assistants with a what-are-we-going-to-do-now glance.

Kentucky coach John Calipari calls out to the team during the first half of a college basketball game against Oakland in the first round of the men's NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Kentucky coach John Calipari calls out to the team during the first half of a college basketball game against Oakland in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Gohlke is two shy of the record held by Loyola Marymount’s Jeff Fryner, who made 11 against Michigan in 1990.

 
FINAL: Texas 56, Colorado State 44

No. 7 seed Texas overcame a shaky shooting night to grind out a 56-44 win over No. 10 Colorado State in the Midwest Region.

Texas used a 25-3 run to lead 27-11 at the half, holding the Rams scoreless over the final 6:50.
Colorado State rallied to pull within six, but Texas stretched the lead back out to move into the second round against Tennessee or Saint Peter’s.

The Longhorns went 1 for 14 from the 3-point arc but held the Rams to 29% from the floor.

 
Gohlke for three
Oakland's Jack Gohlke (3) shoots a 3-pointer against Kentucky during the first half of a college basketball game in the first round of the men's NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Oakland’s Jack Gohlke (3) shoots a 3-pointer against Kentucky during the first half of a college basketball game in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Oakland’s Jack Gohlke doesn’t even shoot layups during layups.

The graduate student, who dropped seven 3-pointers – the last a banked shot while falling backward – in the first half against Kentucky, attempted only 3s when the Grizzlies warmed up after halftime.

Gohlke was one of the last Oakland players to leave the locker room and he joined his teammates in a huddle where they yelled “finish” before taking the floor.

 
Class dismissed

Duquesne made history by winning its first NCAA Tournament game since 1969.

A school professor is giving Dukes fans time to enjoy it.

“Class canceled due to March Madness,” Robert Healy III posted on X. “Go celebrate. I’ll figure it out.”

No. 11 seed Duquesne won four games in four days to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 47 years and capitalized with a 71-67 win over No. 6 seed BYU.

Duquesne guard Jimmy Clark III (1) shoots under BYU guard Spencer Johnson (20) in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Duquesne guard Jimmy Clark III (1) shoots under BYU guard Spencer Johnson (20) in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Healy is the director of Duquesne’s sports information and media program, and has authored several books on the Dukes’ men’s team. He had a media and sports class (SPTS 434 01) scheduled for 3:05 p.m., but bagged it after the Dukes’ historic win.

“After the win and seeing everyone’s reaction and joy, I canceled that,” Healy said in a text to The Associated Press. “If there’s one student body I the country that deserves this day to celebrate, it’s Duquesne’s. We can make up the course content in another way. This is part of what you for in colleges I think – these experiences.”

 
Jackrabbits showing some bounce in comeback vs Cyclones

South Dakota State has shown some resolve after letting Iowa State race to a 17-3 lead, nipping away at that big deficit to get within 40-33 of the second-seeded Cyclones at halftime.

There’s been some above-the-rim highlights on both sides.

Iowa State’s Hason Ward threw down alley-oop dunks on three consecutive trips down floor, each one from a different teammate. Later in the half, the Jackrabbits’ William Kyle III caught an alley-oop that Matt Mims threw up for the midcourt line and dunked it to an audible gasp from a heavily pro-Iowa State crowd

 
Upset city? Nope

Looking for one of those 5-12 upsets?

Don’t look in Salt Lake City.

No. 5 Gonzaga has doubled up — more than doubled up — on McNeese. Cowboys coach Will Wade just took a timeout to try to stop ... the momentum, the bleeding, anything, with his team trailing 44-20 late in the first half.

Gonzaga guard Ryan Nembhard (0) drives around McNeese State guard Mike Saunders Jr., left, during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Gonzaga guard Ryan Nembhard (0) drives around McNeese State guard Mike Saunders Jr., left, during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

 
Kentucky struggling against Oakland and red-hot Gohlke

Jack Gohlke and 14th-seeded Oakland are giving third-seeded Kentucky all they can handle through 20 minutes.

Gohlke has 21 points on the power of seven 3-pointers to give Oakland a 38-35 lead at the break.

Gohlke, a graduate student who was the Horizon League’s Sixth Man of the Year this season, stuck his tongue out after making one 3-pointer. He then did the Michael Jordan shoulder shrug after knocking down his sixth 3-pointer of the half.

He later banked in his seventh that left PPG Paints Arena roaring.

