The Greatest and Worst from Day 1 of March Insanity

A 15-seed prevailing for a 3rd straight yr, a 13-seed profitable on a loopy shot within the remaining seconds, a 1-seed being pushed deep into the second half; The primary Thursday of the NCAA match all the time appears to ship, and this yr was no totally different.

Let’s dive headfirst into all the perfect and worst from the primary “true” day of March Insanity.

The three Greatest March Insanity Video games Of Day 1

1. (13) Furman 68, (4) Virginia 67 (South)

Maybe Thursday being the 5 yr anniversary of Virginia changing into the primary 1-seed in NCAA match historical past to lose to a 16-seed ought to have given away the ending to this one.

Whereas the Cavaliers’ gorgeous loss in 2018 was gradual, painful, and in the end decisive, this one was extra like a vicious left-hook smashing in out of nowhere from out of body.

Virginia was in a position to hold upset-minded Furman at arm’s size for a lot of the afternoon, however might by no means fairly acquire the extent of separation essential to really feel comfy. Nonetheless, UVA led by 12 with lower than 12 minutes to play, a state of affairs during which a well-liked Tony Bennett coached group is nearly all the time a positive factor. Toss in the truth that Furman’s main scorer, Mike Bothwell, fouled out with 6:30 nonetheless to play, and every thing appeared to level in the direction of having the ability to pencil the Cavaliers into spherical two.

A Kihei Clark made free-throw to deliver the rating to 67-63 with 19 seconds to go put UVA inside one cease of having the ability to all it a day. Even after an iffy foul name on Virginia’s Kadin Shedrick and two made free-throws by Garrett Hien, Furman wanted one thing simply in need of a miracle to have their insanity second.

The gods of March answered.

Clark’s unusual determination to chuck the ball down the ground regardless of having a timeout to make use of resulted in JP Pegues, who had been 2-for-8 from the sphere and 0-for-3 from three earlier than that shot, changing into a Large Dance immortal.

Virginia’s Reece Beekman bought a fairly good look at a possible game-winner, however his shot discovered nothing however glass and rim.

The dramatic victory would have been an unimaginable second for any 13-seed in any state of affairs, however it was particularly candy for this group of Furman gamers. A yr in the past, the Paladins constructed upon a tough latest historical past of unhealthy luck within the SoCon match by shedding to Chattanooga within the championship recreation on a 30-footer on the buzzer.

Each Bothwell and 2022-23 SoCon Participant of the 12 months Jalen Slawson might have transferred to main applications within the offseason and just about assured themselves a shot at experiencing March Insanity, however they selected to come back again and get Furman to its first NCAA match since 1980.

One of many cooler moments of Championship Week was, within the closing seconds of Furman’s SoCon championship victory, Bothwell making it some extent to go over to the identical spot on the ground the place he had been mendacity in agony 12 months earlier. Now, the ‘Dins are a win over San Diego State away from the primary Candy 16 look in program historical past.

For Virginia, the loss marked their second straight in a 4/13 matchup, and their fourth match defeat by the hands of a double-digit seed since 2016.

Thank goodness for that little nationwide title sprinkled in between all of the chaos.

2. (8) Maryland 67, (9) West Virginia 65 (South)

It’s all the time good when the early window delivers on the primary day, and the preliminary wave of video games on Thursday afternoon was great.

Setting the tone was the very first recreation of the day to tip-off, which featured Maryland and West Virginia buying and selling ridiculous runs for 40 minutes earlier than the Terrapins in the end prevailed by a bucket.

Maryland trailed 16-4 to start out the sport, however carried a 2-point lead into the locker room after hitting 9 of their final 13 pictures (and all seven of their free-throws) to shut the primary half. That stretch arrange a back-and-forth remaining 20 minutes, which ended with West Virginia’s Kedrian Johnson getting a shot to play hero.

First-year head coach Kevin Willard, who gained only one NCAA match recreation in 12 seasons at Seton Corridor, could make himself the toast of The Previous Line State if he can take out No. 1 total seed Alabama on Saturday.

3. (15) Princeton 59, (2) Arizona 55 (South)

In 1996, Mitch Henderson was a starter who had eight factors, 4 steals and three assists in Princeton’s well-known first spherical upset of reigning nationwide champion UCLA. On Thursday, he was the pinnacle coach of a Tiger group that grew to become simply the eleventh 15-seed within the historical past of the NCAA match to win a primary spherical recreation.

The shocker marked the third straight season during which we’ve had a 15-seed advance to the second spherical, and this one could have been the strangest of all of them.

