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NCAA Tournament 2014: Best and worst of everything from day 1

It was one of the most memorable opening days in NCAA Tournament history, and we've got your full recap.

SB Nation 2014 NCAA March Madness Coverage

As far as opening acts are concerned, I'm not sure it can get much better than what we saw on Thursday. Four overtime games on the same day for the first time in the history of the tournament, three double-digit seeds advancing and a bona fide buzzer-beater.

Actually, I'm not sure it gets much better than what we saw on Thursday, period.

Here's anything and everything that went down:


1. (11) Dayton 60, (6) Ohio State 59 (South)

As tremendous as all four of the overtime games were, I'm not sure it got any better than Thursday's lead-off game, which saw Dayton upset in-state foe Ohio State in a contest where the lead changed hands multiple times in the final minute.

After Aaron Craft's layup put the Buckeyes back up one with a little more than 17 seconds remaining, it was senior guard Vee Sanford who played hero for Dayton, hitting a runner with just 3.8 seconds to play. Mike Prada has a great and very detailed look at how the whole play went down, but here's the quick visual:


Craft then drove the length of the floor and took the final shot of his college career, a heavily contested look in the lane that found nothing but iron.

Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Devin Oliver chipped in 11. Sam Thompson scored a game-high 18 for Ohio State.

2. (5) Saint Louis 83, (12) NC State 80 (OT) (Midwest)

The Wolfpack led by as much as 16 points, but the upset that seemingly everyone had didn't come to fruition in large part because of State's horrific free-throw shooting.

Saint Louis was down 14 with just five minutes to play after All-American candidate T.J. Warren scored a bucket and drew a foul. Warren missed the subsequent free-throw, and the charity stripe nightmare (charity stripemare? no? all right) began.

the upset that everyone had didn't come to fruition in large part because of State's horrific free-throw shooting.

Saint Louis wound up sending the Pack to the line 20 times in the final five minutes of regulation, where NC State could only manage to hit nine of those attempts. A minute remained when Warren went to the foul stripe yet again, and took missing to a new level by committing a lane violation on his own made free-throw. Seconds later with the Wolfpack clinging to a five-point lead, Cat Barber missed two more freebies, and the Billikens followed those up with a three-pointer by Jake Barnett that cut the lead to two.

Saint Louis' Jordair Jett then got fouled on a layup with 18 seconds left, but missed the free-throw that would have given the Billikens a 71-70 lead. Instead, SLU had to watch as Tyler Lewis' jumper at the buzzer went halfway down and nearly sent them back home

In overtime, NC State rallied from an extra period-long deficit and forced a turnover off its press that allowed Warren to score and get fouled with 38 seconds left. Instead of tying the game at 81, Warren once again missed. SLU hit their free-throws, Warren eventually fouled out, and the Billikens advanced to face Louisville on Saturday.

3. (7) Texas 87, (10) Arizona State 85 (Midwest)

While most of the world was focused in on Manhattan's attempt to stun Louisville, the Longhorns and Sun Devils were taking part in arguably the day's most well-played game.

Arizona State trailed by as many as 14 before making a furious rally to take an 83-80 lead late in the game. Texas responded by scoring five second-chance points to reclaim an 85-83 advantage. After ASU's Jonathan Gilling knotted the score with a pair of free-throws, the stage was set for Cameron Ridley to become perhaps the biggest hero of day one...literally and figuratively.

Ridley finished with 17 rebounds and 12 rebounds, including four points on two huge offensive boards in the game's final minutes. The Longhorns get second-seeded Michigan on Saturday.

4. (12) North Dakota State 80, (5) Oklahoma 75 (OT) (West)

Trailing Oklahoma by three with 18 seconds to go, North Dakota State called a timeout and drew up a play for star senior Taylor Braun. The Sooners made sure that Braun wasn't going to beat them (or take them to overtime), however, and forced him to kick the ball out to junior point guard Lawrence Alexander.

Alexander was up for the moment.


NDSU scored the first four points of overtime, and then got four surprise points from freshman Carlin Dupree -- who had to enter the game after Braun fouled out -- in the final 75 seconds to put things away. With Harvard having already pulled an upset a year ago and the Bison becoming the first team from the state of North Dakota to ever win a game in the big dance, it's pretty clear who America's early tournament Cinderella is.

5. (4) San Diego State 73, (13) New Mexico State 69 (OT) (West)

The fourth and final overtime game of Thursday was the day's final game in all respects, ending after 1 a.m. on the East Coast.

