Thursday’s opening round games (not counting the ‘First Four’) of the 2016 NCAA tournament had everything the average college basketball fan could possibly ask for with upsets, clutch shots, and yes, buzzer beaters. The second-to-last game to come to a conclusion on Thursday’s lineup ended with Providence’s Rodney Bullock putting home a go-ahead layup with 1.5 seconds remaining to propel the No. 9 seeded Friars past No. 8 seed USC 70-69. The win is Providence’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 1997 when they defeated Duke. The Friars will now move on to face the No. 1 seed in the East Region, the North Carolina Tar Heels, on Saturday. The last time these two teams met was in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, where the Tar Heels eliminated the Friars 79-77.
Before the crazy ending to the Providence/USC game, the audience around the country was treated to a spectacular lineup of games on Thursday. The first shocker came out of the West Region (Providence) when No. 12 seed Yale upset No. 5 seed Baylor 79-75. The crowd at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence was heavily dominated by Bulldogs fans, and will be again on Saturday when Yale faces off against Duke for the chance to advance to the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, out in the Midwest Region (Denver), No. 12 seed, Arkansas-Little Rock came from 13-down with just under four minutes to play in regulation to force double overtime. This insane three-point shot by Little Rock’s Josh Hagins tied the game at 70 with four seconds remaining to send the game to overtime:
Notable teams in the South Region to come out of round one victorious on Thursday were No. 9 seed UConn (74-67 win over Colorado), No. 11 seed Wichita State (65-55 win over Arizona), and No. 1 seed Kansas (105-79 win over Austin Peay). UConn is always dangerous in March, and now the Huskies are set to face Kansas on Saturday while the Shockers of Wichita State will take on No. 3 seed Miami, who took down No. 14 seed Buffalo 79-72. If the Shockers and the Jayhawks can keep it up, the world may get their wish with a Kansas vs. Wichita State matchup in the Elite 8.
If Friday’s slate of games are half as entertaining as the ones of Thursday were, America should be pretty satisfied. Hopefully, your brackets aren’t too busted up with Baylor and Purdue already being ousted.
Information from College-Basketball-Reference was used in this report.