Usually when a teen seed advances within the match, it’s as a result of little man going nuts from the surface, or feasting on the free-throw line, or dwelling off of a slew of uncharacteristic turnovers from their opponent. None of that basically occurred on this recreation.

Princeton shot simply 4-of-25 from three and was solely 3-of-5 from the charity stripe, however they took down one of many greatest pre-tournament favorites by showing to have a superior recreation plan, controlling the tempo, and by being the extra poised facet down the stretch. The Tigers scored the ultimate 9 factors of the sport and held Arizona scoreless for almost 5 minutes to notch their first NCAA match win since 1998 (a group Henderson additionally performed for).

After the sport, Henderson couldn’t assist however consider his legendary former Princeton coach, Pete Carril, who died final August.

“He could be very pleased with the group,” Henderson stated. “He wouldn’t need any consideration to be introduced aside from what these guys did. They performed to win. We knew we needed to hold the sport low possessions.”

The 5 Groups That Received It The Greatest

1. Duke

Look, I don’t like this any greater than you do, however the Blue Devils seem to as soon as once more be an issue that we’re going to should cope with this month.

Duke scored the primary 15 factors of the sport in opposition to fashionable upset decide Oral Roberts — some idiots even thought the Golden Eagles may very well be the primary 12-seed to crash the Last 4 — on their method to a dominant 74-51 victory. ORU, the one group in faculty basketball to run the desk of their convention this season, noticed their profitable streak snapped at 17 video games.

Jeremy Roach, who scored 23 factors, seems to have recaptured the identical March magic that he discovered a yr in the past. Dariq Whitehead is lastly wholesome and enjoying just like the man who was a prime 5 recruit within the 2022 class. Jon Scheyer didn’t present any indicators of jitters in his first March Insanity expertise as a head coach. It’s all coming collectively for a Duke group that has now gained 10 in a row and which is 19-1 this season when enjoying with its full complement of gamers.

Oh, and the Blue Devils are additionally enjoying within the area that feels the more than likely to have utterly crumbled by the point we get to the second weekend.

2. Penn State

A lot of the discuss surrounding the 7-10 matchup between Texas A&M and Penn State was centered across the Aggies being under-seeded and likewise staring down a possible showdown in opposition to outdated rival Texas within the second spherical.

The Nittany Lions made fast work of each narratives Thursday evening.

Micah Shrewsberry’s group drilled 10 of its first 14 three-point makes an attempt, completed with 13 makes from past the arc for the sport, and led by as many as 26 on their method to a dominant 76-59 victory. Andrew Funk, who scored a game-high 27 factors (probably the most of any participant on day one) was 8-of-10 alone from three.

The win was Penn State’s first within the NCAA match since 2001, and it got here of their first NCAA match look since 2011.

Each 10 years these Nittany Lions are one thing particular.


No. 2 seeds are dropping like flies within the first spherical as of late, so we will’t simply gloss over UCLA’s 86-53 thrashing of UNC Asheville.

Enjoying with out Jaylen Terry and massive man Adem Bona, who may very well be again on Saturday, the Bruins scored the primary 14 factors of the sport and by no means allowed the Bulldogs to assume for a second that that they had a shot at pulling off the second 15/2 upset of the day.

UCLA gamers admitted after the sport that they have been properly conscious of what had occurred to Virginia and Pac-12 brethren Arizona earlier within the day.

“It’s like the primary day and there’s already so many upsets,” level guard Tyger Campbell stated. “It simply makes us lock in additional as a result of we all know it’s doable. Particularly earlier as we speak, Princeton and Arizona. I believe it made us come out and simply perceive that, , each group on this match can play.”

A win over Northwestern on Saturday will ship UCLA to a 3rd straight Candy 16 for the primary time since 2006-08.

4. Auburn

Do you know that Auburn is 11-0 all-time within the first spherical of the NCAA match? As a result of Auburn is 11-0 all-time within the first spherical of the NCAA match.

That’s bizarre, proper?

The Tigers managed issues from just about begin to end of their 83-75 “upset” of Eighth-seeded Iowa. They’ll face a wounded No. 1 seed Houston in Birmingham, on Saturday.

5. Northwestern

Additionally undefeated all-time in first spherical video games? Northwestern.

The Wildcats moved to 2-0 in tourney openers with a powerful 75-67 win over Boise State.

The 5 Largest Disappointments

1. Arizona

I don’t assume this one requires a proof, however simply in case you needed to see a guidelines, Arizona …

—Turned the primary program in NCAA match historical past to lose a number of 2/15 video games.