San Diego State led throughout but blew a seven-point lead in the final minute, the last of which slipped away on Kevin Aronis' bomb which tied the game up in the closing seconds.

SDSU star Xavier Thames scored the first basket of overtime and made three of four free-throws down the stretch to help the Aztecs avoid becoming Thursday's fifth upset victim. Josh Davis helped Thames out with 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Dwayne Polee II added 15 points. New Mexico State was led by Daniel Mullings' 18 points and four assists.


1. Michigan State

The president's pick to cut down the nets in Dallas was a notch above everyone else on Thursday, hammering a Delaware team that would have posed a significant threat to just about every other top seed in the field.

The Spartans shot better than 50 percent from both the floor and the three-point line, and got 41 points from big man Adreian Payne, a school record for an NCAA Tournament game (more on that later).

The majority of the outpouring of national love for Michigan State has been based on the fact that everyone thought they were going to be tremendous before injuries wrecked the first two-thirds of their season, but the worry was that the Spartans' sample size as a fully healthy team was too small to be trusted. They certainly appeared worthy of the nation's confidence in their tourney opener.

2. Wisconsin

Eventually, people are going to recognize that this Wisconsin team is nothing like the ones they grew up with (or have been old with), and they'll stop doubting the ability of the Badgers' to handle a lower seed in impressive fashion. If a 40-point smackdown of American doesn't accomplish that, though, then I'm not sure what will.

Ben Brust dropped 17 for Bucky, which shot 50 percent from the field and closed the first half on a 22-5 run that forced the rest of the country to find something else to watch.

3. Pittsburgh

It was an 8/9 upset that the majority of the country accurately foresaw, but that shouldn't keep us from praising the way the Panthers advanced to face No. 1 overall seed Florida (sorry, Syracuse, you were choice 3a).

Pitt scored the first 13 points of the game and took their first 20 point lead just seven minutes in. They led by at least 30 for the majority of the second half, leaving no drama in Jamie Dixon's first (technical) upset win in the tournament as the Panthers' head coach.

Colorado couldn't accomplish anything against Pitt's pressure man-to-man defense, and the Panthers turned 10 first half turnovers into easy baskets to put the game away early. While the ending was disappointing, making the tournament at all was a pretty solid accomplishment for a Buffalo team that saw a promising season crushed when star Spencer Dinwiddie went down with an ACL tear in January.


1. Louisville

The defending champs and the pick of many to repeat stared elimination directly in the face as they trailed Manhattan by three at the final TV timeout. All-American Russ Smith then did what All-Americans are supposed to do in March, burying a three to tie the game and then assisting on a pair of treys from fellow senior Luke Hancock that allowed the Cards to avoid the upset.

Manhattan is coached by Rick Pitino clone Steve Masiello, so the Jaspers knew exactly what Louisville was going to do on both ends of the court, something which left the Cardinals rattled for the game's first 35 minutes. It was a surprising development for a U of L team that had appeared un-rattleable (word) in March, and had won its previous four games by a combined 133 points.

2. Florida

Yeah, they won by 12 and yeah, anyone who thinks less of their national championship chances after Thursday is a fool, but the Gators were sleep-walking against Albany.

When it was time to make sure that things wouldn't be testy in the game's final minutes, Florida took advantage of its superior size and let Patric Young and Dorian Finney-Smith dominate around the rim. It was like the bored older brother who finally gets annoyed by baby brother's chest-thumping and starts throwing mini-hoop alley-oops to himself off the wall in their parents' basement.

This performance, coupled with Pitt's domination of Colorado, has led to plenty of chatter about whether Saturday's game could be interesting. If you think the Gator team that showed up on Thursday is going to be the Gator team that shows up in the round of 32, I think you're going to be thoroughly disappointed.

3. Cincinnati

Higher Education

This feels sort of unfair since so many people saw Harvard's win coming, but someone has to go in slot No. 3, and we didn't expect enough out of BYU to be all that disappointed by the shellacking they received from Oregon.

The Bearcats' lack of offense and over-reliance on Sean Kilpatrick was again their undoing, as they shot just 37 percent from the field and failed to utilize their size advantage by missing about a dozen shots around the rim. Kilpatrick finished his brilliant career with 18 points, but had five of UC's 11 turnovers.


Adreian Payne, Michigan State

Payne posted a tournament total (41) that's going to be tough to top (alliteration, kids) over the next three weeks, and also set a new big dance record for most free-throws in a game without a miss (17).

Decent company. Adreian Payne for Senator.

Lawrence Alexander, North Dakota State

The junior guard did more than just hit arguably the shot of the day, scoring 28 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists. He also did not miss a second of the 45 minutes it took the Bison to upset Oklahoma.

Rob Loe, Saint Louis

The senior forward is the primary reason the Billikens are still dancing. His 15 rebounds were easily a season-high, and he also came just one point shy of matching his season-high of 23.

Langston Galloway, Saint Joseph's

Galloway did everything he could to keep his college career alive, scoring a game-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. In the end it wasn't enough, as Saint Joe's fell to UConn by eight in overtime. That's right -- an overtime game wasn't good enough to make the list of the day's top five games. That's the kind of start we're off to here.

Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State

He nearly led the Sun Devils to an upset of Texas by scoring 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with seven rebounds.


I hate to say "best," because the first two are pretty painful, but that doesn't make the shots any less terrific.

1. Aaron Craft's career comes to a close


It's going to be pretty hard for a picture this March to be better than this one from Jared Wickerham of Getty Images.

2. Arizona State bench reacts to losing at the buzzer

3. Your beaten and battered darlings from North Dakota State


1. This local affiliate



They're gonna be okay.

2. The New Mexico State mascot


That's basically just the costume your anti-social best friend begrudgingly dons at the last second once you finally convince him to go to your Halloween party.

3. Archie Miller and Thad Matta's tie selection

Not the time to play twinsies.



1. Bill Raftery

Raf calling games on a major network is the one thing this terrific season has been missing, and now it feels like all is finally right with the world. I'd also like to give a bonus cheer to Verne Lundquist's laugh.

2. The Dayton Daily News

This is some tremendous front-page trolling Bjqamcgcuae_dcn_medium

3. Photoshops

There were plenty floating around on Thursday, but these two of Aaron Craft and NDSU coach Saul Phillips stood a notch above the rest.

BONUS CHEER: Phillip Martelli

The grandson of Phil Martelli Jr. is just outstanding and demands mention.



1. "They wanted it more than us. They came out and played like a team that was playing in the NCAA tournament to save their season. We didn't. That's the result you get." --Ohio State forward Sam Thompson

2. "That's one of the best coaching jobs that I have seen in my 39 years." --Rick Pitino on Manhattan's Steve Masiello

3. "When Carlin plays basketball, somebody's band is going to be playing. Sometimes it's yours, sometimes it's theirs, but somebody's is going to be playing. Tonight it was ours." --NDSU coach Saul Phillips on little-used freshman Carlin Dupree


Has to be Jerami Grant, no?

I'm actually going with the post-dunk look over the dunk itself.


That was enjoyable. I say we do it again.

Second Round Games

Friday Afternoon, March 21 (NOON-6:00 PM, ET)

Tip (ET)






12:15 p.m.


Raleigh I

Duke vs. Mercer


Craig Silver/Mike Arnold

12:40 p.m.


San Antonio I

Baylor vs. Nebraska

Marv Albert/Steve Kerr//Craig Sager

Scott Cockerill/Lonnie Dale

1:40 p.m.


St. Louis I

New Mexico vs. Stanford

Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony//Tracy Wolfson

Mark Wolff/Bob Fishman

2:10 p.m.


San Diego I

Arizona vs. Weber State

Andrew Catalon/Mike Gminski//Otis Livingston

Vic Frank/Andy Goldberg

After conc. I


Raleigh II

Massachusetts vs. Iowa/Tennessee



After conc. I


San Antonio II

Creighton vs. La. Lafayette



After conc. I


St. Louis II

Kansas vs. Eastern Kentucky



After conc. I


San Diego II

Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State



Second Round Games

Friday Evening, March 21 (6:30 PM, ET-Midnight)

(Announce Teams Same as Day Games)

Tip (ET)






6:55 p.m.


Raleigh III

Memphis vs. George Washington



7:10 p.m.


St. Louis III

Wichita State vs.

Cal Poly/Texas Southern



7:20 p.m.


San Antonio III

North Carolina vs. Providence



7:27 p.m.


San Diego III

VCU vs.

Stephen F. Austin



After conc. III


Raleigh IV

Virginia vs.

Coastal Carolina



After conc. III


St. Louis IV

Kentucky vs. Kansas State



After conc. III


San Antonio IV

Iowa State vs.

N.C. Central



After conc. III


San Diego IV

UCLA vs. Tulsa