The first day of the NCAA tournament did not disappoint. While the first batch of games all finished in double figure outcomes, a few teams had tedious moments in the second half.
Michigan State played a complete game as they dispatched Valparaiso with relative ease. Derrick Nix finished the game with 23 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Spartans.
Butler and Bucknell got off to a slow start in the first half. The defense was good, but neither team could hit a jump shot early on. The second half was a barnburner, and Butler was on the ropes midway through the second half. After being down 11, Bucknell took a six point lead as the pace quickened. The Bison were making every shot they threw up, and the crisp ball movement seemed to be too much for Butler. However, the Bulldogs regained their composure when they finally drained some threes. Butler finished off Bucknell from the foul line to win by 12.
St. Louis dominated New Mexico State for a 20 point win. The Billikens broke out to a 13 point halftime lead. New Mexico showed a lot of strength when they cut the lead to six, but St. Louis withstood the run with an impressive array of shot making and defense.
Big East Notes
The Big East got off to a slow start when Wichita State dumped Pittsburgh with two solid halves of basketball. The Panthers lost by 18 to the Missouri Valley runner up.
Marquette survived a sure loss when they hit three consecutive three’s to cut Davidson’s lead to one. On the ensuing possession, Davidson threw the ball away, and Vander Blue hit the game winning layup with one second left.
Louisville and Syracuse displayed dominating performances with huge routes.
Big East teams have four more games on Friday.
Atlantic 10 Notes
The Atlantic 10 has not lost a game so far in the tournament. Butler avoided the upset to Bucknell, while St Louis and VCU won easily. Temple takes on North Carolina State and La Salle plays Kansas State in the round of 64.
PAC 12 Notes
The PAC 12 is also undefeated in the tournament. They had two number 12 seeds advance on Thursday. Oregon and California showed what most people already thought. Arizona dominated the upset minded Belmont Bruins with an easy victory.
Mountain West Notes
Once again, teams from the Mountain West did not show their best during the tournament. New Mexico couldn’t handle the Harvard attack, and they were a victim of the biggest upset of the night.
UNLV lost to a determined Cal team in the final moments by three.
Colorado State controlled Missouri for a 12 point win. The Rams dominated the boards, while Dorian Green poured in 26 points.