 
Fairfield announces contract extension for Thibault-DuDonis

Fairfield University has announced that women’s basketball coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis has signed a contract extension designed to keep her at the mid-major through the 2029-30 season.

FILE -  Fairfield coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis directs her team during an NCAA college basketball game against Marist, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Fairfield, Conn. Thibault-DuDonis is in her second year as a head coach, leading Fairfield to a 22-1 record and a 20-game winning streak.(Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant via AP, File)

FILE - Fairfield coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis directs her team during an NCAA college basketball game against Marist, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Fairfield, Conn. Thibault-DuDonis is in her second year as a head coach, leading Fairfield to a 22-1 record and a 20-game winning streak.(Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant via AP, File)

Thibault-DuDonis, the daughter of former WNBA coach Mike Thibault and sister of Washington Mystics coach Eric Thibault, has guided the No. 25 Stags to a 31-1 record and the 2024 MAAC Championship.

No. 13 seed Fairfield will bring a 29-game winning streak into their game Saturday against No. 4 seed Indiana (24-5).

 
Caught in a Cyclone: South Dakota State dominated early by Iowa State

South Dakota State is learning what then-No. 1-ranked Houston learned last week: Iowa State is good.

And the Cyclones can make it near impossible to score when they’re playing their best. They held the Cougars to 41 points in the most lopsided Big 12 title game ever last Saturday night, and the second seed in the East Region held the No. 15 seed Jackrabbits to a single field goal in the first five minutes of their first-round NCAA Tournament game on Thursday.

Iowa State's Curtis Jones (5) looks to pass as South Dakota State's Kalen Garry (10) defends during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State’s Curtis Jones (5) looks to pass as South Dakota State’s Kalen Garry (10) defends during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State is showing it can score, too, hitting its first eight shots against the Jackrabbits as T.J. Otzelberger’s crew opened on a 17-3 tear.

 
Hoosiers sequel?

Oakland guard Jack Gohlke is feeling it early against third-seeded Kentucky.

The graduate student has five 3-pointers in the opening 12 minutes for the 14th-seeded Grizzlies, most of them contested shots that have found their way through the basket.

Gohlke averaged 12 points off the bench this season for the Horizon League champions and was named the league’s Sixth Man of the year.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe noted on Wednesday that this week was the anniversary of the famous high school upset featured in the iconic basketball flick “Hoosiers.”

So far, Gohlke is channeling his inner Jimmy Chitwood.

 
Stuck on you

It’s starting to get annoying.

The net on one end of the court in Salt Lake City has been tight all day. Balls are getting stuck. Maintenance workers have been out at least three times (that we’ve counted) to try to stretch that thing out. But here we are in warmups for Game 3 and McNeese shots are still lodging in there.

Nevada, which blew a 17-point lead in a 63-60 loss to Dayton about an hour ago, said there are no excuses.

“It’s basketball at the end of the day,” commented the Wolfpack’s Kenan Blackshear. “It happens.”

Hopefully not much longer.

 
Iowa State fans call it “Hilton Coliseum West”

After taking over T-Mobile Center in Kansas City during last week’s Big 12 Tournament, Iowa State fans have descended on the CHI Health Center in Omaha to watch their Cyclones play South Dakota State in the NCAA Tournament.

As much as 80% of the crowd is wearing yellow and red for the Cyclones, even though there were three other teams involved in the evening session.

A pocket of blue in the corner was cheering hard for the Jackrabbits, and there were a few Washington State and Drake fans, too. But the cheers of “Let’s go Cyclones” were loud before the opening tip.

 
It’s a Texas turnaround at halftime against Colorado State

Texas was down 8-2 after six minutes of its game against Colorado State.

It’s 25-3 Texas since, with the Longhorns up 27-11 at halftime.

Colorado State missed 17 of its final 18 shots of the half.

Colorado State is the 10th team in NCAA Tournament history to score 11 points or fewer in the first half. The last time that happened was in 2008 when UNLV led Kent State 31-10 at half in a first round game.

 
Grambling, please hold for the Vice President

Grambling State got a win and a call from the White House.

The Tigers beat Montana State in a play-in game at Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday night -- and the celebration continued Thursday with a congratulatory call from Vice President Kamala Harris.

“I just had to call you all to tell you, you made me proud and you made history for Grambling,” Harris told the team. “And as a fellow HBCU, proud HBCU graduate, I just had to let you all know that you’ve got fans all over the place -- including in the White House.”

The vice president attended Howard University for her undergraduate degree.

