Men’s March Madness highlights: Thursday’s first-round scores, best moments, biggest surprises

Men’s March Madness highlights: Thursday’s first-round scores, best moments, biggest surprises


Editor’s note: Follow all of Friday’s March Madness scores, highlights, upsets and updates with USA TODAY Sports’ live coverage.

Men’s March Madness tipped off Thursday with 16 first-round games. We got plenty of upsets on Day 1.

The highlight was No. 14 Oakland knocking off No. 3 Kentucky, a loss that raises a lot of questions about John Calipari’s future. But Big Blue Nation isn’t the only fan base left licking its wounds. A trio of 11-seeds — Duquesne, Oregon and NC State — knocked off their No. 6 counterparts. Needless to say, there aren’t very many perfect brackets left.

Men’s NCAA tournament games are airing and streaming across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

USA TODAY Sports provideed the latest news, scores, analysis and more all day. Here’s how it unfolded.

Oakland upsets Kentucky

Duquesne upsets BYU

Dayton rallies past Nevada

Here’s the full scoreboard from Thursday’s first-round games.

Here’s the full schedule for Friday’s first-round games.

Here’s a look back at the results of Thursday’s games:

Kansas may have caught a break. 

The Jayhawks led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but Samford surged back and cut the deficit to one point with 20 seconds left. Kansas tried to move the ball around and got it up to guard Nicolas Timberlake. 

He went for a dunk and Samford’s A.J. Staton-McCray contested it. It was called a foul, much to the objection of the Bulldogs.

When the CBS broadcast showed a replay, Staton-McCray appeared to block the ball without touching Timberlake. Broadcasters Brad Nessler and Brendan Haywood both agreed it was a bad call, but the call couldn’t be reviewed.

So, instead of it being a block with Samford potentially getting the ball back down by one, Timberlake got two free throws. He made both to make it a 92-89 game. Samford couldn’t tie the game on the next possession, and the Jayhawks won 93-89. — Jordan Mendoza

The No. 11-seed North Carolina State Wolfpack got into the NCAA Tournament by winning five games in five days last week, conquering the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to “steal” an NCAA bid with an automatic berth. Five days later, they proved to be one of the hottest teams in the first round with an 80-67 win against No. 6-seed Texas Tech in Pittsburgh.

But they didn’t “steal” anything this time, except for the basketball eight times against Tech. They earned it by dominating the paint, 42-20, and closing out the game with a 28-18 scoring clip .

A trio of Wolfpack big men combined for 54 points – Ben Middlebrooks, a transfer from Clemson, poured in a career-high 21 points. Forward DJ Burns, a transfer from Winthrop, had 16; while Missouri transfer Mohamed Diarra added 17.

Just last week, they all had limped into their league tournament with four straight losses to end the regular season with a 17-14 record. They would not have gotten into the tournament without getting so hot. And now they’re on the verge of the Sweet 16, set for a second-round game Saturday against No. 14-seed Oakland University of Michigan. — Brent Schrotenboer

The Bulldogs are back in it.

After falling behind by 22 points, Samford’s offense has woken up and now trails Kansas 81-78 with less than five minutes left.

There were several runs made by Samford, but it was the 3-point shooting that got the Bulldogs back in the game. In the second half, Samford has made 7-of-14 3-point attempts. 

It trailed for a majority of the second half, but Washington State used a late run and Drake made costly turnovers, which helped the Cougars get their first NCAA Tournament win since 2008 with a 66-61 victory.

Drake led by eight points with under seven minutes left, but Washington State used a 9-1 run to tie the game at 55. It was knotted up at 58, but a 3-point shot from Isaiah Watts gave the Cougars the lead for good. Back-to-back turnovers for Drake doomed it in the final 30 seconds. 

Free throws will haunt Drake after the loss. Despite being a top 40 free-throw shooting team, it couldn’t convert Thursday with a 6-for-14 mark from the charity stripe. — Jordan Mendoza

The Jayhawks aren’t feeling the upset, extending their lead against Samford to 63-41 early in the second half.

Kansas used a 12-1 run to strengthen its lead against the Bulldogs, capped off by an emphatic dunk by K.J. Adams Jr., who scored half of the points during the run. He leads all scorers with 16 points on the night. — Jordan Mendoza

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes wasn’t good enough to keep his job at Texas in 2015, but now he’ll get a chance to put the Longhorns down in the second round after leading the No. 2-seed Volunteers to an 83-49 win over No. 15-seed Saint Peter’s in a first-round game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Volunteers throttled the Peacocks defensively, building a 46-20 lead at halftime and holding Saint Peter’s to 16-of-55 shooting (29.1%), including just 4-for-24 from 3-point range.

Star guard Dalton Knecht, a transfer from Northern Colorado, led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds.

The Volunteers bounced back from losses in their previous two games to destroy Saint Peter’s, a small college in New Jersey known for making a run all the way to the Elite Eight in 2022.

Now the Volunteers take on Texas, which fired Barnes in 2015 after 17 seasons. Tennessee hired him that same year. — Brent Schrotenboer

Kansas may be hurt, but it’s giving Samford a tough game in the first round with the Jayhawks leading 48-38 at halftime.

A hot start to the game got Kansas going with six of its first seven shot attempts going in to get a sizable lead. The Jayhawks did lead by as much as 16, but the Bulldogs aren’t out of the game yet, as they kept up in the final minutes to still have a shot of pulling off an upset.

One of the best offenses in college basketball, Samford has struggled against Kansas’ defense, with the Bulldogs shooting 13-for-37 (35.1%) in the first half and getting dominated on the glass. What’s kept the Bulldogs in it are Kansas’ turnovers, with 12 turning into 11 Samford points. — Jordan Mendoza

At some point in the next few days, John Calipari and Kentucky officials need to get in a room, lock the door and agree not to come out until they’ve reached a number that will end this agony. 

It’s over. 

It needs to be over. 

It’s time for college basketball’s premier program and the sport’s most underachieving coach to go their separate ways and do something different

If Calipari returns to Kentucky next year after another March disasterclass — this time against Oakland Thursday in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — he will be the most miserable multi-millionaire in a state that no longer wants him there and no longer envisions a revival in whatever magical abilities he once had. — Dan Wolken

It seems pretty likely that Oakland University men’s basketball coach Greg Kampe get a bonus payment for his No. 14-seeded team’s colossal, 80-76 upset of No. 3 seed Kentucky on Thursday night in an NCAA men’s basketball tournament first-round game.

However, according to the university’s general counsel’s office, only two people know the amount: Kampe and Oakland athletics director Steve Waterfield.

Kampe’s contract with the school, obtained by USA TODAY Sports through an open-records request, includes a highly unusual arrangement under which any performance-bonus payments are at the AD’s discretion and based on unspecified goals that are to be determined annually and are subject to change at any time. — Steve Berkowitz

Could a third 6-11 upset be in the cards Thursday?

