It was a good day to be a 12 seed.
Yale and Little Rock, two small-conference underdogs, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after knocking off high-major powerhouses Baylor and Purdue, respectively. The Bulldogs set the tone with the first real upset of the big dance, building a 13-point second half lead and then hanging on to deal the Bears a devastating defeat.
Baylor used a late comeback to pull within a single point with 16 seconds remaining. Yale guard Nick Victor's missed free throw gave the favored Bears a chance to tie or win this game with one final shot as the clock ran down. However, Lester Medford's lost the ball on his last-ditch drive to the basket, allowing Yale to escape with the win.
That late-game drama segued into an unlikely comeback that led to Little Rock's first NCAA Tournament victory in three decades. The Trojans were down by 13 points with 3:33 left to play, but held fifth-seeded Purdue to just one field goal for the rest of regulation while lighting up the scoreboard with fast break buckets and pinpoint jumpers. Little Rock trailed 67-70 when senior guard Josh Hagins drained this deep three that sent the game into overtime:
Purdue had three different opportunities to win this game with a heroic, last-second shot, but all three fell short in an eventual double-overtime defeat.
Three Four things we learned
1. Butler's deadly shooting will give the Bulldogs a chance against Virginia. Texas Tech gave Butler a fight, but ultimately the Red Raiders couldn't keep pace with the Bulldogs' net-blistering shooting from behind the arc. Kelan Martin broke open a 48-48 game with a one-man 8-0 run sparked by his back-to-back three pointers. Kellen Dunham was even more dangerous. The senior drained five of his nine three-point attempts to lead all scorers with 23 points.
The Bulldogs don't play lockdown defense. They allowed Big East opponents to make nearly 45 percent of their shots this winter. However, when Butler is firing on all cylinders, it has the tools to take down the nation's best teams.
2. Wichita State isn't tired. The Shockers were barely 48 hours removed from a slopfest of a game against Vanderbilt in the First Four, but Wichita State didn't show any signs of fatigue when it upset sixth-seeded Arizona on Thursday night. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet pushed their team out to a double-digit lead at halftime and never let up against the Wildcats.
The Shockers boast one of the nation's stingiest defenses. No team allowed fewer points per game and WSU ranked sixth in the nation in terms of opponent field goal percentage this winter. They've kept that tradition alive in the NCAA Tournament. In two games, Vanderbilt and Arizona have combined to shoot just 35.6 percent against Wichita State's smothering presence.
3. UNC's Brice Johnson has had enough of your layup attempts. The Tar Heels used a second-half explosion to run past an upset-minded Florida Gulf Coast team, thanks in part to Johnson's shot-erasing efforts on the defensive end. Johnson had eight blocks, six of which came after halftime, to demoralize the Eagles and shut down any hope of a Dunk City revival.
4. The Hoosiers put an ugly Big Ten Tournament loss behind them. Indiana won the Big Ten's regular season crown, but a first-game loss to Michigan in the league bracket dropped Tom Crean's team down to a five seed at the big dance. Yogi Ferrell had the kind of performance that made him a first team All-Big Ten player this winter, scoring 20 points and adding 10 assists -- though his sisters weren't super impressed with him. IU's 99 points were the most the team had scored since thumping Illinois nearly two months ago.
The team made nearly 65 percent of its shots against a Chattanooga team that held opponents to 43 percent shooting this season. Now, Indiana's can't-miss offense has them primed for a return to the Sweet Sixteen. Couple that with arch rival Purdue's embarrassing come-from-ahead loss to Little Rock, and it was a pretty good day to be a Hoosier.
Download the latest NCAA Tournament bracket here.
Thursday, March 17 (First Round)
No. 4 Duke def. No. 13 UNC Wilmington, 93-85
No. 9 Butler def. No. 8 Texas Tech, 71-61
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 8 Colorado, 74-67
No. 4 Iowa State 94, No. 13 Iona 81
No. 12 Yale 79, No. 5 Baylor 75
No. 1 Virginia 81, No. 16 Hampton 45
No. 1 Kansas 105, No. 16 Austin Peay 79
No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock 85, No. 5 Purdue 83 (2 OT)
No. 3 Miami 79, No. 14 Buffalo 72
No. 5 Indiana 99, No. 12 Chattanooga 74
No. 1 North Carolina 83, No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast 67
No. 3 Utah 80, No. 14 Fresno State 69
No. 11 Wichita State 65, No. 6 Arizona 55
No. 4 Kentucky 85, No. 13 Stony Brook 57
No. 9 Providence 70, No. 8 USC 69
No. 11 Gonzaga 68, No. 6 Seton Hall 52
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Buzzer Beater: Wisconsin stuns Xavier on final shot to win
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