🏀 No Reason to be Upset!

March Madness Day 1 recap: Kentucky collapse, Kansas' close call, Eleven heaven, and more...

Did you expect anything less?! The greatest tournament in sports got underway yesterday and did not disappoint, as the upsets came early and often. Of the 22,112,822 brackets made on ESPN.com, only 1,825 remain perfect after one day of March Madness. (Mine is not one of them.) A legend was born amid a Kentucky catastrophe, the slipper didn’t fit Samford due to a faulty foul call, and a slew of double-digit seeds are still dancing. We'll relive every Thursday thriller and brief today's schedule before the mayhem resumes at noon. Plus, we’ll recap the final First Four matchups on the women's side and the top games in the NBA and NHL. Buckle up, because we have another long day of endless action. Happy Friday!

WTF Stat: Kentucky’s last four seasons and NCAA Tournament finishes under HC John Calipari:

  • 2023-24: No. 3 seed, lost in Round of 64

  • 2022-23: No. 6 seed, lost in Round of 32

  • 2021-22: No. 2 seed, lost in Round of 64

  • 2020-21: Missed NCAA Tournament

Calipari and the Wildcats haven’t made the Final Four since 2015.

Written By: Ian Dardani

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🏀 Bracket Busters!

Photo: Golden Gohlke | Source: USA Today

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - First Round, Top Games

  • South | #14 Oakland 80, #3 Kentucky 76: In the first massive upset of March Madness, Oakland’s Jack Gohlke (32 PTS, 10-20 3PT) came off the bench and put on a performance for the ages, as the fifth-year DII transfer knocked down a preposterous 10 three-pointers, and although Antonio Reeves (27 PTS, 5-9 3PT, 3 REB) and Kentucky never truly went away, the Golden Grizzlies were too hot to be denied and used a bombardment of buckets down the stretch to shock the Wildcats in the first round - Gohlke’s 10 made threes is one shy of Jeff Fryer’s NCAA Tournament record, set in 1990 for Loyola Marymount

  • Midwest | #4 Kansas 80, #13 Samford 76: The Day 1 nightcap didn’t come without controversy, as Achor Achor (23 PTS, 8 REB) and the Bulldogs erased a 21-point deficit in the second half to put Hunter Dickinson (19 PTS, 20 REB) and Kansas on the ropes; however, with the Jayhawks leading 90-89 and just 15 seconds to play, Samford’s AJ Staton-McCray (7 PTS) was called for a foul on what was actually a clean chase-down block, and Bill Self’s squad survived thanks to some late free throws - Kansas will face No. 5 Gonzaga in the second round on Saturday

  • West | #7 Dayton 63, #10 Nevada 60: In another thriller, Daron Holmes II (18 PTS, 9 REB) and the Flyers trailed 56-39 with 7:36 remaining but then erupted for 17 unanswered points, and Enoch Cheeks’ (8 PTS, 3 AST) layup with 34 seconds left put them ahead for good, as Dayton stunned Jarod Lucas (17 PTS, 4 REB) and Nevada in improbable fashion - the Wolfpack were held scoreless for over five minutes amid the Flyers’ run and only made two baskets in the final 7:36

  • East | #11 Duquesne 71, #6 BYU 67: The first notable upset of the day came in the early window where Dae Dae Grant (19 PTS, 3 REB) and the Dukes controlled nearly the entire way, holding BYU’s reliant three-point attack to just 33.3% (8-24) from beyond the arc, and although Jaxson Robinson (25 PTS, 5-11 3PT) kept the Cougars in it, Duquesne prevailed for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1969 - BYU has lost five straight March Madness games, with the last four coming against double-digit seeds

  • Midwest | #11 Oregon 87, #6 South Carolina 73: In another 11-6 upset, Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard (40 PTS, 5-9 3PT, 6 AST), who spent three years at South Carolina before transferring to Euguene, lit up his former team to the tune of 40 points, and the Ducks dominated the latter half to set up an intriguing second-round matchup against No. 3 Creighton on Saturday - Couisnard’s 40 points is the most by any Oregon player in NCAA Tournament history

The Rest of Yesterday’s Results

  • East | #2 Iowa State 82, #15 South Dakota State 65

  • East | #3 Illinois 85, #14 Morehead State 69

  • East | #7 Washington State 66, #10 Drake 61

  • Midwest | #2 Tennessee 83, #15 Saint Peter’s 49

  • Midwest | #3 Creighton 77, #14 Akron 60

  • Midwest | #7 Texas 56, #10 Colorado State 44

  • Midwest | #5 Gonzaga 86, #12 McNeese 65

  • South | #11 NC State 80, #6 Texas Tech 67

  • West | #1 North Carolina 90, #16 Wagner 62

  • West | #2 Arizona 85, #15 Long Beach State 82

  • West | #9 Michigan State 69, #8 Mississippi State 51

See the full box scores here and the entire bracket here.