No. 11 NC State, fresh off a surprise run to the ACC tournament final, leads No. 6 Texas Tech 37-33 at halftime.

The Wolfpack opened up its largest lead at 37-30, but the Red Raiders got a little bit of momentum back with Darrion Williams’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

NC State’s Ben Middlebrooks leads all scorers with 14 points off the bench. — Jace Evans

It was a first half of runs in Washington State vs. Drake, with the Cougars holding a 33-29 lead at the half.

Washington State got out to an early lead, but Drake followed it with a 12-0 run to lead 21-15. After that, the Cougars went on a 13-2 run to lead 28-23 and both sides traded baskets for the remainder of the half.

The stats are nearly identical, with both teams making 13 shots and Drake knocking down three 3-pointers while Washington State has four made 3-pointers. The only real difference has been at the foul line, with Washington State making 3-of-6 from the charity stripe while Drake missing two free throw attempts. — Jordan Mendoza

Saint Peter’s shocked the world in 2022 with a run to the Elite Eight out of the No. 15 spot. 

The Peacocks are a No. 15 seed again, but this NCAA Tournament is shaping up to be a lot less magical.

No. 2 Tennessee was clinical in the first half against Saint Peter’s, shooting 64% from the field while limiting the Peacocks to 23.3% shooting. That disparity helped Tennessee take a 46-20 lead into the break.

Jonas Aidoo and Dalton Knecht are leading the way with 13 points apiece. — Jace Evans

While the world was watching No. 14 Oakland upset No. 3 Kentucky, Gonzaga was quietly doing what it does.

The No. 5 Bulldogs crushed McNeese State, leaving no doubt in an 86-65 victory. Gonzaga has now won at least one NCAA Tournament game every year the tournament’s been played since 2009. 

Gonzaga led 48-25 at halftime and cruised home to victory. Five players scored in double figures, and all but three scored at least seven points.

The Bulldogs shot 51.7% from the field and hit 10-of-21 3-pointers (46.5%) while holding McNeese to just 33.3% shooting overall (and just 22.7% from three). — Jace Evans

With a history of heartbreak and a tortured relationship with the No. 2 seed, Iowa State fans may have been a little apprehensive heading into Thursday’s first-round NCAA Tournament game despite being a heavy favorite. 

There was no need to worry. 

The No. 2 Cyclones rode a sizzling shooting start into the second round by demolishing No. 15 South Dakota State, 82-65, on Thursday night to continue on in the NCAA Tournament at CHI Health Center. — Travis Hines, Des Moines Register

While not as memorable as a No. 16 seed or a No. 15 seed pulling off a first-round stunner and while not as common as a No. 12 seed knocking off a No. 5 seed, a No. 14 seed toppling a No. 3 seed is one of the more thrilling possible outcomes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The result embodies what millions across the country love about the frenetic opening days of March Madness — a program from a small conference getting the best of one of the sport’s top 15 teams, the vast majority of which come from one of college basketball’s most powerful leagues.

It took just one full day of the 2024 NCAA Tournament to produce such an upset. — Craig Meyer, USA TODAY NETWORK

Down goes Big Blue nation.

The No. 14 seed Oakland Golden Grizzlies used a memorable 3-point shooting performance by Jack Gohlke to stun No. 3 seed Kentucky, 80-76, in the biggest upset of the men’s NCAA Tournament so far.

Oakland got off to a bad start after it missed its first seven shots of the day. But it shook it off with an outstanding 3-point performance, hitting 15 of 31 shots from beyond the arc – including 10 by Gohlke – to defeat the team that was the best 3-point shooting squad in the country. — Jordan Mendoza

The Texas-Colorado State game seemed all but over when the Longhorns hit the half with a 27-11 lead.

No. 7 Texas did get the win in the end, beating No. 10 Colorado State 56-44, but it certainly wasn’t easy.

The Longhorns were ice-cold from 3-point range the entire game – they went just 1-for-14 behind the arc – and had several prolonged scoring droughts in the second half that allowed the Rams to get back into it after a dreadful first 20 minutes.

Though the Rams cut the deficit to as little as seven points, in the end the hole they dug was too deep to climb out of.

Dylan Disu helped stave off complete disaster for Texas with some big buckets and free throws down the stretch. He finished with 12 points, which was somehow good enough to match the game high. He was joined in double figures by Chendall Weaver (11), who had a big and-1 that put Texas back up 12 with 3:07 to go, and Max Abmas (12).

As bad as Texas shot this game (40%), Colorado State was even worse (29.8%). The Rams were the sloppier team, too, committing 19 turnovers to the Longhorns’ 12. — Jace Evans

No. 5 Gonzaga is up big against No. 12 McNeese and head into halftime with a 23-point lead. They led by as many as 24 points in the first half. 

Bulldogs freshman Dusty Stromer and junior Graham Ike both have 10 points, while junior Nolan Hickman knocked down 3-of-4 3s to add nine points. Gonzaga is shooting 58.6% from the field and 8-for-11 from the 3-point line. 

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 1-for-9 from 3 and are shooting a dismal 28.1% from the field. Senior Shahada Wells has a team-high six points and two rebounds, while junior Christian Shumate added five points and five rebounds. No McNeese player has reach double digits. — Cydney Henderson

No. 2 Iowa State hammered Houston in the Big 12 title game and kept the momentum rolling in the first half of its first-round game against No. 15 South Dakota State.

The Cyclones sprinted out to a 17-3 lead and looked well on their way to winning a laugher. But the Jackrabbits have at least made a game of things. Iowa State hits the half with a 40-33 lead.

Iowa State shot a blistering 63% from the field and hit five of its 10 3-pointers. Keep that up, and ISU should cruise to the second round. — Jace Evans

Oakland guard Jack Gohlke is having himself a night. The Golden Grizzlies guard scored 21 points in the first half, all from the 3-point line, to give No. 14 Oakland a 38-35 lead over No. 3 Kentucky. Gohlke is 7-for-13 from beyond the arc and is five 3-pointers away from setting a NCAA Tournament record. (Loyola Marymount’s Jeff Fryer knocked down a record 11 3s vs. Michigan in 1990.)

“He better hit seven more if we want to win because we aren’t going to win if he and (Blake) Lampman don’t do that,” Oakland head coach Greg KampeI said, before pointing out the free throw disparity. “I don’t know why we just aren’t getting the call inside… We foul fewer than any team in the country, but all their points are coming from the line. We got to fix that. If we don’t fix that, we are going to lose.”

The Wildcats are 10-for-14 from the free-throw line, while the Grizzlies are 1-for-5. 

Kentucky senior guard Antonio Reeves has 14 points and two rebounds. Tre Mitchell is near a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats are shooting 40.7% from the field and 3-for-10 from 3. — Cydney Henderson

Oakland’s Jack Gohlke hot from three vs. Kentucky

Despite only scoring five points in the opening five minutes of the game,  Oakland guard Jack Gohlke has led the No. 14 seeded Golden Grizzlies to a 23-17 lead over No. 3 seeded Kentucky with 7:23 remaining in the first half. Gohlke leads his team in scoring with 15 points off the bench, making 5-of-9 three pointers. Only three other Golden Grizzlies players have scored a field goal. 