Said Grambling coach Donte Jackson, on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “It’s not every day you receive a call from the Vice President of the United States of America!!!”

Grambling plays No. 1 seed Purdue on Friday.

 
A-10 rising

The Atlantic-10 got two teams into NCAA Tournament when Duquesne won the conference tournament and Dayton received an at-large bid.

Now the conference has two teams into the second round for the first time since 2016.

No. 11 seed Duquesne had the bracket’s first upset, knocking off sixth-seeded BYU 71-67 in the East Region for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1969.

Dayton followed Duquesne into the second round by rallying from a 17-point deficit to beat Nevada 63-60 in the West Region.

Duquesne faces No. 3 Illinois and Dayton plays No. 2 Arizona in Saturday’s second round.

 
Abmas and Stevens go cold for Texas and Colorado State

The third game in Charlotte was expected to feature a high quality point guard matchup between high school rivals Max Abmas from Texas and Isaiah Stevens from Colorado State, who have combined for more than 5,400 points during their college careers.

Texas's Max Abmas (3) drives against Baylor's RayJ Dennis (10) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, March 4, 2024, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 93-85. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Texas's Max Abmas (3) drives against Baylor's RayJ Dennis (10) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, March 4, 2024, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 93-85. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Colorado State's Isaiah Stevens reacts after making a three-point basket during the first half of a First Four college basketball game against Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
Colorado State's Isaiah Stevens reacts after making a three-point basket during the first half of a First Four college basketball game against Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

But 12 minutes into the game neither had scored and they were a combined 0 for 11 from the field and 0 for 6 from beyond the arc.

 
UConn’s Edwards says she’ll turn pro

UConn women’s basketball star Aaliyah Edwards will be playing in her final NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies star center made her announcement Thursday on social media. Edwards had one more year of eligibility remaining and could have joined teammate Paige Bueckers, who announced during UConn’s senior night last month that she would suit up for the Huskies next season.

UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards (3) smiles as she watches her teammates warm up before an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Big East Conference tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena, Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards (3) smiles as she watches her teammates warm up before an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Big East Conference tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena, Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Edwards, an honorable mention All-American, is expected to be a first-round pick in the WNBA draft. UConn, a No. 3 seed, opens play Saturday at Gampel Pavilion against No. 14 seed Jackson State.

 
Divided loyalties for Oregon’s Altman

For Oregon coach Dana Altman, the next game will have a special meaning.

The Ducks will face Creighton, where he coached for 16 years, in the second round after upsetting No. 6 South Carolina.

“You can leave a place but that doesn’t mean you don’t love a place,” he said, adding his family might be a little divided. “Oregon is 1, but Creighton is 1a.”

 
Some history for Couisnard’s 40-piece
Oregon's Jermaine Couisnard (5) shoots during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard (5) shoots during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Jermaine Couisnard pulled off a true rarity.

The Oregon guard became the second player in the last 10 years to score 40 points in a men’s tournament game when he did it in the Ducks’ 87-73 win over South Carolina.

The only other player to do it in the last decade was Carsen Edwards, who had a pair of 42-point games for Purdue a week apart in the 2019 tourney.

Before that, it was exactly 10 years and one day ago: Adreian Payne had 41 for Michigan State in a win over Delaware on March 20, 2014.

Purdue's Carsen Edwards, left, controls the ball against Minnesota's guard Amir Coffey, right, during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 73-69. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Purdue's Carsen Edwards, left, controls the ball against Minnesota's guard Amir Coffey, right, during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 73-69. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Michigan State's Adreian Payne celebrates after scoring in the second half of a regional semifinal against Virginia at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, early Saturday, March 29, 2014, in New York. Michigan State won 61-59. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Michigan State's Adreian Payne celebrates after scoring in the second half of a regional semifinal against Virginia at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, early Saturday, March 29, 2014, in New York. Michigan State won 61-59. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

 
FINAL: Dayton 63, Nevada 60

DaRon Holmes II scored eight of his 18 points during a massive second-half run and No. 7 seed Dayton rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat No. 10 Nevada 63-60 in the West Region.

Dayton guard Enoch Cheeks (6) goes to the basket as Nevada forward Nick Davidson (11) defends during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Dayton guard Enoch Cheeks (6) goes to the basket as Nevada forward Nick Davidson (11) defends during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Wolf Pack closed the first half on a 16-0 run, but the Flyers answered with a 20-2 run to go up 59-58. Nevada had two chances to tie after Dayton went up three but missed both.