The Wildcats have been additionally upset by Steve Nash in Santa Clara within the first spherical of the ‘93 match, the second 2/15 upset ever.

—Misplaced to Princeton regardless of the Tigers capturing simply 4-of-25 from three.

Usually in monumental upsets, the little man shoots higher than 40.6 % from the sphere and 16.0 % from past the arc, and makes greater than three free-throws, however that wasn’t the case right here.

—Misplaced to a Princeton group that was some of the inexperienced squads within the nation.

Once more, not precisely becoming the mould of a basic David-Goliath upset.

—Went scoreless during the last 4:45 of the sport.

Arizona led by double figures on the below eight timeout and had appeared to place Princeton’s upset bid to mattress. Then, the Wildcats inexplicably began to play just like the double-digit appeared that was blinded by the brilliant lights of the game’s greatest stage. They missed their remaining seven pictures of the sport and turned it over thrice within the final 4 minutes.

—Misplaced a yr after taking a disappointing upset as a 1-seed in 2022.

Tommy Lloyd’s first two common seasons as Arizona’s head coach have been wildly profitable. A yr in the past, the Wildcats gained 33 video games, captured each the Pac-12 common season and match titles, and earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA match. They then wanted extra time to outlive TCU within the second spherical of the Large Dance earlier than being manhandled by fifth-seeded Houston within the Candy 16.

That disappointment was nothing in comparison with the catastrophe that Lloyd skilled in his second March Insanity on Thursday.

—Added to an unprecedented historical past of March disappointments.

This graphic has to chop proper on the coronary heart of the nice folks of Tucson.

Yeah, however 1997 was nonetheless superior.

2. Texas A&M

Buzz Williams and Texas A&M followers have been livid about being neglected of the NCAA match a yr in the past, they usually let everybody find out about it. Twelve months later, Buzz Williams and Texas A&M followers have been livid about being a 7-seed, they usually let everybody find out about it.

With an opportunity to indicate the faculty basketball world that Faculty Station deserves a jolt of respect from the faculty basketball world, the Aggies laid an absolute egg Thursday evening in opposition to Penn State.

3. Iowa

One other yr, one other first weekend exit for Fran McCaffery, who has been a head coach for 27 seasons (13 at Iowa) and by no means been to a Candy 16.

His fan base is conscious.

Iowa’s loss to Auburn additionally allowed the SEC to take an early lead within the “I instructed you idiots our convention was the perfect” race. SEC groups went 5-1 on day one. The Large Ten continues to be off to a strong 3-2 begin.

4. Houston

I do know the Cougars are banged up, however shew, that was scary to look at for anybody who has Kelvin Sampson’s group enjoying deep into this match. UH seemed utterly disjointed on offense and turned the ball over a whopping 17 instances, permitting Northern Kentucky to maintain issues far more attention-grabbing than that they had any enterprise being.

5. Oral Roberts

On Sunday, I stated Duke-Oral Roberts was going to be the perfect recreation of the primary spherical. On Wednesday, I picked the Golden Eagles to change into the primary 12-seed ever to make the Last 4.

Is that this private? You’re rattling proper it’s.

ORU couldn’t even hold this factor remotely attention-grabbing for a minute, and now we’ve bought everybody agreeing that Duke type of appears just like the group to beat within the East.

We’ll all the time have 2021, Max.

5 Day 1 Cheers

1. Locker room celebrations

Top-of-the-line elements of this time of the yr was again in full power on Thursday.

2. Furman’s “FU” free-throw cheer and followers

All the pieces about Furman on Thursday was spectacular, together with their cheerleader’s free-throw celebration cheer.

You’ll be able to’t assist however smile.

Additionally love the showcasing of the 2 sorts of Furman followers within the recreation’s remaining moments.

Fan 1: Can’t cease smiling and saying “what the fuck”:

Fan 2: Frantically praying and on the verge of an entire nervous breakdown:

They each bought the job executed.

3. SDSU breaking the Mountain West shedding streak

Following Nevada’s blowout loss to Arizona State on Wednesday evening within the First 4 and Utah State’s loss to Missouri earlier within the day on Thursday, the Mountain West was using an 11-game NCAA match shedding streak when San Diego State took the courtroom to face Charleston in a 5/12 matchup.

Although they might have been aided a bit by a bogus foul name within the remaining minute (extra on that coming), SDSU was in the end in a position to maintain on for a 63-57 win over a Cougar group that completed its season with 31 wins.