Meanwhile, the Wildcats only have 17 points as a team, led by six points each from Tre Mitchell and Antonio Reeves. Kentucky is 0-4 from the three-point line. — Cydney Henderson

One quarter of the first round of the NCAA Tournament has been completed. Chances are, your bracket is already busted.

There’s just 856 perfect brackets left in the USA TODAY Sports Men’s Bracket Challenge out of 30,441 entries. ESPN pegs the number of perfect brackets on its site at 576,098 … out of 21,538,558 entries.

The most likely bracket busters to this point are No. 11 seeds Duquesne and Oregon. — Jace Evans

The No. 7 seeded Texas Longhorns are up 27-11 over the No. 10 seeded Colorado State Rams at the halftime break of their first-round game.

Texas guard Max Abmas made a long three-point bucket at the buzzer to provide a little excitement in what has otherwise been a dud. The shot was the Longhorns’ lone basket from beyond the arc so far.

Texas went on a 25-3 run, including 14 unanswered points, after the Rams took an early lead. Colorado State has committed 11 turnovers.

Texas forward Dylan Disu, who averages 15.8 points per game, has only scored two points in the form of the opening layup. — Victoria Hernandez

After going down by six points, the No. 7 seeded Texas Longhorns found their rhythm and went on a 12-0 run. They are now up 14-8 over the No. 10 seeded Colorado State Rams with 8:04 on the clock in the first half.

Colorado State called timeout after Longhorns forward Dillon Mitchell tipped in his own layup for his first points of the game.

A few minutes earlier, Texas guard Tyrese Hunter was fouled while making a layup, and he made the free throw to complete the three-point play.

The Rams haven’t scored in more than seven minutes. — Victoria Hernandez

No. 10 seed Colorado State is not missing a beat coming out of its First Four win and into the Big Dance. The Rams are up 8-2 over the No. 7 seed Texas Longhorns with 14:57 on the clock.

Graduate student forward Dylan Disu scored the first points of the game – and the only one so far for Texas – with a layup. The Longhorns have turned over the ball three times.

Four different players have scored for the Rams. — Victoria Hernandez

No. 7 seed Dayton trailed No. 10 Nevada by as many as 17 points in the second half before closing the game on a 24-4 run to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Dayton will face No. 3 seed Arizona on Saturday.

With Nevada trailing Dayton 61-60, Wolf Pack forward Nick Davidson committed a turnover with 17 seconds remaining. Nevada fouled Dayton’s Nate Santos, who made both free throws to put the Flyers up 63-60 with 15 seconds left. Davidson missed a three-point attempt to tie it up and, after an offensive rebound, Kenan Blackshear air-balled a three as time expired. 

Flyers junior forward Daron Holmes II had a game-high 18 points, nine rebounds, three steals and one block. Junior guard Koby Brea added 15 points and two rebounds. Dayton shot 44.7% from the field and 8-for-19 from three.

Meanwhile, Nevada senior guard Jarod Lucas had 17 points and four rebounds, while Davidson, a sophomore, had 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. The Wolf pack shot 44.6% from the field and 7-for-20 from three.  — Cydney Henderson

No. 10 Nevada led by as many as 17 points in the second half before No. 7 Dayton went on a 11-0 run to cut the Wolf Pack’s lead to 56-50 with 4:23 remaining in the game. 

Flyers junior forward Daron Holmes II has 15 points, nine rebounds, one block and two steals. Junior guard Koby Brea has 12 points and two rebounds. 

Meanwhile, Nevada sophomore forward Nick Davidson has 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Jarod Lucas has 15 points and four rebounds. — Cydney Henderson

It might not be as dramatic as Duquesne winning their first NCAA tournament game in 55 years, but we have our second No. 11 upset of a No. 6 team of the day.

The Oregon Ducks beat the No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks 87-73 in first round action on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Senior guard Jermaine Couisnard, who transferred from South Carolina, scored a career-high 40 points. The mark is also the Oregon record for most points in a men’s NCAA Tournament game. His family was in attendance after making the six-hour drive from Chicago. It was the first time his grandmother attended one of his college games.

“I knew I had to make sacrifices for her one day,” Couisnard said on the TNT broadcast. “That’s all I dreamed of was for her to come to one of my games.”

Oregon was in the driver’s seat the entire second half with a lead as high as 18 points. The Ducks had eight steals and six blocks.

Junior guard Meechie Johnson led the Gamecocks with 24 points.

The Ducks will now play No. 3 Creighton in the second round. Head coach Dana Altman will face his former team. He was at the helm of Creighton for 16 seasons where he became the winningest men’s basketball coach in school history. — Victoria Hernandez

Duke freshman guard Caleb Foster is officially done for the season and won’t return for the NCAA Tournament, head coach Jon Scheyer announced Thursday. Foster has been ruled out with a stress fracture in his ankle.

Fourth-seeded Duke (24-8) plays No. 13 seed Vermont (28-6) in a first-round game on Friday night at 7:10 ET on CBS.

“My heart breaks for Caleb because Caleb has done literally everything you could ask from a guy who has an injury and trying to get back out there,” Scheyer said.

Scheyer said the injury is “unique” and the 6-foot-5, 197-pound Foster had several second opinions on the ankle. Foster also attempted to practice earlier in the week, but according to Scheyer, “He wasn’t able to really be himself.”

Foster has missed the previous five games for the Blue Devils. He made 15 starts in 27 games this winter, averaging 7.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game, while hitting 40.6% of his 3-pointers. — Alex Abrami, Burlington Free Press

Marcus Domask etched his name in NCAA Tournament lore on Thursday.

The Illinois basketball guard recorded the 10th triple-double in March Madness history vs. 14 seed Morehead State with a 12-point, 11-rebound and 10-assist performance in an 85-69 victory over Morehead State.

Domask notched his triple-double with a 3-pointer with 2:57 remaining in the game. He and the other starters were subbed following the basket, with Illinois leading by 24.

Ja Morant recorded the last triple-double for Murray State against Marquette in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. — Eshsan Kassim, USA TODAY Network

Jermaine Couisnard breaks Oregon’s NCAA Tournament scoring record

Oregon men’s basketball team history includes names like Jordan Bell, Ron Lee and Payton Pritchard.

Jermaine Couisnard just etched his name into the school’s record books by scoring his 34th point in the first round game against his former team, South Carolina.

The senior guard passed Tajuan Porter for the most points in an NCAA tournament game in Ducks history with a pair of free throws with 5:03 left in the game. In 2007, Porter had 33 points against UNLV in the Sweet 16. — Victoria Hernandez

Oregon trending towards upset vs. South Carolina

Is another upset brewing?

No. 11 Oregon is up 62-48 over No. 6 South Carolina with 10:06 left in the second half.