The Flyers move on to face No. 2 seed Arizona on Saturday.

 
For Purdue, the waiting (all day) is the hardest part

Purdue has waited a year to get back to the NCAA Tournament.

And on Friday, the Boilermakers will have to wait all day, too.

Some teams get to wake up, go to the arena and play a little after noontime. Purdue has to wait until 7:25 p.m. before it faces Grambling State on Friday. Waiting a year — after losing as a No. 1 seed — is one thing, but another few hours might make Purdue coach Matt Painter edgy.

Purdue's Brandon Newman practices for the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Purdue’s Brandon Newman practices for the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“It’s hard to wait for a night game, to be honest with you,” Painter said. “Like when you wake up, you just want to play the game and let’s get it over with. We’re ready, they’re ready, let’s compete. You’ve got to wait all day to play a game.”

 
FINAL: Oregon 87, South Carolina 73

A second No. 11 seed is on to the second round.

Jermaine Couisnard scored a school NCAA Tournament-record 40 points against his former team and Oregon knocked off No. 6 seed South Carolina 87-73 in the Midwest Region.

Oregon's N'Faly Dante (1) knocks the ball away from South Carolina's Josh Gray, left, during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Oregon’s N’Faly Dante (1) knocks the ball away from South Carolina’s Josh Gray, left, during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Ducks join fellow No. 11 seed Duquesne, a 71-67 winner over BYU, in the second round.

Couisnard, who played three seasons at South Carolina before transferring, scored 26 points in the second half as the Ducks pulled away.

Oregon moves on to play No. 3 Creighton, coach Dana Altman’s former team, on Saturday.

 
No. 10 Nevada handling Dayton

Nevada is in position to knock off a higher seed and maybe spoil a few brackets.

The No. 10 seed Wolf Pack closed the first half on 16-0 run and leads No. 7 seed Dayton 56-39 with about eight minutes left.

Nevada has held the Flyers to 3-of-13 shooting in the second half.

 
Vermont’s reaction to facing Duke? “Oh, (bleep)”

Vermont has a history of coaches with candor. Former Catamounts coach Tom Brennan was one of the characters of college basketball (“There’s 50 states and I own one of them,” he’d like to say) and current coach John Becker is great with quips, too.

Such as this one: “Oh, (bleep).”

That was his reaction when 13th-seeded Vermont learned it would face fourth-seeded Duke.

“You’ve got to play somebody,” Becker said Thursday. “As a 13 seed, you’ve got to play someone really good. ... We want to play the best and they are obviously one of the best programs in the country, a blue blood.”

The teams last played in 2013, a 91-90 Duke win. “Probably one of my greatest experiences as a head coach,” Becker said.

 
UPSET ALERT: No. 11 Oregon trying to hang on

We have an upset brewing in the Midwest Region.

Oregon leads South Carolina 67-54 with about seven minutes remaining in the second half.

Oregon is the No. 11 seed; South Carolina the No. 6 seed. If the Ducks pull this off, it’ll mean coach Dana Altman will face Creighton — his former team — in Round 2.

 
FINAL: Illinois 85, Morehead State 69

Marcus Domask had the 10th triple-double in men’s tournament history, and third-seeded Illinois rallied past 14th-seeded Morehead State 85-69 in the first round of the East Region.

Illinois forward Dain Dainja (42) shoots over Morehead State forward Dieonte Miles (23) in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Illinois forward Dain Dainja (42) shoots over Morehead State forward Dieonte Miles (23) in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Illinois trailed 45-43 about 3-1/2 minutes into the second half. The Illini scored 32 of the game’s next 41 points to take total control.

Next up for Illinois: Duquesne on Saturday.

 
Marcus Madness: Domask has a triple-double

Have a game, Marcus Domask.

The Illinois forward has the first triple-double that the NCAA men’s tournament has seen since 2019: 12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists.

Illinois forward Marcus Domask reacts after making a 3-point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin in the championship of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Illinois forward Marcus Domask reacts after making a 3-point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin in the championship of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

It’s officially the 10th triple-double in men’s tournament history. Draymond Green has two, Ja Morant had the most recent one in 2019, and the others were turned in by Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Andre Miller, Cole Aldrich, David Cain and Gary Grant.

 
How’s your bracket? It’s likely good ... for now

Look, you aren’t going to have a perfect bracket. But halfway through Day 1, you’re likely still in pretty good shape.