Today’s Slate - Men’s First Round

  • East | #8 Florida Atlantic vs. #9 Northwestern 12:15pm ET, CBS

  • West | #3 Baylor vs. #14 Colgate 12:30pm ET, truTV

  • East | #5 San Diego State vs. #12 UAB 1:45pm ET, TNT

  • South | #2 Marquette vs. #15 Western Kentucky 2:00pm ET, TBS

  • East | #1 UConn vs. #16 Stetson 2:45pm ET, CBS

  • West | #6 Clemson vs. #11 New Mexico 3:10pm ET, truTV

  • East | #4 Auburn vs. #13 Yale 4:15pm ET, TNT

  • South | #8 Nebraska vs. #9 Texas A&M 6:50pm ET, TNT

  • South | #4 Duke vs. #13 Vermont 7:10pm ET, CBS

  • Midwest | #1 Purdue vs. #16 Grambling 7:25pm ET, TBS

  • West | #4 Alabama vs. #13 Charleston 7:35pm ET, truTV

  • South | #1 Houston vs. #16 Longwood 9:20pm ET, TNT

  • South | #5 Wisconsin vs. #12 James Madison 9:40pm ET, CBS

  • Midwest | #8 Utah State vs. #9 TCU 9:55pm ET, TBS

  • West | #5 Saint Mary’s vs. #12 Grand Canyon 10:05pm ET, truTV

Take another look at today’s schedule here.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Four (Play-In Games)

  • Region 3 | #11 Arizona 69, #11 Auburn 59: The Wildcats earned their fourth consecutive opening win in the NCAA Tournament and their first since 2019 as Helena Pueyo (16 PTS, 4 AST, 3 STL) dropped 14 in the second half and freshman Jada Williams (17 PTS, 3 AST) scored a game-high to take care of Honesty Scott-Grayson (13 PTS, 4 REB) and Auburn in the final First Four play-in game

  • Region 2 | #16 Holy Cross 72, #16 UT Martin 45: Despite finishing the regular season with a sub .500 record, UT Martin won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament to earn a bid to the Big Dance, but their time at the ball was cut short as Cara McCormack (23 PTS, 7 REB) and Holy Cross crushed the Skyhawks for their program’s second-ever NCAA Tournament victory

See the full box scores here.

Today’s Slate - Women’s First Round

  • Region 1 | #8 North Carolina vs. #9 Michigan State 11:30am ET, ESPN2

  • Region 3 | #2 Ohio State vs. #15 Maine 12:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Region 1 | #1 South Carolina vs. #16 Presbyterian 2:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Region 3 | #7 Duke vs. #10 Richmond 2:30pm ET, ESPN News

  • Region 4 | #1 Texas vs. #16 Drexel 3:00pm ET, ESPNU

  • Region 3 | #4 Virginia Tech vs. #13 Marshall 3:30pm ET, ESPN2

  • Region 2 | #3 LSU vs. #14 Rice 4:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Region 2 | #4 Kansas State vs. #13 Portland 4:30pm ET, ESPN News

  • Region 4 | #8 Alabama vs. #9 Florida State 5:30pm ET, ESPN2

  • Region 3 | #5 Baylor vs. #12 Vanderbilt 6:00pm ET, ESPNU

  • Region 2 | #5 Colorado vs. #12 Drake 7:00pm ET, ESPN News

  • Region 4 | #7 Iowa State vs. #10 Maryland 7:30pm ET, ESPN2

  • Region 1 | #3 Oregon State vs. #14 Eastern Washington 8:00pm ET, ESPNU

  • Region 4 | #2 Stanford vs. #15 Norfolk State 10:00pm ET, ESPN2

  • Region 1 | #6 Nebraska vs. #11 Texas A&M 10:30pm ET, ESPNU

See the entire women’s bracket here.