The Ducks were up by as many as 18 earlier in the period when Jermaine Couisnard, who transferred from South Carolina, scored eight straight points. He also had the three-point shot that brought Oregon to this score.

For the Gamecocks, Meechie Johnson has scored eight points in the half to try to keep his team in the game. — Victoria Hernandez

No. 3 Illinois handled No. 14 Morehead State in the second half, at one point scoring nine consecutive field goals, to win, 85-69.

In the first half, it was senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr.’s scoring that kept the Illini in the game; in the second, it was junior forward Dain Dainja, who scored his season-high 21 points on a perfect nine-of-nine shooting. Shannon Jr. finished with 26 points.

Senior Illini guard Marcus Domask finished with a triple-double, recording 12 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds, marking just the 10th triple-double in NCAA Men’s Tournament history. He joins players like Ja Morant, Dwyane Wade, Draymond Green, Shaquille O’Neal and others.

Illinois will play No. 11 Duquesne in the second round. — Lorenzo Reyes

Nevada vs. Dayton score: Wolf Pack leads at halftime

No. 10 Nevada ended the first half on a 16-0 run to take a nine-point lead over the No. 7 Dayton. 

Sophomore forward Nick Davidson has 10 points and three rebounds. Senior forward Tre Coleman has eight points, one rebound and one assist. The Wolf Pack are shooting 48.3% from the field and 4-of-9 from three.

“We got out of character defensively. Once we settled down defensively, it kicked in our offense,” Nevada head coach Steve Alford said at halftime. “We got a lot of good stops, we got out in transition and we’re making our shots… If we can hold them to 25, that’s pretty good.”

Flyers junior forward Daron Holmes II has eight points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal. No Dayton scorers are in double digits. Dayton is shooting 41.7% from the field and 3-of-12 from three. — Cydney Henderson

Oregon vs. South Carolina score: Ducks still up after halftime buzzer beater

No. 11 Oregon established its dominance down the stretch of the first half to go into the break up 34-29 over South Carolina.

A beyond-halfcourt shot from Ta’Lon Cooper at the buzzer snapped a field goal drought of more than eight minutes for the Gamecocks. 

After both teams went back and forth to open the game, the Ducks surged ahead for a 10-point lead with 1:57 on the clock. They entered the break on a 20-9 run. Oregon’s senior guard Jermaine Couisnard, who transferred from South Carolina, is the game’s leading scorer with 14 points.

South Carolina doesn’t have a player who’s scored double digits and is being kept alive by making seven of nine free throws. — Victoria Hernandez

Illinois is getting its much-needed secondary scoring option in the form of junior forward Dain Dainja — and the Illini might just be pulling away.

Coming off the bench, Dainja has become a force on the glass, particularly on the offensive end.

Dainja is a perfect eight-of-eight from the field with 17 points and seven rebounds, four of which have been offensive boards. He has 13 second half points.

Illinois is on a 9-0 run and leads 57-48, with 11:59 left to play. — Lorenzo Reyes

The senior guard continues to be the Illini offense with a game-high 21 points. If you take his shooting out of the equation, the rest of Illinois is combined to go just 9-of-22 (40.9%) from the field.

No. 14 Morehead State has gone to a very short rotation, playing just a six-man rotation. But the Eagles are keeping things competitive, making 3 pointers (7-of-16) and forcing the Illini into eight turnovers.

Morehead State is up 45-44, with 15:58 left in the game. — Lorenzo Reyes

North Carolina vs. Wagner final: Tar Heels win 90-62

The No. 1 Tar Heels cruised to the second round of March Madness after leading by as many as 30 points in their 90-62 victory over No. 16 Wagner, who advanced to the round of 64 with a First Four win. 

North Carolina senior guard R.J. Davis, the ACC player of the year, had a game-high 22 points, two assists and one steal, while senior forward Armando Bacot recorded a double-double (20 points, 15 rebounds) in his final NCAA Tournament. Senior forward Jae’lyn Withers also had a double-double coming off the bench, with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Tar Heels shot 55% from the field and 9-for-18 from three.

North Carolina is 33-2 in the round of 64 since 1985. 

Size and depth proved to be the difference. The Seahawks were outrebounded 43-24 in the contest and had 20 points in the paint, compared to North Carolina’s 48. 

Wagner sophomore guard Julian Brown recorded 18 points and one steal, while junior guard Melvin Council Jr had 18 points, two blocks and four rebounds. 

North Carolina will face No. 9 Michigan State next. — Cydney Henderson

No. 3 Illinois has settled, its star guard is going off and the Illini claimed the lead late in the first half.

The Illini went on an 13-4 scoring three-quarters of the way through the first half, as senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr., the country’s third-leading scorer at 23 points per game, dropped 19 in the first half on 7-of-13 shooting.

Fellow Illini senior guard Marcus Domask has been quiet on the score sheet, going just one-of-five from the floor with two points, but he has a game-high six assists.

Illinois has the edge in fast-break points (eight to three) and points in the paint (16:10).

Another area of concern for No. 14 Morehead State: the Eagles made their first trip to the free-throw line with 3:22 left in the first half. The Eagles, though, are getting solid showings from senior guards Riley Minx and Jordan Lathon, each of whom have 12 points.

Illinois is up, 39-38, headed into the half. — Lorenzo Reyes

North Carolina vs. Wagner: Tar Heels pulling away in second half

The Tar Heels went on a 10-2 run to extend their lead over the Seahawks to 20, their largest of the game, with 7:58 remaining in the first-round matchup. 

Senior guard R.J. Davis is getting rolling, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the second half after a slow start. Armando Bacot is up to 18 points, 14 rebounds, one block and one steal. 

Wagner sophomore guard Julian Brown has a team-high 18 points, while junior guard Melvin Council Jr had 14 points, two blocks and three rebounds. — Cydney Henderson

Arizona vs. Long Beach State final: Wildcats win 85-65

Snoop Dogg’s bracket is busted.

But no upsets here as No. 2 Arizona beat No. 15 Long Beach State 85-65 in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City.

Sophomore guard Kylan Boswell had a career-high 20 points with eight assists and former Tar Heels player Caleb Love added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats. The team made 13 three-point buckets and had 10 steals and eight blocks.

Arizona was up by as many as 24 points after a back-and-forth first half.

This is redemption for the Wildcats, who were ousted in the first round of last year’s tournament. They were a No. 2 seed then as well and were upset by No. 15 Princeton.

The Wildcats will play the winner of No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Nevada.

This marks the end of 49ers head coach Dan Monson’s run with the team. Ahead of the tournament, he agreed to part ways with the program after the season.

Snoop Dogg, a Long Beach native, had Long Beach State going to the Elite Eight. — Victoria Hernandez

After a smooth and free-flowing pace to the start of this game, both Illinois and Morehead State found the muck.