BYU’s loss to Duquesne knocked nearly 9.4 million brackets out of the perfect ranks on ESPN.com, and Mississippi State’s loss to Michigan State was the first defeat for 9.3 million others.

(For some reason, 66,720 folks picked Wagner to beat North Carolina. We presume you’re all alums.)

But so far, you’re probably still good.

▶ Follow the AP’s men’s brackets.

 
Illinois pulling away

Terrence Shannon Jr. kept No. 3 seed Illinois in the game against No. 14 Morehead State in the first half and Dain Dainja is helping the Illini pull away in the second.

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr. celebrates after making a basket while fouled during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 15, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr. celebrates after making a basket while fouled during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 15, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

The 6-foot-9, 255-pounder is having his way with whoever the Eagles put on him. He has scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, and the Illini lead 57-48.

 
And it counts!

Sixth-seeded South Carolina trails 11th-seed Oregon 34-29 at the break. The Gamecocks’ deficit would be at least three points deeper if not for Ta’lon Cooper.

The guard hit a last-second, running shot near half-court at PPG Paints Arena to send South Carolina into the half with a little bit of momentum.

Oregon led by as many as 10 during the half as South Carolina went nearly eight minutes without a made basket until Cooper’s heave.

 
Shannon, Illini on the ropes

No. 3 Illinois has its hands full with No. 14 Morehead State.

An Illini team known for its offensive firepower needs its defensive to step up, and high-scoring Terrence Shannon Jr. obliged with one of the best plays of the tournament so far. Early in the second half, he tapped a ball loose at midcourt, dived between two Morehead State players to grab it going toward his basket and from his back threw the ball off Riley Minix’s leg to keep possession.

After the inbound pass, Shannon scored on a layup.

 
LSU’s Poa seems ready to return

LSU guard Last-Tear Poa, who had to be stretchered off the court at the SEC Tournament because of a concussion, appears ready to come back for the Tigers’ opening game in the NCAA Tournament.

Poa participated fully in a portion of practice open to reporters Thursday, hitting several mid-range jump shots in a row during warm-ups and driving for a layup during a half-court, five-on-five drill.

LSU guard Last-Tear Poa (13) plays during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

LSU guard Last-Tear Poa (13) plays during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

“She should be available,” said LSU coach Kim Mulkey, whose third-seeded Tigers open NCAA play on Friday against No. 14 seed Rice.

 
FINAL: North Carolina 90, Wagner 62

The top seeds in the West are through to Round 2.

North Carolina eased away from 16th-seeded Wagner 90-62 in a first round matchup.
Awaiting the Tar Heels: Michigan State on Saturday. Again.

North Carolina celebrates during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against Wagner in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

North Carolina celebrates during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against Wagner in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

This will be the sixth time the Heels and Spartans meet in the tournament. North Carolina has won each of the previous five, the last four of them as a No. 1 seed.

The last tournament meeting for the two storied programs was the 2009 title game, won 89-72 by North Carolina.

 
On 14th-seeded Colgate, and why 13 matters

Colgate is a No. 14 seed, set to take on No. 3 Baylor on Friday in the West Region.
A 13 seed seems more fitting.

Here’s why: 13, an unlucky number to many, is lucky for Colgate. Coach Matt Langel is in his 13th year, and that’s just the beginning of this tale.

Per Colgate lore, in 1817, “13 men gathered and offered 13 prayers and $13.” They crafted 13 articles for a constitution that led to Colgate’s creation.

But Langel isn’t superstitious.

“For me, it’s been an awesome season and a special season, but nothing to have to do with 13,” he said.

By the way, Colgate is an underdog Friday .... by 13.

 
A kingly congratulations

LeBron James, who was coached by Duquesne’s Keith Dambrot in high school, celebrated the Dukes’ tourney win on X.

 
No. 14 Morehead State hanging with No. 3 Illinois at halftime

No. 14 seed Morehead State is staying close to No. 3 Illinois, trailing 39-38 at the break.

Terrence Shannon, who averaged 34 points over three games in the Big Ten Tournament, scored 19 for the Illini. Jordan Lathon and Riley Minix have 12 apiece for Morehead State.

“I like the shots we’re getting. It’s not that end of the court that’s the problem,” Illini coach Brad Underwood told CBS. “Couple defensive mistakes, and they’ve capitalized on them. They’re a good team. They’re here for a reason.”

 
FINAL: Arizona 85, Long Beach State 65
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