The first day of the men’s NCAA tournament more than made up for the 2020 break, with three overtime games, a healthy dose of surprises, and several storylines already emerging – especially experiencing the dichotomy between the men’s tournament presentation and that of the women.
On the court, both seeds dominated No. 1, while a couple – Ohio State – fell to the Cinderella contestant Oral Roberts. What other top teams should prepare for heartbreak with 16 more games on Saturday?
Follow us for the latest updates and analysis from the USA TODAY Sports reporter, editor and columnist.
Crimson Tide Cruise versus Gaels
FINAL: No. 2 Alabama 68, No. 15 Iona 55
Rick Pitino’s return to the NCAA men’s tournament was short.
Second occupied Alabama stood up to a challenge from another small Catholic school, coached by Pitino and holding back Iona 68-55 on Saturday. Herbert Jones led the Crimson Tide with 20 points and six rebounds and John Petty Jr. added 10 points and seven boards in the second round on Monday for Alabama, which will face the winner from UConn-Maryland. Isaiah Ross had 19 for the Gaels and Asante Gist had 16.
Michigan’s Isaiah Livers wears a #NCAAProperty shirt
Isaiah Livers is indefinitely out of the Michigan Wolverines due to a stress fracture in his foot. That didn’t stop him from making his voice heard.
Livers wore a black shirt that read #NotNCAAProperty to draw attention to the recent player-led move to advise the NCAA of naming, image, and likeness rights. Livers, Rutgers’ Geo Baker and Iowas Jordan Bohannon were some of the most vocal on social media.
David McCormack doesn’t have a COVID rust
David McCormack, the 6-foot-10 man for the Kansas Jayhawks who tested positive for coronavirus last week, had been in Indianapolis less than 24 hours when the Jayhawks’ first-round game against No. 13 East Washington featured gave a tip to the fourth seed.
He scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half when Kansas fought off the Eagles 93-84. McCormack hadn’t played a game since March 4th.
“After the game started, I didn’t think he was going to give us much. But when he got his legs under, he was really, really good in the second half,” said Bill Self, Kansas coach. “It’s impressive considering how conditioned he is after everything he brought back. It was really good to see.”
The Jayhawks needed his spark when the Eagles led at half-time at eight.
Creighton deletes UCSB
FINAL: No. 5 Creighton 63, No. 12 UCSB 62
The gauchos had a chance to win in the final seconds with a great view near the rim, but the attempt came to an end.
USC on Drake by half
HALF-TIME: USC 40, Drake 37
Joseph Yesufu leads Drake with 16 points in 4 out of 6 shots from a distance. Freshman Evan Mobley already has 13 points and eight rebounds.
Michigan mows Texas Southern
FINAL: Michigan 82, Texas Southern 66
The end result makes this seem much closer than it actually was. The Wolverines took down the Tigers by making eight more threes, beating them by ten. Mike Smith led the winning performance with 18 points. None of the lonely has fought so far; Gonzaga will play later on Saturday.
Annoyed Alert! UCSB versus Creighton
Creighton appeared to be in control, but the gauchos took it to one point by less than two minutes. What should be an exciting ending is on truTV. It would be the second 12: 5 surprise of the weekend.
Iona is sneaking up on Alabama
HALF-TIME: Alabama 33, Iona 32
A 7-0 run by Gaels at the end of half time reduced the lead to one point. Alabama hasn’t been consistent on either end of the floor, and Rick Pitino’s crew is playing hard. Isaiah Ross, the Guardian of Gaels, has 15 points with a trio of Thr. Could Iona be the second 15-seed to get a surprise in this tournament?
Creighton, UCSB goes back and forth
Marcus Zegarowski (11 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers and had a summer beater floater close the first half and propel the No. 5 Blue Jays ahead of the 34-30 gauchos, although the No. 12 was leading for most of the first 20 minutes.
Rick Pitino in action with Iona against Alabama
The sport’s most controversial coaching figure (and that says something) will attempt to lead his # 15 Iona Gaels past # 2 Alabama Crimson Tide. Should be a lot of points! The game will be broadcast on TBS.
Gauch-up and get it!
The UC Santa Barbara # 12 gauchos find themselves in an early close battle with Creighton with the fifth seed.
Amadou Sou rebuilt a monster alley to set the tone.
The LSU drives past St. Bonaventure
FINAL: No. 8 LSU 76, No. 9 St. Bonaventure 61
In what might be a fun first-round matchup, the Tigers instead filed the Bonnies in early and kept them at a distance throughout the game. St. Bonaventure simply couldn’t negotiate the length of the LSU at either end of the floor.
Tiger Cameron Thomas (11-for-13 FT) poured 27 points. LSU is likely to face # 1 Michigan in the second half, which is currently double-digit at the top of Texas Southern in the first half.