Bricked shots, turnovers and disjointed play has slowed the pace down some; from 14:04 in first half to 10:35, both teams combined to score just five points. But, just as quickly as play slowed down, it picked right back up. Illinois senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. is on fire, with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. 

Each time Illinois has put up some resistance, however, Morehead State has answered back. Out of the last seven Illinois field goals, Morehead State has responded with its own basket on the following possession five times.

The Eagles are shooting 11-of-22 (50%) from the field and hold a 27-23 lead with 7:06 left to play in the first half. — Lorenzo Reyes

LeBron James was proud of his high school coach, Keith Dambrot, for leading the No. 11 Duquesne men’s basketball team to an upset over No. 6 Brigham Young. The first round win is the Dukes’ first victory in the Big Dance since 1969.

“AYYYYYYYEEEEE!!! First tournament win in 55 years! @CoachDambrot,” the Los Angeles Lakers star posted on X, formerly Twitter, with a goat and clapping hands emojis. “@DuqMBB Keep it going.”

Dambrot coached James in his first two seasons at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Ohio and is now head coach for the Dukes. Also on the Duquese staff is associate head coach Dru Joyce III, who played with James in high school and remains a friend of his today.

Ahead of the first round matchup, the 20-time NBA All-Star gifted the Dukes players each a pair of his signature shoes. — Victoria Hernandez

No. 14 Morehead State punched first, but the No. 3 Illinois Fighting Illini have fought back.

After starting 0-for-4 from the field, Illinois made its next five shots to close an early lead. Morehead State, with Illinois’ cold shooting, actually raced out to an early 9-0 lead. The Eagles, who play a deliberate style of half court offense, are shooting 7-of-12 (58.3%) from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

The concern for Illinois, however, is that only two players have scored and one of those, guard Terrence Shannon Jr., has nine of the team’s 13 points.

Morehead State is up 17-13 at the first media timeout. — Lorenzo Reyes

No. 1 North Carolina is sitting comfortably with a double-digit lead over No. 16 Wagner heading into halftime. Senior forward Armando Bacot already has a double-double, with a game-high 14 points and 11 rebounds. Senior forward Jae’lyn Withers added 10 points and 5 rebounds, while R.J. Davis, the ACC player of the year, has been held to only five points through the first half. The team is shooting 51.9% from the field and 2-for-7 from three. 

The Tar Heels have used their size to their advantage, outrebounding the Seahawks 25-14 in the first half. North Carolina also has 24 points in the paint, compared to Wagner’s 12. 

Melvin Council Jr has a team-high 10 points and three rebounds. He’s the only Seahawks player in double digits. Wagner, who only has seven active players on their roster, has no bench points so far and is collectively shooting 32.4% from the field and 2-for-10 from three. — Cydney Henderson

No. 14 Akron, which was 0-5 all-time in the men’s NCAA Tournament games headed into Thursday, will have to wait some more to get its first-ever victory in the big dance.

No. 3 Creighton went cold down the stretch, scoring only three points during a six-minute span, before the Bluejays put the Zips away to win their first-round game, 77-60.

Creighton had all five of its five starters in double figures, with senior center Ryan Kalkbrenner leading the way with 23 points and eight rebounds, as senior guard Baylor Scheierman chipped in a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards.

Creighton will play the winner between No. 6 South Carolina and No. 11 Oregon. — Lorenzo Reyes

By virtue of its first-round upset against BYU, Duquesne is heading to the NCAA Tournament’s second round.

The Dukes are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1977 and this was their first win since 1969, when they made it to the Sweet 16.

Duquesne’s only Final Four appearance came in 1940.

Just two games into the first round of the men’s NCAA men’s tournament and we already have our first upset.

The No. 11 seed Duquesne defeated No. 6 seed Brigham Young 71-67 in the first game from the East Region to continue what has been an impressive run for the Dukes in recent weeks.

The win started with Duquesne opening the game on a 9-0 run as BYU missed its first eight shots. The Cougars eventually caught up to lead 20-19 more than halfway through the first half, but Duquesne responded with a 14-1 run to take back a lead it wouldn’t give up the rest of the way. Duquesne led by as much as 14 in the second half, but BYU stormed back to tie it with 90 seconds to go. Duquesne was then able to nail its free throw attempts and get a big late layup from Jimmy Clark III to pull away from the Cougars.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Duquene Dukes. — Jordan Mendoza

The West Regional’s No. 1 seed, North Carolina, is getting balanced scoring, with a pair of players – senior forwards Armando Bacot and Jae’lyn Withers each in double figures – and six players on the score sheet.

North Carolina is shooting 11-of-17 (64.7%) from the field, with most of its points coming in the paint, and the Tar Heels are also limiting No. 16 Wagner to just 8-of-25 (32%).

North Carolina is up 33-23 with 5:34 left to play in the first half. — Lorenzo Reyes

The Bluejays are 9-of-13 on field goals in the second half and are lights out from 3-point range, going 10-of-15 overall (66.7%) from beyond the arc.

Crieghton’s 7-foot-1 senior center Ryan Kalkbrenner continues to be a dominant presence in the paint on defense. While he has recorded only one block against the Zips, he has constantly forced Akron’s players to adjust their shot angles.

Creighton has opened a 20-point lead, 67-47, with just fewer than nine minutes left to play. — Lorenzo Reyes

The Spartans are moving on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after taking down Mississippi State 69-51 on Thursday.

Michigan State is in the NCAA Tournament for the 26th consecutive time, dating back to 1998. There was no tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spartans will play the winner of No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Wagner on Saturday. Michigan State will be looking for its second consecutive Sweet 16 berth and 15th since 1998.

Michigan State has won two national championships, its most recent coming in 2000.

No. 2 Arizona leads No. 15 Long Beach State 41-35 at halftime.

There was a stall with less than 10 seconds left before the break while officials figured out the exact time on the clock for a Long Beach State inbound. Once they figured it out, Jason Hart Jr. missed a jumper at the buzzer. 

The first period was a bit of a back and forth, but the Wildcats ended on a 15-4 run.

Arizona took an eight-point lead early and the 49ers came back to take a five-point lead. There were a few ties before the Wildcats pulled away in the last two minutes of the game. Former Tar Heels star Caleb Love drained a three-point bucket as part of their surge.

Wildcats sophomore guard Kylan Boswell is the leading scorer with 11 points and five assists. He’s the only player in double digits.

Long Beach state head coach Dan Monson is essentially playing for pride points as he agreed with school officials that this would be his last season before the 49ers got a berth in the Big Dance.

Rap star Snoop Dogg, a Long Beach native, has the 49ers going to the Elite Eight. — Victoria Hernandez

Creighton has started the second half on a 17-8 run to claim a 56-42 lead with 14:20 left in the game.

Akron has been outscored 25-8 since 2:50 mark of first half. — Casey Moore

Duquesne and BYU are trading baskets late in this one, and the Cougars recorded the first tie of the game with 1:47 left to play.

Duquesne answered with a pair of Jimmy Clark III free throws after he drove to the basket to draw the foul. Duquesne is up two, with a pair of free throws upcoming.

