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The Morning After (the Madness)

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It’s technically still morning, right?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Xavier Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, my fellow lovers of madness! Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament is officially in the books. A concise summary to get you through your cup of morning joe:

In true March fashion, the madness began well before the action itself. About an hour before the Notre Dame-Princeton game tipped off, an app (that shall not be named) crashed and burned, leaving many unable to create/change their brackets. So, if you’re like me, your bracket was busted long before No.11 Xavier knocked off No. 6 Maryland.

Starting Five

  • Northwestern winning its first-ever NCAA Tournament game (in dramatic fashion nonetheless) stole the headlines. The eighth-seeded Wildcats blew a 15-point, second-half lead, but ultimately won on Vanderbilt’s mistake. The ninth-seeded Commodores took the lead with 18 seconds to go before their own Matthew Fisher-Davis erroneously fouled Bryant McIntosh, who hit both from the line to put the Wildcats back on top on their way to a 68-66 victory.

^How it feels to be undefeated all-time in the Big Dance.

  • Of the day’s 16 games, only two ended in “upset” fashion. No. 12 Middle Tennessee (the same team that gloriously beat No. 1 Michigan State in the first round last year) took down No. 5 Minnesota, 81-72, while No. 11 Xavier knocked off No. 6 Maryland, 76-65, thanks in large to Trevon Bluitt, who scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
  • Both No. 1 seeds — Gonzaga and defending national champion Villanova — shook off shaky starts to topple their opponents by 20-point margins. The Zags defeated South Dakota State, 66-46, to make it nine straight years with an opening-round win, while the Wildcats opened the second half with a 21-6 run on their way to a 76-56 victory over Mount Saint Mary’s.
  • The Pac-12 put up 100 points. Yes, it was No. 2 Arizona reaching the century mark against No. 15 North Dakota, 100-82, but at least the conference was represented well on the first day. Freshmen Lauri Markkanen and Rawle Alkins combined for 40 points to help the Wildcats to their third 100-plus point performance in NCAA Tournament history.
  • Five games were decided by two possessions or fewer: No. 5 Notre Dame survived No. 12 Princeton, 60-58... No. 5 Virginia edged No. 12 UNC-Wilmington, 76-71... No. 4 West Virginia outlasted No. 13 Bucknell, 86-80... Northwestern unconventionally escaped Vandy, 68-66... and No. 3 Florida State flew high to fend off No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, 86-80.

*Bonus

**Double Bonus

Feel free to add your favorite moments in the comments!