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Ricky O'Donnell | March 25, 2014

March Madness, in photos

Memorable moments from the first four days of the 2014 NCAA Tournament

The opening weekend of March Madness felt like a success even before Fred VanVleet caught an inbounds pass in the halfcourt with Wichita State trailing Kentucky by two points with three seconds left. The game was already an instant classic and this was the only way it could end, with the Shockers getting one last chance to save their perfect season before the final buzzer. VanVleet fired from three-point range and missed, Kentucky celebrated like it had won a championship, and an already exciting opening weekend of the 2014 NCAA Tournament had its signature game.

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament rarely lets you down, and this one was no exception. Mercer's win against No. 3 Duke highlighted an opening round filled with upsets, where seven double-digit seeds won at least one game. Three of those teams are still around as the tournament enters the Sweet 16, highlighted by a Dayton squad that beat Ohio State and Syracuse after finishing sixth in the Atlantic 10.

Before we can move to regional semifinals, it's time to look back and appreciate how we got here. Here are the best images from Thursday-Sunday at the NCAA Tournament.

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Full March Madness Coverage | Updated Bracket

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Craft_mediumAaron Craft of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after losing to the Dayton Flyers, 60-59, in the second round at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Lville_mediumMontrezl Harrell of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates after a basket and the foul in the first half against the Manhattan Jaspers during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Amway Center on March 20, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Uconn_medium Lasan Kromah of the Connecticut Huskies and Langston Galloway of the Saint Joseph's Hawks colllide during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Ncstate_medium Ralston Turner of the North Carolina State Wolfpack reacts over the ball against the Saint Louis Billikens during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Amway Center on March 20, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Officials_medium Officials review a play in the final seconds of overtime of the game between the San Diego State Aztecs and the New Mexico State Aggies during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 20, 2014 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Mercer_medium Kevin Canevari of the Mercer Bears celebrates with teammates after defeating the Duke Blue Devils 78-71 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 21, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Parker_medium Duke forward Jabari Parker tries to explain his performance in what may have been his final game as a Blue Devil as Duke was upset by Mercer, 78-71, in their opening game of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, March 21, 2014. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Newmex_medium Hugh Greenwood of the New Mexico Lobos slides to grab a loose ball against Dwight Powell of the Stanford Cardinal in the second half during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 21, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Sfaustin_medium The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks celebrate after winning 77-75 in overtime against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 21, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Nccu_medium N.C. Central's Alfonzo Houston takes a seat on the bench with tears in his eyes after a 93-75 loss against Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Friday, March 21, 2014. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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More March Madness Coverage
Kentuckysmall_medium

Finally, Kentucky

It took the Wildcats all season to put together the pieces, but Kentucky proved sometimes talent really does win out in March.

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Tale of two titans

Florida showed up in Orlando, and re-established itself as a national championship contender. But Louisville muddled through a second straight game, and there are reasons to be concerned about the Cardinals.

Michiganstatesmall_medium

Sweet 16 predictions

As the tournament enters the Sweet 16, it's time to reassess the bracket. While three No. 1 seeds remain, it's becoming evident No. 4 Michigan State is as talented as any team in the country.

Gatorssmall_medium

The bracket

An updated look at how we got here, and the road the remains for the final 16 teams.

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Michtexas_medium Jordan Morgan of the Michigan Wolverines dunks the ball against Cameron Ridley of the Texas Longhorns during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 22, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Cusedayton_medium C.J. Fair of the Syracuse Orange and Khari Price of the Dayton Flyers battle for a loose ball during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 22, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Ndstate_medium Head coach Saul Phillips of the North Dakota State Bison reacts in the second half against the San Diego State Aztecs during the Third Round of the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 22, 2014 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stanford2_medium Chasson Randle of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 60 to 57 during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 23, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dayton_mediumDevin Oliver of the Dayton Flyers reacts after defeating the Syracuse Orange 55-53 in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 22, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Iowast_medium DeAndre Kane, Monte Morris and Daniel Edozie of the Iowa State Cyclones celebrate after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 85-83 in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tenn_medium The Tennessee Volunteers huddle before the game against the Mercer Bears during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 23, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Baylor2_medium Taurean Prince and Ish Wainright of the Baylor Bears celebrate after defeating the Creighton Bluejays 85-55 in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kentucky_medium Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle celebrates with the cheerleaders after scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against the Wichita State Shockers during the third round of the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis on Sunday, March 23, 2014. The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Wichita State Shockers, 78-76. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)
Uva_medium Joe Harris, Mike Tobey, Anthony Gill, Akil Mitchell and head coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers react late in the game against the Memphis Tigers during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 23, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Hugs_medium Head coach Greg McDermott hugs Doug McDermott of the Creighton Bluejays in the closing minutes of their game against the Baylor Bears in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. The Baylor Bears defeated the Creighton Bluejays 85-55. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Producer: Chris Mottram | Title Photo: Getty Images

About the Author

Imag0323

Ricky O'Donnell is the college basketball editor and an NBA contributor at SB Nation.

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