The Cougars are only 1-10 this season in games in which they’ve trailed inside of five minutes left to play. — Lorenzo Reyes

The No. 1 seed in the West Region, North Carolina opens March Madness play shortly against No. 16 seed Wagner.

The Tar Heels and Seahawks are following Michigan State’s 69-51 win against Mississippi State. The winner of their game will take on the Spartans.

The game will be televised on CBS.

BYU ripped off a 7-0 run to make it a one-point game, but the Dukes quickly answered with an and-one from forward Fousseyni Drame.

The problem for Duquesne is that BYU senior guard Jaxson Robinson is on an absolute heater, with a game-high 25 points. After Drame drained his free throw, Robinson sunk a 3-point shot.

The Cougars have tightened up on defense, making each Duquesne possession a grind with active hands and ball denial.

Buckle up because this one could come down to the final possession. — Lorenzo Reyes

March Madness is underway and fans can flip from game to game without blinking.

In the West Region, the No. 15 seed Long Beach State 49ers are tied 22-22 with the No. 2 seed Arizona Wildcats with 7:28 to play in the first half.

The 49ers took an 18-17 lead midway through the period when Amari Stroud made a three-point bucket and then furthered the lead with a layup from Marcus Tsohonis. — Victoria Hernandez

Illinois, the No. 3 seed in the East Region, will get their tourney run started shortly against No. 14 Morehead State, a matchup scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on truTV. The winner of their game will play the winner of BYU-Duquesne, which is winding down.

Duke, which is the No. 4 seed in the South Region, play their March Madness opener against No. 13 Vermont on Friday, March 22. Game time is set for 7:10 p.m. ET, and the first-round matchup will be televised on CBS. The winner will play the Wisconsin-James Madison winner.

It’s not a coincidence that BYU is making its run in the second half after stepping up the physicality.

The Cougars closed the gap to three points with 7:41 left to play. Most promising for BYU is that it is finding ways to score in the paint. The Cougars, known as a team that relies on the 3-point shot, are 1-for-7 from beyond the arc in the second half and just 6-of-21 (28.6%) in the game overall.

As he did in the first half, senior guard Jaxson Robinson is the providing the difference. He leads all scorers with 22 points, including the last seven BYU points. — Lorenzo Reyes

No. 9 seed Michigan State made it through the first round of the NCAA tournament with a 69-51 win over No. 8 seed Mississippi State.

The Spartans led the entire game in Charlotte, North Carolina, and their 18-point margin at the end was their largest of the day.

To put the icing on the cake, senior guard Davis Smith, the son of Michigan State legend Steve Smith, made a three-point bucket with 27 seconds on the clock with an assist from graduate student guard Steven Izzo, head coach Tom Izzo’s son.

The shot was one of 10 three-point baskets the Spartans made to dominate the Bulldogs, who only made six buckets from beyond the arc.

Michigan State graduate student guard Tyson Walker was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points. Jaden Akens added 15. For Mississippi State, freshman guard Josh Hubbard had 15 points.

This is Michigan State’s sixth straight round of 64 win and their 14th time advancing past the first round in 17 tournament appearances.

The Spartans will play the winner between No.1 seed North Carolina and No. 16 seed Wagner.

Akens wasn’t fazed at the possibility of playing the top-seeded Tar Heels.

“We gonna be ready to play,” he said on the CBS broadcast. — Victoria Hernandez

Since the news broke that Kansas basketball would be without graduate senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr. due to injury for the NCAA Tournament, speculation has swirled about McCullar’s status.

But Thursday, ahead of the No. 4 Jayhawks’ game against No. 13 Samford, Kansas coach Bill Self took a rare trip to social media to address what’s being said. Self defended McCullar.

Read his statement here. — Jordan Guskey, Topeka Capital Journal

March Madness has kicked off, which means millions of viewers across the country are streaming games on their phones, tablets and computers, in addition to watching on television.

If you’re struggling to stream March Madness games due to your ad blocker, you are not alone. Here’s what you need to know about how to disable the ad blocker on your device and web browser. — Gabe Hauari

Creighton went on an 8-0 run before halftime to take a 39-34 lead into the locker room.

After falling behind 34-31, the Bluejays got a 3-pointer by Trey Alexander to tie things back up. Then Mason Miller hit a tiebreaking 3 and Baylor Scheierman made a jump shot with under a minute to go.

Creighton is shooting 60% from the field, including 7 of 10 from 3-pointers. — Casey Moore

The Dukes’ perimeter defense continues to be the reason why they have such a commanding lead.

Duquesne is up 14 – its largest of the game – with 15:58 left to play in the second half. It continues to harass BYU’s players beyond the 3-point line, crowding them and jumping into passing lanes to force tips and steals.

The Cougars ranked second in the country this season in both 3-pointers made (11.2 per game) and attempted (32.2). Duquesne has limited BYU to 5-of-16 shooting (31.3%) from beyond the arc, and the Duke have shot lights out from three, going 7-of-15 (46.7%). — Lorenzo Reyes

And, at least for another two minutes, we have four games at the same time.

No. 2 Arizona takes on No. 15 Long Beach State in a first-round game in the West Region. — Casey Moore

Akron is giving Creighton fits on defense and the Zips are tied with the Bluejays at 31-31 at the 3:28 mark.

Creighton has gone more than three minutes with a basket, and Akron has received a big first half from both of their big men, Enrique Freeman (13 points) and Ali Ali (9 points).

Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner has made 5 of 8 shots for a team-high 11 points. — Casey Moore

Michigan State is now up 60-45 over Mississippi State with 7:39 left in the second half.

After the Spartans nabbed two offensive rebounds on the same possession, a 3-point basket from Tre Holloman reestablished the Spartans’ 14-point lead, their largest margin that they also had earlier in the game.

A free throw from A.J. Hoggard gave Michigan State a 15-point margin for a new largest lead.

The Bulldogs have had a few dunks to give them bursts of life, two from Cameron Matthews and one from Tolu Smith.

But Michigan State has made seven three-point shots and five of their six free throws while Mississippi State has only made one from the charity stripe. — Victoria Hernandez

Akron is staying with Creighton, down 21-19 with 11:23 left to go in the first half.

Enrique Freeman has a game-high nine points for the Zips, while junior guard Trey Alexander leads the Bluejays with eight. — Casey Moore

No. 6 BYU looked poised to close the half on a little run, but late turnovers and missed shots allowed No. 11 Duquesne to maintain a healthy, eight-point margin headed into the half.

So, for the first time in the men’s tournament, we’re on upset alert.

Known as a streaky team, the Cougars were on a 7-0 run late in the half and closed the deficit to three, before the Dukes fought back and ended the half on a mini 5-2 spurt of their own. Freshman Duquesne forward Jakub Necas, from the Czech Republic, poured in eight points off the bench, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

Duquesne is up 38-30 and the Dukes have a 17-5 record this season when leading at the half. — Lorenzo Reyes

The Zips and Bluejays have combined for six 3-pointers as Creighton is off to an 18-14 lead.