Photo: Rags Roll | Source: USA Today

NHL - Top Games

  • New York Rangers 5, Boston Bruins 2: In a potential Eastern Conference Final preview, Artemi Panarin (3 G) gave the Rags a 2-1 lead with two straight goals in the 2nd period and then tapped in an empty netter to complete his hat trick, stamping a statement win for New York over Justin Brazeau (1 G, 1 A) and the B’s in Beantown - the Rangers’ 96 points is just one shy of Boston’s 97 for the most in the NHL

  • Edmonton Oilers 8, Buffalo Sabres 3: JJ Peterka (2 G, 1 A) and the Sabs held a 3-2 lead in the 2nd period, but then Zach Hyman (2 G), Connor McDavid (4 A), and Edmonton reeled off six unanswered scores, including five in the 3rd period, to blowout Buffalo above the border - Edmonton is now 9-1-2 in their past 13 games

See the full NHL scoreboard here and the current standings here.

NBA - Top Games

  • Denver Nuggets 113, New York Knicks 100: Nikola Jokic (30 PTS, 14 REB, 11 AST) dissected New York’s defense for his 22nd triple-double this season, and Michael Porter Jr. (31 PTS, 13-16 FG, 8 REB) couldn’t miss as the reigning champs flexed their muscle on Jalen Brunson (26 PTS, 9 AST) and the Knicks at home to improve to 13-2 since the All-Star break

  • Orlando Magic 121, New Orleans Pelicans 106: The Magic have won 18 of their last 23 games! Paolo Banchero (20 PTS, 10 REB, 11 AST) was operating and notched his second career triple-double to lead Orlando to a win over Zion Williamson (20 PTS, 7 REB) and the Pels, but the story of the night was Brandon Ingram (21 MIN, 14 PTS), as New Orleans’ superstar had to be helped off the floor after suffering an ugly-looking knee injury - the win moves the Magic to 42-28, marking their second winning season in 12 years

See the full NBA scoreboard here and the current standings here.

All three 11-seeds who played yesterday (Duquesne, NC State, Oregon) won their first-round matchups in the men's NCAA Tournament. When was the last time a No. 11 seed reached the Final Four?

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Photo: 99’s 802nd | Source: NHL

On March 22, Kings forward Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd career goal to break Gordie Howe’s all-time NHL record. The Great One claimed the record at the Kings' Great Western Forum during the 2nd period of a 6-3 loss to the Canucks. While it took 26 seasons for Howe to set the mark, Gretzky surpassed it in just his 15th year in the league. He ultimately finished his career with 2,857 points (894 goals and 1,963 assists) in 20 seasons. If you took away all of Gretzky's career goals, he would still be the NHL's all-time leading scorer. Capitals F Alex Ovechkin is now in second for the most NHL goals scored, with 845 - will we see Ovi break Gretzky's sacred mark?


  • Men’s NCAA Tournament: First Round, Day 2 Full Schedule

  • Women’s NCAA Tournament: First Round, Day 1 Full Schedule

  • NBA: Philadelphia 76ers @ Los Angeles Lakers 10:30pm ET, NBA TV

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes @ Washington Capitals 7:00pm ET, NHL Net


  • Men’s NCAA Tournament: Second Round, Day 1 Full Schedule

  • Women’s NCAA Tournament: First Round, Day 2 Full Schedule

  • NBA: Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls 8:00pm ET, NBA TV

  • NHL: Florida Panthers @ New York Rangers 8:00pm ET, ABC


  • Men’s NCAA Tournament: Second Round, Day 2 Full Schedule

  • Women’s NCAA Tournament: Second Round, Day 1 Full Schedule

  • F1: Australian Grand Prix 12:00am ET, ESPN2

  • NASCAR: Cup Series at Circuit of the Americas 3:30pm ET, FOX

  • NBA: Oklahoma City @ Milwaukee Bucks 7:00pm ET, NBA TV

  • NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Colorado Avalanche 2:00pm ET, TNT

Trivia Time Answer

A. 2021. The last time an 11-seed reached the Final Four in the men’s NCAA Tournament was just three years ago, when UCLA made the semifinals in 2021. The Bruins’ run actually began in the First Four, making them just the second play-in team to appear in the Final Four, where they ultimately lost to Gonzaga, 93-90, in overtime. In total, five 11-seeds have gone to the Final Four: 1986 LSU, 2006 George Mason, 2011 VCU, 2018 Loyola Chicago, and 2021 UCLA.

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NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - First Round

  • #6 Clemson vs. #11 New Mexico: New Mexico -2.5 (-105)

Enjoy another day of madness and one of the best sports weekends of the year. See ya Monday!