With Boise State’s loss to Northwestern a number of hours later, the Mountain West is now 4-18 within the NCAA match since 2015, and has despatched only one group to the match’s second weekend over that very same time span. The convention can also be now 2-14 in first spherical video games since 2016.

However hey, at the least they prevented having all 4 of their members out earlier than Friday for a second straight yr. Brian Dutcher says you’re welcome.

4. This wonderful Northern Kentucky fan

I’m wondering at what age it was that his spouse — who’s noticeably not sporting any form of costume in any respect — simply accepted that this was going to be a factor.

Northern Kentucky has solely been a Division-I program since 2012. Was this man sporting his Norse gear to Nice Lakes Valley Convention video games within the late ‘80s? Did the spouse gown up at any level prior to now? And who the hell is she texting proper now? Is it in regards to the get-up? As a result of we each knew this was occurring after we purchased the tickets, CYNTHIA.

So many questions.

5. The continued rise of the 15-seeds

The match expanded to 64 groups in 1985. Between then and 2011, we witnessed simply 4 occurrences of 15-seeds upsetting 2-seeds within the first spherical of the Large Dance.

Then, in 2012, one thing superb occurred. A pair of 15-seeds — Norfolk State and Lehigh — pulled off first spherical stunners on the identical day. A yr later, Florida Gulf Coast grew to become the primary 15-seed to ever advance out of the match’s opening weekend. The upset occurred once more in 2016, then once more in 2021, after which final season Saint Peter’s grew to become the primary 15-seed to play in a regional remaining.

Now, for the primary time in match historical past, we’ve had at the least one 15-seed advance out of the primary spherical in three consecutive years.

Might Princeton take this factor all the way in which to the Last 4? Might Vermont be a part of the membership on Friday?

At this level it feels prefer it’s all doable for the second littlest of the little guys.

BONUS CHEER: Dexter Dennis’ pin block

All due respect to Xavier Rhodes, this was the perfect particular person spotlight of the day, so we needed to discover a method to work it in right here someplace.

Simply two or 25 extra of these and A&M would have been proper within the recreation.

5 Day 1 Jeers

1. Houston’s well being issues

After lacking the AAC match championship recreation due to a groin harm, Marcus Sasser — the convention Participant of the 12 months and an All-American — was again within the beginning lineup Thursday evening for Houston’s NCAA match opener in opposition to Northern Kentucky. He performed simply 14 minutes earlier than showing to worsen the harm and limp to the Cougar bench. Sasser didn’t see the courtroom within the second half of the sport.

If that weren’t sufficient, Jamal Shead — a double-figure scorer and the group chief in assists — hyperextended his knee in the course of the win. Shead instructed reporters after the sport that he expects to play on Saturday, however it’s onerous to say how near one hundred pc he’ll be.

“I’m very involved,” Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson stated of his group’s harm standing after the sport.

Including to that concern is the truth that Houston now should cope with an Auburn group that seemed very spectacular of their first spherical win over Iowa on Thursday, they usually should cope with them in Birmingham.

2. The wedgies in Des Moines

4 wedgies, one courtroom, at some point.

One thing’s occurring in Des Moines, and I’m frightened of what that is likely to be.

Fortunately, we’ve bought Ricky with boots on the bottom.

3. Boise State’s winless streak

The Mountain West could have snapped its 11-game shedding streak with San Diego State’s afternoon victory over Charleston, however Boise State’s all-time winless streak within the Large Dance moved to 9. No group has appeared in additional NCAA tournaments with out posting s single victory than the Broncos.

On the flip facet, Northwestern — which knocked off Boise by a remaining of 75-67 — has nonetheless by no means misplaced a primary spherical NCAA match recreation. The Wildcats, making simply their second look in March Insanity ever, will search for their first journey to the Candy 16 once they face UCLA on Saturday.

4. Kihei Clark’s remaining March second

In one of many strangest juxtapositions in NCAA match historical past, Kihei Clark saved Virginia’s nationwide title run asa true freshman in 2019 by making one of many smartest, headiest passes in March Insanity historical past.

Then, as a fifth-year senior level guard on Thursday, his faculty profession got here to an finish thanks largely to one of many extra inexplicably poor go makes an attempt in NCAA match historical past.

It was such an odd determination that Furman star Jalen Slawson nonetheless couldn’t consider it occurred whilst he was strolling into the locker room to have a good time.

As all the time, March provides and March takeaways. It simply sometimes doesn’t accomplish that in such extremes.

