Day one of the first-round of the NCAA Tournament saw its share of huge upsets, but top-seeded Kentucky moved through to the second round in easy fashion and Kansas pulled away in the second half to advance.
A total of eight Big East teams were entered in the tournament, but three of them were ousted on Thursday, including Georgetown as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. Armon Bassett helped set the tone with five three-pointers and 32 points, as the 14th-seeded Ohio Bobcats held on down the stretch to shock the Hoyas, 97-83, in a game from Providence. The Bobcats will face sixth seed Tennessee in the second round after the Volunteers escaped San Diego State, 62-59. In early action from Providence, another Big East team almost went down to defeat, but second-seeded Villanova put together a late run to force overtime before beating Robert Morris, 73-70, in a contest from the South Region. The Wildcats will next play 10th-seeded Saint Mary's, which got by Richmond, 80-71.
The No. 1 seed from the East is through to the second round as the Kentucky Wildcats dismantled East Tennessee State, 100-71. Kentucky will next face No. 9 seed Wake Forest, which earned a dramatic 81-80 overtime win over Texas. Also in the East, another Big East team went down to defeat as Quincy Pondexter sank a bank shot with 1.7 seconds left for an 80-78 Washington win over Marquette in a game played in San Jose. The Huskies play Saturday against third-seeded New Mexico, a 62-57 winner over Montana.
The tournament got its first buzzer-beater, which powered the tourney's first big upset, as Danero Thomas sank a pull-up jumper with time expiring to lift 13th-seeded Murray State to a 66-65 win over fourth-seeded Vanderbilt in the West Region. Also in the West, with action taking place in Oklahoma City and San Jose, seventh-seeded BYU snapped an eight-game NCAA Tournament losing streak with a 99-92 double overtime win against Florida, which was back in the tourney after a two-year hiatus. BYU will next face second-seeded Kansas State, which dismantled Sun Belt winner North Texas, 82-62. In San Jose, fifth-seeded Butler took down Conference USA regular-season champ UTEP, 77-59, in the last West Region game of the day. Butler will next face Murray State in the second round on Saturday.
Also in the South Region, No. 3 seed Baylor moved on despite a scare. The Bears rallied from a halftime deficit to down Southland tourney winner Sam Houston State, 68-59. In the second round, Baylor will face 11th-seeded Old Dominion, which edged sixth-seeded Notre Dame, 51-50.
Kansas, which is the top seed in the Midwest, pulled away to beat Lehigh, 90-74, in their game in Oklahoma City. The Jayhawks will play Northern Iowa in round two. The Panthers got a late three-pointer from Ali Farokhmanesh in a 69-66 victory over UNLV.
The first round of the NCAA Tournament concludes Friday with two more No. 1 seeds -- Duke and Syracuse -- in action. The Orange, the top seed from the West, will take on Vermont in the last game of the night from Buffalo, but will play without injured center Arinze Onuaku. He's been ruled out with a right quadriceps injury. The Orange will hope to reverse course from a shocking defeat to Vermont five years ago. The Catamounts were a No. 13 seed in 2005 when they shocked Syracuse, 60-57, in overtime in a first-round matchup.
There are three more first-round games from the West Region. It gets started in Milwaukee with sixth-seeded Xavier playing Minnesota, while the second game has No. 3 Pittsburgh taking on Oakland. The winner of the Syracuse-Vermont matchup will play either eighth-seeded Gonzaga or Florida State.
The four games from the East Region all take place in the afternoon. It gets started in Buffalo with No. 2 seed West Virginia playing Morgan State, while the second game at HSBC Arena will see Clemson facing Missouri in the 7-10 contest. In Jacksonville, No. 5 seed Temple, champions of the Atlantic 10, battle Cornell. The Ivy League champions are the top three-point shooting team in the nation at 43.4 percent. The second contest at Veterans Memorial Coliseum will have fourth-seeded Wisconsin playing Wofford.
The four contests from the South Region will be split between Spokane and Jacksonville. During the day in Spokane, fourth-seeded Purdue will take on Siena, and No. 5 seed Texas A&M plays Utah State in the much-anticipated Aggie vs. Aggie matchup. At night from Florida, top seed Duke faces Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and it ends with California going against Louisville.
The four Midwest Region games will be at night. In Milwaukee, Oklahoma State faces Georgia Tech in the 7-10 matchup, while second-seeded Ohio State takes on UC Santa Barbara. In Spokane, fifth-seeded Michigan State plays New Mexico State, and then No. 4 seed Maryland battles Conference USA winner Houston.