The first day of the men’s NCAA Tournament more than made up for the 2020 hiatus, with three overtime games, a healthy dose of upsets and already several emerging storylines to track – particularly the dichotomy between the presentation of the men’s tournament compared to what the women are experiencing.
On the court, both No. 1 seeds dominated, while a two-seed – Ohio State – fell to Cinderella candidate Oral Roberts. With 16 more games on tap for Saturday, which other top teams should steel themselves for heartbreak?
Follow along for the latest updates and analysis from USA TODAY Sports’ team of reporters, editors and columnists.
Rick Pitino in action with Iona vs. Alabama
The most controversial coaching figure in the sport (and that is saying something) will try to lead his No. 15 Iona Gaels past the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide. Should be lots of points! Game is airing on TBS.
The No. 12 UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos are in a tight battle early against fifth-seeded Creighton.
Amadou Sou converted a monster alley-oop to set the tone.
FINAL: No. 8 LSU 76, No. 9 St. Bonaventure 61
In what could have been a fun first-round matchup, the Tigers instead submitted the Bonnies early and kept them at arms length throughout the game. St. Bonaventure simply couldn’t overcome LSU’s length on either end of the floor.
The Tigers’ Cameron Thomas (11-for-13 FT) poured in 27 points. LSU will likely face No. 1 Michigan, currently leading Texas Southern by double digits in the first half, in the second round,.
FINAL: No. 3 Kansas 93, No. 14 Eastern Washington 84
If anything, this game gave fans tons of offense, an upset attempt and a new folk hero in the bearded Tanner Groves, who had a game-high 36 points in the loss. His brother Jacob scored 23 but the Eagles found little production elsewhere, and Kansas staged a second-half comeback to put Eastern Washington away.
David McCormack, one of the Jayhawks who tested positive for coronavirus last week, came off the bench and scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting with nine rebounds. Marcus Garrett made 4 of 6 3-pointers and had 23.
Vegas angle: Either side of the 1.5-point spread was sweating the final seconds of the game. A late foul sent Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji to the free throw line and he sunk both to put the Jayhawks up 11. But Eastern Washington’s Jacob Davison drove into the lane and hit a short jumper to bring the final margin back to nine and give the Eagles the cover.
FINAL: No. 4 Florida State 66, No. 13 North Carolina-Greensboro 56
It wasn’t the Seminoles’ prettiest effort, but the job was completed against a Greensboro squad that provided a difficult first-round assignment. RaiQuan Gray led FSU with 17 points.
Isaiah Miller gave it his all in the loss with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and intense defense (two steals)
HALFTIME: LSU 31, St. Bonaventure 22
The Tigers overcame a slow start and outrebounded the Bonnies 24-15. St. Bonaventure didn’t make any of its 10 3-point attempts and was 7-for-30 from the field. Trendon Watford and Cameron Thomas each have 10 points for LSU.
FINAL: Colorado 96, Georgetown 73
The Buffaloes shot 64% (16-for-25) from three and the Hoyas could not keep up. Jabari Walker made all five of his three-point attempts and finished with 24 points, while D’Shawn Schwartz drilled five of his own and finished with 18 points. McKinley Wright IV had 12 points, five rebounds and 13 assists.
HALFTIME: Eastern Washington 46, Kansas 38
Jacob Groves and Tanner Groves, brothers who hail from Spokane, both lit it up in the first half with 16 points and three triples each. The two are coming off all-Big Sky Tournament team selections, as the Eagles are trying to pull off the 14-3 upset.
Neither No. 4 Florida State nor No. 3 Kansas are having an easy go of it against their respective double-digit-seeded opponent.
No. 13 North Carolina-Greensboro trailed by three at halftime and tied the game early in the second half against the Seminoles. The 14th-seeded Eastern Washington Eagles led by nine as halftime neared thanks to hot starts from the Groves brothers.
HALFTIME: No. 5 Colorado 47, No. 12 Georgetown 23
The Buffaloes made 11 3-poiinters in the first half (on 17) attempts and outpaced the Hoyas in assists 15-4. Jabari Walker has 14 points off the bench for Colorado, while Georgetown is 1-for-9 from behind the arc.
In other action, No. 4 Florida State appears to be handling No. 13 North Carolina-Greensboro (truTV), with fourth-ranked Kansas set to take on 13th-seeded Eastern Washington at 1:15 p.m. EST on TBS.
The Buffaloes raced out to an early lead on the Hoyas, with freshman guard Jabari Walker playing a significant role. He’s already notched a career high in 3-pointers made (four) and had 14 points.
With about seven minutes remaining in the half, Walker was whistled for a flagrant one foul after he shoved Georgetown’s Timothy Ighoefe while they were both on the ground.
Dikembe Mutombo won’t be involved in March Madness solely via Geico commercials this year. The former NBA center and Georgetown great was on hand for the Hoyas’ game against Colorado at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Tipping off Saturday’s (CBS) action is Big East tournament champion Georgetown, a 12-seed, taking on No. 5 Colorado. The Buffaloes, thanks to a trio of early triples and an 8-0, built early 10-point lead over Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas.
Colorado led 17-7 at the under-12 media timeout.
No. 4 Virginia should be cleared for its first-round matchup against No. 13 Ohio later Saturday (7:15 p.m. EST, truTV), as ESPN reported the Cavaliers cleared COVID-19 testing twice upon arrival in Indianapolis – once Friday afternoon and again early Saturday morning.
Virginia had to forfeit ahead of the ACC Tournament semifinals after a positive test within the program. At least five Cavaliers need to be cleared for Virginia to play,
Sister Jean confident
Known for her emails to players and coaches following every game, Sister Jean Schmidt had to improvise after her email apparently went awry during her stay in Indiana to watch her eight-seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.
The 101-year-old went old-school and wrote her missives to the team by hand.
The Ramblers defeated No. 9 Georgia Tech during the first round Friday, setting up a Sunday date against in-state foe and No. 1 seed Illinois. Don’t expect Sister Jean to tell the Ramblers to back down.
“I believe we can do it,” she said.
Contributing: Scott Gleeson, Nancy Armour, Chris Bumbaca