Akron star and MAC players of the year Enrique Freeman already has three, which is a career-high. Freeman is a 6-7 forward who only made 17 3-pointers all season. —Casey Moore

The Spartans stormed out in the second half to go up 43-29 over Mississippi State. The 14-point lead is Michigan State’s biggest of the game.

The second half has featured the first free throws of the game. The Spartans’ Malik Hall made his two shots early in the period and then made a layup later on. Tyson Walker was fouled and made both free throws to put Michigan State at this score. — Victoria Hernandez

That last channel button is about to be put to work as No. 3 Creighton and No. 14 Akron have started play in their first-round game in the Midwest Region.

The Bluejays-Zips matchup give us three games to balance. Isn’t it great? — Casey Moore

Duquesne has blitzed double teams when BYU has had the ball in the post, leading to Cougar kick outs, but the Dukes’ help defense has rotated in to pick off several steals. BYU has not made a single field goal in more than six minutes.

On the other end, senior Duquesne guard Dae Dae Grant is scoring at all three levels, getting into the paint and finishing, and waiting for defenders to go under screens so he can have the space to drain perimeter shots.

The Dukes ripped off a 14-1 run to take a 12-point lead with 2:32 left to play in the half. – Lorenzo Reyes

Fifteen of BYU’s first 20 points have come off the bench, with senior guard Jaxson Robinson carrying the load. He leads all scorers through the first 14 minutes of play, with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting, and a perfect 4-of-4 on free throws. Robinson helped BYU, which started out in an early 9-0 hole, take a brief lead, though Duquesne stormed back and now holds a 24-20 edge with a little more than six minutes to play in the half.

The Dukes are shooting 47.6% from the floor, but holding BYU to just 31.6% on the other end. — Lorenzo Reyes

Michigan State got a bit of a scare midway through the first half when Mississippi State went on a 7-0 run. But the Spartans brushed themselves off and rallied to finish the period up 31-24 with a jumper from Malik Hall at the buzzer.

Tom Izzo’s team had nine turnovers in the first half. They made five 3-point shots and the Bulldogs didn’t score one until their late run, but tallied four before the break.

Mississippi State freshman guard Josh Hubbard is the leading scorer with 13 points. Graduate student guard Tyson Walker has 10 points for Michigan State.

There were no free throw attempts by either team in the first half. — Victoria Hernandez

Mississippi State went on a 7-0 run late in the first half, including a 3-point bucket from Josh Hubbard. It was the Bulldogs’ first shot from beyond the arc of the game. Spartans guard Jaden Akins snapped the streak with a jumpshot. 

During the Bulldogs’ scoring stretch, Michigan State had five turnovers, but cleaned up their game to go up 29-18 with 2:56 left before the half. — Victoria Hernandez

BYU is still looking for its first field goal of the tournament more than four minutes into their game against Duquesne, going 0-for-6 from the field.

The Cougars also momentarily lost sophomore guard Dallin Hall, who took an elbow to the nose as Duquesne forward Fousseyni Drame came down with a rebound. Hall crumpled to the ground and immediately checked his face, eventually seeing some blood dripping down his nose. Medical staff tended to him, plugging his nose with cotton. He briefly left to the locker room but returned to the bench.

Duquesne ran out to a 7-0 lead at the first television timeout. ― Lorenzo Reyes

LeBron James didn’t play collegiate ball, but he still has some rooting interest in this year’s March Madness.

Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot was James’ coach for his first two seasons at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio. The two have maintained contact over the years, and James gifted his signature shoes (in white and light blue) to the players ahead of their first-round game against BYU.

James’ longtime close friend and former teammate Dru Joyce is also an associate head coach for the Dukes. — Casey Moore

The second game on today’s March Madness schedule is underway, as No. 6 BYU is taking on No. 11 Duquesne in the East Region.

The game can be found on truTV.

Midway through the first half of play in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round, Michigan State leads Mississippi State 20-8. The Spartans have been ahead the entire game.

A KeShawn Murphy steal that he tossed to Josh Hubbard for a layup brought Mississippi State within two points, but a few possessions later, Mady Sissoko slammed a dunk. Tyson Walker made back-to-back three-point baskets to further Michigan State’s lead again.

With 10:21 left in the first half, Michigan State’s Tyson Walker leads all scorers with eight points. The Spartans have made four 3-point shots while the Bulldogs have yet to drain a shot from beyond the arc.Mississippi State head coach Chris Jans said the team is managing graduate forward DJ Jeffries’ time – he has two points so far and was limping when he was subbed off – because he’s dealing with an injury he suffered in the SEC tournament. ― Victoria Hernandez

You can catch every second by streaming every game through a few different options. All games will be broadcast across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV, but here are additional streaming options to watch all the action on your devices.

We occasionally recommend interesting products and services. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. USA TODAY Network newsrooms operate independently, and this doesn’t influence our coverage. 

Tipoff of the first game of the first round went off as planned, with No. 9 Michigan State taking on No. 8 Mississippi State in the West regional.

The first field goal of the men’s tournament went to Spartans guard Jaden Akins, and it was a triple, though both teams are still finding their footing; through the first four minutes of game play, Mississippi State has just two field goals and three turnovers.

In fact, both teams have combined for five turnovers, matching their five combined field goals.

One thing to watch: Bulldogs forward Cameron Matthews, one of the team’s top frontline defenders, picked up two early fouls and had to be subbed out.

The Spartans took an early 12-8 lead at the first TV timeout, with 13:25 left in the first half. — Lorenzo Reyes

Thursday’s action kicks off with No. 8 Mississippi State taking on No. 9 Michigan State at 12:15 p.m. ET on CBS. The game is at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

You don’t have much time left to fill out your bracket before Thursday’s games get rolling. Need a printed bracket? Here you go.

As the 2024 men’s NCAA Tournament kicks off, a familiar face in March Madness coverage will be missing.

CBS studio host Greg Gumbel will not be part of this year’s coverage because of “family health issues,” the network announced Sunday. Taking over his duties will be Adam Zucker.

Gumbel, 77, has been a tournament staple for CBS for decades, first hosting the network’s coverage in 1998, and has been at the Final Four during his tenure. Last season, CBS celebrated Gumbel’s 25th anniversary of tournament coverage.

ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas is never shy about challenging conventional wisdom whenever he’s in front of a microphone.

His 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament picks, however, don’t stray too far from the norm. In his annual column, Bilas has three No. 1 seeds – Connecticut, Houston and Purdue – reaching the Final Four, along with No. 2 seeded Arizona. And he has the defending champion UConn Huskies cutting down the nets once again in Phoenix.

One of the biggest questions surrounding March Madness every year is: Where on earth can I find truTV on my television? CBS and Turner Sports have the broadcasting rights to the men’s NCAA Tournament, and they broadcast the games on four channels. Three of them are familiar to fans – CBS, TNT and TBS. But truTV is the one exception.

