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An Annotated Thorough Breakdown of Day 1 of March Madness - A little late

It’s time to take a deep dive into the games of the first round.

Princeton v Arizona Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This is a guest post from Terence Blackburn. A former academic leader at Michigan State and long time basketball fan, Terence will add own, specifically annotated takes on the NCAA Tournaments. He is also the father of Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer, who writes here (that guy with the “BBD’s” thing). You can read his Round 1, Day 1 recap HERE, the Recap of Round 1, Day 2 HERE

Well, the tournament is ON.

  • No. 1 seeds Alabama and Kansas got the job done as expected, with Alabama defeating 16 seed Texas A&M Corpus Christi 96-75 and Kansas defeating 16 seed Howard by an identical offensive score of 96-68.
  • 2 seed Texas dumped 15 seed Colgate 81-61 and 2 seed UCLA Bruins clawed 15 seed UNC Asheville ___
  • 4 seed Tennessee Volunteers beat 13 seed Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 58-55. The Cajuns outscored the Vols by 8 points in the second half, but that could not erase their terrible showing of only 19 points in the entire first half.
  • 5 seed San Diego State handled 12 seed Charleston 63-57 and 5 seed Duke beat Oral Roberts 74-51(Annotation 1).
  • 7 seed Missouri beat 10 seed Charleston 76-65 and 7 seed Missouri Tigers made the 10 seed Utah State Aggies MIZZerable, 76-65.

For some. it’s been an UPSETTING day.

The 2 seed Arizona Wildcats are NOT wild about their finish. It was a catfight with the Princeton Tigers the whole way, with Arizona leading 31-30 Arizona at the half, and taking its biggest lead of 47-35 with 11:50 remaining. The Tigers showed their stripes from that point forward, outscoring the Wildcats 20-9 and taking their first lead of the game 56-55 with 2:03 remaining(2). The Wildcats missed their last 4 jumpers of the game while the Tigers made 3 of 4 free throws – final 59-55 – for the second biggest upset of Princeton history(3), so the Wildcats are slinking back to their litter box far earlier than expected.

In more upset news, in a battle of the Middle Ages against the Restoration period, the 13 seed Furman Paladins(4) outlasted the 4 seed Virginia Cavaliers(5) 68-67. Virginia led 50-38 with 11 minutes to go in the game but then lost their heads(6). The Paladins took their first lead of the game 56-54 with 5 minutes to go. Virginia regained the lead 64-63 with 1:21 remaining and held the lead until they were executed by Furman’s 3 point shot with 2 seconds left.


The 7 seed Northwestern Wildcats, in only their second NCAA Tournament ever, defeated 10 seed Boise State. The Wildcats never trailed, but the Broncos put a scare into them at 40-40, before falling behind, with the final score 75-67.

The 8 seed Maryland Terrapins also upheld the honor of the Big 10, defeating the 9 seed West Virginia Mountaineers 67-65. The slow-moving Terrapins waited until 10:41 remaining in the first half before they managed their third field goal of the game, but then caught up to the Mountaineers 22-21 with 5:42 remaining in the first half, and finished the half up 32-30. They built a 7-point early lead in the second half, then squandered it, going down 49 to 41 at the 13-minute mark. They finally came out of their shells with 3:43 remaining and held the lead through the end of the game. They may be slow but they are sure….

In other delightful news, the 10 seed Penn State Nittany Lions upset the Texas A&M Aggies (7) 76-59. They got the win with great shooting – 48% overall and 59% of their 3s, compared to 34% and 29% for the Aggies. Tough Big 10 DEFENSE paid off! The Aggies never led after 11:45 in the first half and just kept falling further and further behind the rest of the game.

On the other hand 8 seed Iowa got shucked by 9 seed Auburn. The not so-husky Huskers’ largest lead of the game was 2 points early in the game, and they got chewed up by the Tigers in the second half, falling behind by 17 points at the 10-minute mark. The Cornhuskers just didn’t shoot the ball well enough – 41% and 26% just wasn’t enough to get the job done. Final score 83-75.

The 9 seed Fighting Illini lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks, and it wasn’t even a close shave. Their only lead was 2-0, and they never got closer than 5 points down in the second half before fading away to 73-63. With both teams shooting an identically miserable 38% on FGs and 26% on three pointers, the Illini’s 17 turnovers and their 9 rebound deficit made the difference.

So for Day 1, the Big 10 is 3 and 2, with 2 upset wins and 1 upset loss.


1- It was a bad day for the dentists with Colgate getting pasted and Oral Roberts getting drilled.

2- The Wildcats seemed to have trouble finishing. They held a 9 point lead 31-22 with 3:58 remaining in the first half, and failed to score for those last 4 minutes, while Princeton made two layups followed by two dunks to finish the half 31-30. They went up by 10 points in the second half with 11 minutes remaining and still lost.

3- The ghost of 30-year former coach Pete Carril must be smiling. Princeton’s greatest NCAA tournament upset, considered by some to be the NCAA greatest upset of all time (is that the GUOAT?), was in the 1996 first round game when the 13 seed Tigers defeated the 4 seed defending national champions UCLA Bruins 43-41.

4- In case your classical history is a little spotty, Paladins were 12 legendary knights of Charlemagne’s court in the 8th century.

5- The Cavaliers were the supporters of executed English King Charles I and his son Charles II (the English Civil War and Restoration)

6- Just like Charles I.

7- Do you ever wonder why they are called the Aggies instead of the Mechanics? Why shouldn’t the Mechanical side of Agricultural and Mechanical get some respect?

RELATED: The Rest of the Thoroughly Annotated NCAA Recaps