Kansas is holding back eastern Washington
FINAL: No. 3 Kansas 93, No. 14 Eastern Washington 84
If anything, this game gave fans tons of trouble, an angry try, and a new folk hero in the bearded Tanner Groves who had a game high of 36 points in the loss. His brother Jacob scored 23, but the Eagles found little production elsewhere, and Kansas made a comeback in the second half to knock Eastern Washington off the field.
David McCormack, one of the Jayhawks who tested positive for coronavirus last week, got off the bench and scored 22 points on a 9-of-15 shooting with nine ricochets. Marcus Garrett made 4 of 6 3-pointers and had 23.
Vegas angle: Each side of the 1.5 point spread was sweating in the final seconds of the game. A late foul sent Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji to the free-throw line and he pocketed both to bring the Jayhawks to 11. But Jacob Davison of east Washington pulled into the lane and hit a short jumper to bring the final lead back to nine and give the Eagles the front page.
Florida State survives against UNC Greensboro
FINAL: No. 4 Florida State 66, No. 13 North Carolina-Greensboro 56
It wasn’t the Seminoles’ nicest endeavor, but the job was completed against a Greensboro squad that presented a difficult first-round assignment. RaiQuan Gray led the FSU with 17 points.
Isaiah Miller gave it all in the defeat with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and intense defense (two steals)
Tigers bring it to Bonnies
HALF-TIME: LSU 31, St. Bonaventure 22
The Tigers overcame a slow start, outperforming the Bonnies 24-15. St. Bonaventure didn’t make any of his 10 3-point attempts and was 7-for-30 off the field. Trendon Watford and Cameron Thomas each have 10 points for the LSU.
Buffalo blow Hoyas out
FINAL: Colorado 96, Georgetown 73
The buffalo shot 64% (16:25) out of three and the Hoyas couldn’t 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.
Groves Brothers Shining to East Washington
HALF-TIME: Eastern Washington 46, Kansas 38
Jacob Groves and Tanner Groves, brothers who are from Spokane, lit it in the first half with 16 points and three triples each. The two come from the selection of the Big Sky Tournament teams as the Eagles try to overcome the 14-3 surprise.
Florida State, Kansas in close
Neither Florida State No. 4 nor Kansas No. 3 have it easy against their respective double-digit opponents.
No. 13 North Carolina Greensboro was three points behind at halftime and linked the game against the Seminoles at the start of the second half. The Eastern Washington Eagles in 14th place, led by nine as halftime approached thanks to the hot starts from the Groves brothers.
Colorado leads big
HALF-TIME: No. 5 Colorado 47, No. 12 Georgetown 23
The Buffalo made 11 3-point attempts in the first half (out of 17) and outperformed the Hoyas in assists 15-4. Jabari Walker has 14 points off the bench for Colorado while Georgetown is 9-1 behind the arch.
In another promotion, Florida State No. 4 appears to be dealing with North Carolina-Greensboro No. 13 (truTV), with fourth-placed Kansas facing 13th seeded Eastern Washington at 1:15 p.m. EST on TBS.
Colorado’s Jabari Walker was hot and whistling flagrantly
The buffaloes attacked the Hoyas early, with the newcomer Jabari Walker playing an important role. He has already made a career high in 3 points (four) and had 14 points.
Half of the remaining seven minutes, Walker was called for an obvious foul after knocking Timothy Ighoefe of Georgetown while both were down.
Dikembe Mutombo cheers Hoyas
Dikembe Mutombo won’t just be involved in March Madness this year through Geico commercials. The former NBA center and Georgetown Great were there on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Hoyas’ game against Colorado.
Georgetown vs. Colorado begins on day two
Big East tournament winner Georgetown, a 12-seed, competes against Colorado No. 5. The Buffaloes built an early 10-point lead over Patrick Ewings Hoyas thanks to a trio of early triples and an 8-0.
Colorado led 17-7 in the U12 media timeout.
Do not miss
Virginia freed herself to play
No. 4 Virginia was due to be cleared for the first-round matchup against No. 13 Ohio later on Saturday (7:15 p.m. EST, truTV) as ESPN reported the Cavaliers passed COVID-19 tests twice upon arrival in Indianapolis have – once on Friday afternoon and again early on Saturday morning.
Virginia lost before the semifinals of the ACC tournament after a positive test in the program. At least five Cavaliers must be cleared for Virginia to play.
Sister Jean confident
Sister Jean Schmidt, known for her emails to players and coaches after every game, had to improvise after her email apparently went wrong while in Indiana to see her eight seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.
The 101-year-old went to the old school and wrote her letters to the team by hand.
The Ramblers defeated Georgia Tech # 9 in the first round on Friday, setting a Sunday date against the enemy of the state and number 1 Illinois. Don’t expect Sister Jean to tell the hikers to step back.
“I think we can do it,” she said.
Featuring: Scott Gleeson, Nancy Armor, Chris Bumbaca; Michelle Martinelli, for the win; Hendrix Magley, Indianapolis star