Finally, the madness of March has arrived. The best of college basketball is laid out in the form of 64 teams taking the hardwood to begin the NCAA Tournament.
Note: The update was written through the afternoon and does not include the night games of Friday, March 16. Those games will be part of the following update.
No. 13 Buffalo Bulls vs. No. 4 Arizona Wildcats: An upset typically involves a tight game, with a crazy ending. But the Bulls rolled in and rolled over the Wildcats, knocking down 50 percent of their 30 attempts from 3-point range, shocking Arizona for a 21-point upset.
Buffalo did a beautiful job combating the size of Dusan Ristic and Deandre Ayton on Arizona, by spacing the floor with four guards who were more than willing to pull the trigger from deep. Jeramy Harris (23 points), Wes Clark (25 points) and C.J. Massinburg (19 points) shot 11-for-22 from range.
Once Arizona fell behind 40-38 at the half, the Bulls collapsed on the 3-point line and held the PAC-12 favorites to 2-of-18 shooting from downtown.
Buffalo never faltered in their impressive outing, breezing past the No. 4 seed and stunning the college hoops world.
Houston guard Rob Gray was relentless in a tight game against San Diego State, racking up 39 of his team’s 67 points while snagging eight rebounds. Grey not only fueled the Cougars offense but also beat the buzzer to go up 67-65, advancing his squad.
Loyola’s last-second shot by Donte Ingram from 30 feet to top Miami was everything you could want in a buzzer-beating upset. The Ramblers did not hesitate to pull the trigger from deep which could neutralize Tennessee’s size.
Kentucky beat Davidson, but it was the first time since 1988 that they won without hitting a three. After going 0-for-6 from range in the 5-point victory, Buffalo presents some real problems for the blue blood program.
Alabama’s Collin Sexton will continue to steal headlines as long as the Tide stay in the tournament, but the unsung hero of the Bama roster is John Petty off the bench. The 6-foot-5 guard off the bench is long perimeter defender and a pivotal scoring threat. The 5-star recruit averaged 10.4 points this season, flexing on Virginia Tech with 20 points in 29 minutes, shooting 6-of-8 from deep. Bama runs more than one star deep.
Marshall knocked off Wichita State for the program’s first-ever victory in the tournament. The win was on the heels of Marshall breaking their 31-year tournament drought. It took double-digit scoring from four of their starters and sloppy Wichita turnovers late, but for the first time ever the Thundering Herd will advance.
No. 1 Villanova Wildcats 87-61 over No. 16 Radford Highlanders
No. 13 Buffalo Bulls 89-68 over No. 4 Arizona Wildcats
No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders 70-60 over No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats 78-73 over No. 12 Davidson Wildcats
No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes 81-73 over No. 12 South Dakota State Jackrabbits
No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers 64-62 over No. 6 Miami Hurricanes
No. 6 Houston Cougars 67-65 over No. 11 San Diego State Aztecs
No. 3 Michigan Wolverines 61-47 over No. 14 Montana Grizzlies
No. 8 Seton Hall Pirates 94-83 over No. 9 NC State Wolf Pack
No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide 86-83 over No. 8 Virginia Tech Hokies
No. 6 Florida Gators 77-62 over No. 11 St. Bonaventure Bonnies
No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies 73-69 over No. 10 Providence Friars
No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers 74-48 over No. 15 CS Fullerton Titans
No. 13 Marshall Thundering Herd 81-75 over No. 4 Wichita State Shockers
No. 2 Cincinnati Bearcats 68-53 over No. 15 Georgia State Panthers
Photo: Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, Allonzo Trier, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic, from left, react on the bench late in the second half of a first-round game against Buffalo in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Buffalo won 89-68. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)