5. The foul name on the finish of San Diego State/Charleston

With simply 25 seconds to play and San Diego State clinging to a 58-55 lead, Charleston’s Jaylon Scott appeared to make a clear block on a three-point try by Matt Bradley that may permit the Cougars to have a shot to come back down and even the rating or draw to inside some extent.

Besides the whistle blew.

Bradley made 2-of-3 from the free-throw line, and that was just about all she wrote.

I’m contractually obligated to say that this single name “completely didn’t value Charleston the sport,” however it positive would have been good to know the way issues would have performed out had play not been interrupted.

All Day-1 Group

Andrew Funk, Penn State

The Nittany Lion senior guard went 8-of-10 from three and scored a day one excessive 27 factors to steer Penn State to its first NCAA match victory since 2001.

Jeremy Roach, Duke

The person who saved his greatest basketball for March final season seems to be at it once more. Roach led the Blue Devils with 23 factors, three assists and just one turnover in Duke’s spectacular thumping of Oral Roberts.

Kedrian Johnson, West Virginia

Johnson picked a heck of a time to put up a brand new career-high, scoring 27 factors on 8-of-13 capturing, however in the end it wasn’t sufficient in West Virginia’s 67-65 loss to Maryland.

Boo Buie, Northwestern

The senior guard with among the best names in faculty basketball led Northwestern into the second spherical with a 22-point, 5 rebound and 5 help effort.

Nick Pringle, Alabama

All-American Brandon Miller didn’t rating a single level for the Tide on Thursday, however it didn’t matter thanks largely to the play of Pringle. The junior entered the afternoon averaging simply 3.0 factors and a couple of.7 rebounds, however went off for 19 and 15 in simply 21 minutes in a 96-75 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

5 Greatest Day 1 Dunks

1. Jalen Slawson, Furman

It wasn’t a spectacular opening day for crams, however right here’s your very early chief for dunk of the match. And it got here from one of many day’s greatest stars.

2. Naje Smith, Boise State

Extra of a “thunk,” however we’ll permit it.

3. KJ Adams, Kansas

Simply probably the most spectacular lob of Thursday.

4. Julian Reese, Maryland

You knew it was going to be a slugfest with West Virginia, and Reese was proper in the midst of it.

5. Naje Smith, Boise State

Nothing thunky about this reverse.

5 Greatest Day 1 Pictures

1. The agony and the ecstasy

Furman v Virginia

Photograph by Lance King/Getty Pictures

2. Half II

Princeton v Arizona

Photograph by Ezra Shaw/Getty Pictures

3. Clear the lane

Utah State v Missouri

Photograph by Ezra Shaw/Getty Pictures

4. Logan Cremonesi’s hair


5. All eyes on Brandon Miller

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Birmingham

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Pictures

The All-American freshman, who was accompanied to the sport by armed safety, didn’t rating in Alabama’s blowout win over Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. Afterward, Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats stated Miller has been nursing a groin harm because the SEC title recreation.

5 Notable Quotes From Day 1

1. “In that second, it’s a fairly surreal feeling. However I can also’t say I’m stunned. This group has been so good all yr, so gritty. On paper, it’s going to appear like a giant upset. However we consider in one another and we expect we’re a very good group. After we’re at our greatest, then I believe we will beat anyone within the nation.” —Princeton guard Matt Allocco

2. “I knew when it was goin’ up. I had full perception. Full perception within the shot. I’d been lacking all evening, however that doesn’t matter. On the finish of the day, I need to be in these moments. I used to be born for these moments.” —Furman’s JP Pegues on his game-winner in opposition to Virginia

3. “Properly I don’t know if we have been well-oiled. I do know Invoice Self is gonna kill me after we get again to the lodge.” —Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts (filling in for Self) on his group’s gradual begin in opposition to Howard

4. “I’ve liked teaching him in his profession. We’d not be on this spot with out him. You all the time look to that final second and there’s so many what-ifs and who is aware of. However, in time, that may fade. And what he’s executed, what he’s meant — it’s a tough method to finish, but additionally there’s a complete lot of excellent whenever you have a look at the entire image.” —Virginia head coach Tony Bennett on Kihei Clark

5. “It’s over, what I imply. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a special feeling. I can’t thank this program sufficient. I can’t thank coach Huggins sufficient.” —West Virginia’s Erik Stevenson, who performed at Wichita State, Washington and South Carolina earlier than lastly attending to the NCAA match with West Virginia in his remaining faculty season

Full Friday schedule for 2023 males’s NCAA match

Put together your thoughts, physique and soul to do that entire factor once more.

Can’t wait.

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