NCAA tournament 2016: This is why they call it 'March Madness'
Friday's first-round action in the NCAA men's basketball tournament featured an extraordinary number of upsets and near-upsets. Second round action starts Saturday o CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.
Boston — Friday was an extraordinary day for upsets in the annals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
A record setting 10 teams with double-digit seeds won their first-round game. Three of the four No. 9 seeds also were victorious.
Comfortable victories by No. 13 seed, the University of Hawaii, over No. 4 University of California, Berkeley (77-66) and 14th -seeded Stephen F. Austin over the No. 3 seed West Virginia (70-56) were just the warm-up for the main event.
The Michigan State Spartans (No. 2 seed) were defeated by the Blue Raiders, No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee, 90-81. In fact, Michigan State was an odds-on favorite to win the 2016 NCAA tournament, with its No. 1 ranked player, senior Denzel Valentine.
There were also last-second heroics, such as Paul Jesperson's half-court shot with one second left on the clock, to lift the No. 11-ranked University of Northern Iowa over No. 6 Texas, 75-72, while No. 7 Iowa needed a layup with no time left to defeat No. 10 Temple, 72-70 in overtime. And seventh-seeded Wisconsin needed virtually every tick of the clock to defeat No. 10 Pittsburgh, 47-43 in a heavyweight defensive matchup. Perennial bracket-buster No. 10 seed Virginia Commonwealth University rounded out the 7-10 upsets, outpacing the seventh-seeded Oregon State Beavers, 75-67.
For sheer excitement from end-to-end, No. 12 South Dakota State University endured the fouling out, with 43 seconds left, of its star guard, George Marshall, to drive the No. 5 Maryland Terrapins to the brink of defeat.
Only an errant pass by the Jackrabbits' Keaton Moffitt with three seconds remaining, converted in transition by Maryland, preserved the Terrapins' 79-74 victory.
And the 82-68 win by the No. 2-seed Oklahoma Sooners over No. 15 California State University-Bakersfield, doesn't remotely tell the whole story. For three-quarters of the game, Bakersfield kept to within single digits of the Big 12 powerhouse Sooners and their outstanding guard, senior Buddy Hield.
Though the No. 1 seed University of Oregon Ducks easily moved to the second round past No. 16 Holy Cross, 91-52, Oregon's Pac-12 conference lost five teams in the first round this year, the most from any one conference this early since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985.
And if that weren't enough evidence that the power conferences have their hands full this time around, ESPN reported that of the 13 million entries in its tournament bracket contest, only three remained perfect after the first round.
March "madness" indeed.