TruTV can be found on several cable providers, and has the same channel number nationwide on some of the providers. Here are the channels:

AT&T U-Verse: 164/1164

FIOS: 183/683

Cox: Varies by location

DISH: 242

DirecTV: 246

Spectrum: Varies by location

Xfinity: Varies by location

TruTV is also available to stream on YouTube TV, iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Android TV.


12:15 p.m.: No. 8 Mississippi State vs. No. 9 Michigan State 

2:45 p.m.: No. 1 UNC vs. No. 16 Howard/Wagner 

7:10 p.m.: No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 14 Oakland 

9:40 p.m.: No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 North Carolina State 


1:30 p.m.: No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 14 Akron 

4 p.m.: No. 6 South Carolina vs. No. 11 Oregon 

6:50 p.m.: No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 Colorado State 

9:20 p.m.: No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Saint Peter’s 


2 p.m.: No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 Long Beach State 

4:30 p.m.: No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Nevada 

7:25 p.m.: No. 5 Gonzaga vs. No. 12 McNeese State 

9:55 p.m.: No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Samford 


12:40 p.m.: No. 6 BYU vs. No. 11 Duquesne 

3:10 p.m.: No. 3 Illinois vs. No. 14 Morehead State 

7:35 p.m.: No. 2 Iowa State vs. No. 15 South Dakota State 

10:05 p.m.: No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 10 Drake 

Our aim here is to attempt to identify the true first-round upset candidates in the men’s tourney field seeded 11th or lower. There are usually a few, but finding the right ones isn’t always easy. (Full disclosure: we went 0-for-5 in this space last year – but we press on.) Here are five upset candidates to consider as you fill out your bracket

No Jim Nantz? No “hello, friends”? As the men’s NCAA Tournament begins, fans may be wondering about the voice synonymous with one of the most popular events in college sports.

Nantz decided the 2023 NCAA Tournament would be his last so he could focus on his family and other broadcasting commitments. Nantz didn’t retire from broadcasting; he’s still calling The Masters and serves as the lead play-by-play person for CBS’ NFL coverage alongside Tony Romo.

Nantz became the lead voice for CBS’ coverage of the NCAA Tournament in 1991, serving as the No. 1 play-by-play man who called every Final Four since. But this year, you will likely only see and hear Nantz during commercial breaks.

After No. 16 seed Farleigh Dickinson shocked the world and upset No. 1 seed Purdue in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament – becoming only the second men’s No. 16 seed to take down a No. 1 seed – the NCAA announced there were no more perfect brackets remaining out of more than 20 million submissions. 

That might lead many hopeful participants to wonder if there’s ever been a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket during March Madness, home of the buzzer-beaters, upsets and Cinderella runs? 

The answer is a resounding no. There has never been a perfect bracket that correctly guessed the outcome of all 63 games in the tournament, despite millions and millions of brackets submitted each year.

The NCAA men’s tournament is all about chaos and unpredictability. There are sure to be upsets And if there was one lesson to learn from last season’s edition, it’s that nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen. We saw the second No. 16 seed win over a No. 1 seed in tournament history and no No. 1 seeds made it to the Elite Eight. These predictions may sound crazy − and it’s very unlikely they all are correct − but with the unexpected nature of the tournament, who’s to say they can’t happen? Here are bold predictions. 

Here is the complete scoreboard for Thursday’s first-round games

Here is Thursday’s full schedule

CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV will air first- and second-round games. CBS and TBS will air Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games. CBS will air the men’s Final Four and championship game. 

Here is the men’s schedule

  • First round: March 21-22 
  • Second round: March 23-24  
  • Sweet 16: March 28-29  
  • Elite Eight: March 30-31  
  • Final Four: Saturday, April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. 
  • NCAA championship game: Monday, April 8 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. 

The experts have dissected the men’s NCAA Tournament bracket, providing sleepers, Final Four matchups and upset predictions. Your chances of filling out a perfect bracket are miniscule, but maybe you need a few tips to win your office pool. We’ve got you covered with a look at how to pick an upset and a look historically at how the seeds have performed in the NCAA Tournament. Three of our five USA TODAY experts have UConn as their picks to win the national title on April 8. Here are our expert picks

As Americans cast their ballots in presidential primaries and special elections across the country, they’re also predicting winners on the basketball court. President Joe Biden released his brackets for the NCAA men and women’s basketball tournaments too, and before March Madness picks up steam, let’s take a look at his predictions.  

Biden chose a group of highly rated teams for his Final Four, picking UConn, North CarolinaHouston and Tennessee. The president predicted that UConn will defeat North Carolina, while Houston will beat Tennessee, with UConn ultimately winning the men’s tournament. In the women’s championship, Biden selected South CarolinaStanfordUCLA and UConn to make it to the Final Four. The president forecast that South Carolina would defeat Stanford, and UConn would defeat UCLA, choosing South Carolina as his champion.  

Vice President Kamala Harris released her picks on Wednesday. On the women’s side, Harris took the South Carolina Gamecocks over the USC Trojans in the final. The bracket features a notable upset pick in the Elite Eight as the former junior Senator from California took the UCLA Bruins over all-time leading NCAA scorer Caitlin Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes.

In the men’s tournament, the Vice President has a Final Four of UConn, North Carolina, Marquette and Tennessee. Harris took UConn over Tennessee in the final, picking the Huskies to defend their 2023 crown.

Former President Barack Obama also shared his brackets. He gave UConn, Baylor, Kentucky and Purdue his Final Four men’s spots, ultimately choosing UConn to win it all. In the women’s tournament, Obama selected South Carolina, Southern California, Iowa and Stanford for the Final Four, choosing South Carolina as the champion.  

One of the hottest teams the last few weeks, Colorado needed every late-season win to make the tournament. Wednesday’s win was Colorado’s ninth in its last 10 games. Can the Buffaloes keep it rolling and make a run deep into March Madness?

Boise State is now 0-10 in March Madness play.

Head coach Tad Boyle credited his team’s defense on getting the win, despite Boise State getting a whopping 19 offensive rebounds.

“We really started playing tougher on the glass. Boise State’s a physical team, they keep coming at you, and we made just enough plays down the stretch. I thought our defense was great all night, our guys were locked in,” Boyle said.

How about not only making your first NCAA Tournament, but getting the team’s first March Madness win?

The Grambling State Tigers used a second-half rally to force overtime and defeat Montana State in the First Four, 88-81, in its first-ever NCAA Tournament game and secure a date with No. 1 seed Purdue on Friday.

The win continued what has been a dream season for Donte Jackson’s squad, getting through a tough start of the regular season to its best year in school history. The team was led by Jimel Cofer, who came off the bench and scored a season-high 19 points to lead Grambling State to the historic victory.

“I just know my team has my back. Anybody on this team can get hot, and today was just my night,” Cofer said after the win.

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