The NCAA Tournament got off to a crazy start on Thursday with more OT games (4) than the previous two tournaments combined (2).
A couple of 12 seeds in Harvard and North Dakota St. moved on with hard-fought victories, and another 12 seed in NC State blew a huge lead before finally falling in overtime to Saint Louis.
The finish of the day may have happened right at the get-go when Dayton held off Ohio State after Aaron Craft missed a runner at the buzzer which would have given the Buckeyes the victory. But ASU and Texas certainly wanted to show off some of their own drama.
Let's just say that the conference could have gotten off to a better start than it did.
In the first block of games, the Colorado Buffaloes did not even show up against the Pitt Panthers in an 8/9 matchup in Orlando. The Buffs ended up losing 77-48, and only shot 35.7 % from the field (15-of-42). It was just brutal.
Oregon brought the conference back with their win over BYU in Milwaukee. This game was a no-doubter as well. The Ducks took the two schools' second meeting of the season 87-68 behind 19 points from Joseph Young, and a 23 point/12 rebound game from Elgin Cook. Cook's from Milwaukee, so that's a pretty cool way to return and play in front of his hometown. Oregon will face Wisconsin on Saturday.
Arizona St. was part of the night block, and the Texas Longhorns controlled the middle part of the game. But the Sun Devils bounced back, kept in it, and battled back to take an 81-80 lead with a little over two minutes left in the game. Texas had the ball for the last possession with the game tied up at 85. Jonathan Holmes missed a three, but Cameron Ridley was there to get the rebound and put the ball back up just before the clock hit all zeroes. That led to this:
ASU died. pic.twitter.com/Ms6iTLxMaw— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) March 21, 2014
West Region Roundup:
Oregon is here in the west, and they will go up against Wisconsin. The Badgers absolutely crushed American. American was up 7 at one point in the first half, but Wisconsin finished the game on a 65-18 run to win it 75-35.
North Dakota State upset fifth-seeded Oklahoma, opening up Arizona's half of the bracket a little bit.
(h/t Orange Power)
To close out the West bracket action for Thursday, San Diego State took on New Mexico State and internet sensation Sim Bhullar. The Aztecs got out to a big lead early, but NMSU was able to reel them back in thanks to a big run to start the second half. San Diego St had a five-point lead late, but after a turnover, Kevin Aronis drilled a deep three to tie it up and send it to overtime. Dwayne Polee had a huge block a minute and a half into overtime, and Bhullar fouled out on the ensuing possession. San Diego St. never trailed in the game, but man it sure didn't feel that way.
Alright Friday, bring it on