If the first full day of the NCAA tournament was any indication of the madness that can happen in March, then Day 2 should be full of surprises too.
TO pair of five seeds went down during Thursday’s actionplus an absolute stunner as the East Region’s 2 seed Kentucky was sent home by Saint Peter’s, a private school with less than 3,000 students located in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The tournament’s second full day starts as Ohio State, the South Region’s No. 7, takes on 10-seed Loyola-Chicago, backed by American’s favorite nun.
The last No. 1 seed to see action, Arizona takes on Wright State, fresh off their First Four victory over Bryant on Wednesday.
The ladies also take center stage as their tournament gets underground. Friday’s slate includes No. 1 overall seed South Carolina and player of the year candidate Aliyah Boston battling Howard.
Two other No. 1 seeds also begin their march in hopes of ending up in the Final Four in Minneapolis, with Louisville playing Albany and Stanford beginning its title defense against Montana State.
JERSEY CITY — Angelo Madrigal heard a lot of noise coming from his hallway around 9:30 on Thursday night.
“It was a bit chaotic in the hallways,” said Madrigal, a resident adviser at St. Peter’s University. “A lot of people were just happy. I don’t blame them at all.”
The happiness was the result of the men’s basketball team’s shocking 85-79 overtime victory over national powerhouse Kentucky in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament. The Peacocks were the No. 15 seed in the East Regional bracket, while Kentucky was the No. 2 seed and considered a favorite to win the entire tournament.
It was the first NCAA Tournament win in school history for the private Jesuit school with just more than 3,000 students enrolled.
— Robert Aitken Jr., NorthJersey.com
Loyola Ramblers fans will be glad to know their biggest supporter and good luck charm, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, is back for the program’s latest run in the men’s tournament. Sister Jean, their 102-year-old team chaplain and America’s favorite nun, is in attendance Friday for No. 10 Loyola’s game against No. 7 Ohio State.
Ever since Loyola’s unexpected run to the Final Four in 2018Sister Jean has become a March Madness staple.
“I’m excited to come here because of the NCAA having chosen (Pittsburgh) to be the spot of the games,” Sister Jean said before the tournament began. “This is something our team has been talking about all year long – long before the season began. When we won the conference (title), we were so happy because we had the past week to be thinking about it.”
The action got started in the women’s tournament as South Florida is taking on Miami in Columbia, South Carolina, in the Greensboro region. The winner will take on the victor of the top-seeded South Carolina and Howard matchup.
Some of the most intriguing matchups involve teams that are closely seeded. Virginia Tech comes in as one of the hottest teams in the nation, having ran through the ACC elite to capture the conference tournament title. The Hokies will take on Texas (4:30 pm, TBS who are known for their defense, but have issues making baskets. First team to 70 probably wins.
Here are some other games to keep an eye on.
10 Loyola Chicagovs. 7 Ohio State, 12:15 p.m., CBS
This is another case where the higher seed might actually be the perceived underdog. The Buckeyes limped into the tournament with just one win in their last five outings and could still be shorthanded due to lingering injuries, but EJ Liddell’s takeover ability will still warrant plenty of attention.
9 TCU vs. 8 Seton Hall, 9:57 p.m., truTV
The Pirates had to reinvent themselves when Bryce Aiken sustained a concussion in early January that ended his season, but they won enough games in the Big East to earn a bid. The Horned Frogs took some lumps in the crowded Big 12 but were able to post one win in three tries against Kansas down the stretch
After No. 2 seed Kentucky’s shocking loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, coach John Calipari was asked what the Wildcats struggled with against Saint Peter’s.
“Give Saint Peter’s credit,” Calipari said. “I watched the tape of them before the game. These guys can play.”
Indeed they can.
The Peacocks (20-11) busted braces everywhere Thursday by taking down Kentucky in a first-round overtime thriller – becoming just the 10th-ever No. 15 seed to oust a No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament. They followed in the footsteps of mid-majors Oral Roberts (last year), Middle Tennessee (2016) and Florida Gulf Coast (2013), who became the darlings of their respective tournaments.
Saint Peter’s University is a private Jesuit university in Jersey City, New Jersey. It has roughly 2,500 undergraduate students, helping to fit the definition of a mid-major.
INDIANAPOLIS – KJ Williams scored six of his 18 points in overtime after Murray State blew an eight-point lead late in regulation, and the seventh-seeded Racers extended their winning streak to 21 games with a 92-87 victory over San Francisco in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
The Racers (31-2) tied South Dakota State for the longest winning streak in the nation this season. With SDSU’s loss to Providence earlier Thursday, Murray State can edge ahead in Saturday’s East Region second-round game against Saint Peter’s. The 15th-seeded Peacocks topped Kentucky 85-79 in OT.
The nightcap in Indianapolis was just as tight, with 18 lead changes and 14 ties. Murray State ultimately took control with Williams’ clutch baskets and Jordan Skipper-Brown’s timely plays in the extra session.
Jamaree Bouyea scored 36 points for USF (24-10), which made its first NCAA appearance since 1998.
Williams made a go-ahead layup with 1:15 remaining before Skipper-Brown’s layup made it 89-85 with 30 seconds left. Zane Meeks’ putback got USF within a basket, but he missed a free throw. Skipper-Brown made two free throws with 13.7 seconds left before adding another with 1.7 seconds remaining to seal the win.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Akron Zips’ confidence was fueled by eight consecutive victories, including three upsets to win the Mid-American Conference tournament.
Their nerves were replaced by excitement for the big moment for the University of Akron and its men’s basketball program.
The 13th-seeded Zips led most of the way in a bitter battle with fourth-seeded UCLA in an NCAA Tournament East Regional game at the Moda Center before losing 57-53.
UCLA (26-7), which reached the Final Four from the First Four in 2021, advanced to meet fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s, an 82-53 winner over 12th-seeded Indiana.
Xavier Castaneda led UA with 18 points, six rebounds and one assist and Enrique Freeman added 14 points, 10 rebounds and an assist before fouling out.
Tyger Campbell scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half to pace the Bruins and added five assists. Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. UA held Johnny Juzang to nine points, five rebounds and two assists.
— Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism