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The Madness Takes Complete Control On Day 2

Even more Louisville-light, but still...awesome? Go Cards? Go Cards.

There you go. Those of you who felt Thursday didn't fulfill your excitement needs, there you go.

It had been 4,000 days (11 years) since the college basketball world was blessed with the most recent of the four sacred 15/2 upsets. In the span of about four hours, we witnessed it happen twice.

Oh, and while all that was happening, 13th-seeded Ohio was busy knocking off Michigan. How adorable.

When the dust cleared on Friday, seven of the day's 16 games had resulted in technical "upsets" (the higher seed won), and five double-digit seeds had punched their tickets to the Round of 32.

The time has come to crumple up your paper brackets, stop checking where you stand in the office pool and forget about the four teams you thought would be left standing two Mondays from now. None of that matters anymore, and holding onto it is only going to detract from what is shaping up to be one of the more memorable months in college basketball history.

Method has checked out of the NCAA Tournament hotel. This is pure madness. The only thing left to do is embrace and enjoy it.

Here's a look at how Friday brought us to this place.


1. No. 15 Norfolk State 86, No. 2 Missouri 84

For 35 minutes, it was a story not unique to this NCAA Tournament.

Almost every year, there's a hot-shooting 14-16 seed that captures America's attention and forces the sporting world to flip on the television and Google search its mascot. Eventually, however, the shots stop falling, Goliath wakes up or the upset bid is quashed by a bad call.

Not on Friday.

Every time Missouri made a mini-run to put itself in a position to surge ahead, Norfolk State responded with a huge shot. Every time the officials made a questionable call against the MEAC champions in the game's final five minutes, the Spartans kept their cool and stuck with their game plan.

The easy-to-root-for Spartans shot 54.2 percent from the field -- including 62.5 percent in the second half - and buried 10-of-19 three-point shots. They also turned the ball over just 11 times despite playing the same fast-paced, up-and-down style where Mizzou has thrived this season.

The result was the first victory by a 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament since 2001, and seemingly everyone's West region favorite heading home after just one game.

It was Norfolk State's first NCAA Tournament appearance, first NCAA Tournament win and first victory over a nationally ranked opponent.

Go crazy, Norfolk, VA.

Best video of the postseason, without doubt.

2. No. 15 Lehigh 75, No. 2 Duke 70

OK, now take everything laid out above and throw Duke into the equation.

With the Blue Devils consistently failing to produce on offense and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum -- the nation's fifth-leading scorer -- playing at the top of his game, you could almost hear the nation say "No?!" at some point around 8:30 p.m.


McCollum dropped 30 and the Mountain Hawks became history's sixth and Friday's second No. 15 seed to pull off the tournament's top upset to date.

For Duke, which was playing just 55 miles away from home in Greensboro, N.C., it was just the second time in the past 16 seasons they went one-and-done in the big dance. The Blue Devils also lost their opener against 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth in 2007.

A large chunk of the credit for the shocker belongs to McCollum, a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year who entered the season as the nation's leading returning scorer, and a guy many college basketball fans are no kicking themselves for not watching more.


"They had the best player on the court tonight in McCollum," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He's been their player of the year, and he's really one of the outstanding players in the country. You could see why tonight."

C.J., thoughts?



3. No. 8 Creighton 58, No. 9 Alabama 57

Creighton managed to play Alabama's game and advance, scoring 22 points below its season average but still making enough plays down the stretch to win.

When the Bluejays offense did come, it came in bunches. A 10-0 run from the Missouri Valley champs tied the game at 37-37 with 13.27 remaining, and a subsequent 14-0 streak put them in control at 57-50. Then it was time to hang on.

'Bama chipped away at the lead before possessing the ball with 4.7 seconds left and trailing by the game's final margin. Following a timeout, which resulted in the loss of more than two seconds, Trevor Releford forced up a long three-point attempt that was partially blocked by Creighton's Josh Jones.

It was a slightly disappointing end to what had the potential to be the tournament's first signature finish.

All-American candidate Doug McDermott scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the way for Creighton, which will face top-seeded North Carolina on Sunday.

4. No. 3 Florida State 66, No. 14 St. Bonaventure 63

Early in the day it looked as though Florida State, the trendy Final Four pick in the East region, was going to be the team driving America to send out hoards of annoying tweets about their busted brackets. But the ACC tourney champs won their sixth straight by rallying furiously in the second half and then hold on late against the upset-minded Bonnies.

The star for most of the day was St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, a 6'9 senior most experts believe will be taken in the first round of this spring's NBA Draft. He scored inside and outside early on, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the first half. The Seminoles adjusted in the locker room, however, and Nicholson was frustrated into a 3-for-12 performance over the final 20 minutes. He still finished with a game-high 20 points.

The most impressive aspect of Florida State's win may have been that it came without any help from leading scorer Michael Snaer. The sharp-shooter and late-game assassin missed all seven of his field goal attempts and finished with zero points.

5. No. 10 Purdue 72, No. 7 Saint Mary's 69

While the world was focused on Lehigh/Duke and Ohio/Michigan, Purdue and Saint Mary's were busy exchanging haymakers and begging for attention in Omaha. They could have renamed this "The Prince Harry Bowl" ... you know, if college basketball was awful and had bowl games.

Saint Mary's, which was frustrated offensively all night and finished just 4-of-25 from beyond the arc, used a late 14-2 run to capture a 69-68 lead with under a minute to play. Purdue then regained the lead on a pair of free-throws by Lewis Jackson with 22.8 seconds left, got two more from Robbie Hummel, and survived a Rob Jones three-point attempt at the buzzer.

"If it didn't sting, it wouldn't be any fun," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said after the game. "That's why it stings, because you care so much. There aren't many things you can pour your heart into with a bunch of guys your age and invest so much time and care so much, and that's why it hurts, because when it's over it's gone."


1. Ohio

Don't give me credit for guaranteeing it would happen, give Ohio credit for playing up to their potential and bringing some fire on the defensive end. Also, definitely give me credit for guaranteeing it would happen.

D.J. Cooper scored 21 points and the Bobcats, who upset Georgetown as a No. 14 seed in 2010 and who did not trail for a second in the second half.

This is why people were frustrated when you seemed disinterested during conference play. This is why people (me) called you "Baby Carolina." And now you're a win over South Florida away from a trip to the Sweet 16.

The lesson here, America, is only step it up when you absolutely have to.

2. Georgetown

Belmont over Georgetown was a trendy upset pick, partly because people remembered the Bruins pushing Duke to the brink at the beginning of the season, and partly because the Hoyas had been upset in their first game in each of the past two tournaments. Neither factor mattered on Friday as John Thompson III's team was clearly superior from the opening tip to the final horn and walked away with a 74-59 win.

"It's relief more than anything else," said senior Jason Clark, who scored 21 points. "Now we can say we've one at least one, but we're looking to get more."

3. Florida

Living and dying by the three has been Florida's fairly infamous M.O. throughout the 2011-12 season, but the Gators managed to survive and advance on Friday despite missing 19 of their 23 attempts from deep. And they actually moved on quite easily, blowing out 10th-seeded Virginia, 71-45.

Bradley Beal, Patric Young and reserve Casey Prather all had an easy time scoring inside against Cavaliers, who simply were not as good as their seed suggested.

With Missouri out of the picture, the bracket is suddenly shaping up quite nicely for Billy Donovan's team, who many computer systems now actually have pegged as the new favorite to advance out of the West region.

4. North Carolina State

The Wolfpack won its first NCAA Tournament game since 2006, and did so by cruising to a 79-65 upset of sixth-seeded San Diego State.

Led by forward Richard Howell's 22 points, NC State absolutely bullied the Aztecs in the paint and wound up with the surprisingly easy pass into the third round. They'll be up against someone their own size when they face No. 3 seed Georgetown on Sunday.

5. Saint Louis

I don't think I was the only one surprised that SLU was able to impose its (boring) will on a Memphis team that had spent the better part of the last month putting up gaudy offensive numbers and blowing everyone out. Credit Rick Majerus and company for keeping Memphis from getting out and scoring in transition, and for holding the Tigers to a 2-of-15 performance from beyond the arc.

Kwamain Mitchell supplied the offense with 22 points as the Bilikens won a game in the big dance for the first time since 1998.


1. Missouri

I mean, what do you want me to say? Duh.

2. Duke

Double duh.

3. Memphis

The Tigers made two groups of people look foolish on Friday: 1) Those claiming they were drastically under-seeded by the selection committee; and 2) Those who believed they'd upset Michigan State and carry their run into the tournament's second weekend. I fall under both umbrellas. I'm not bitter though.

4. Temple

South Florida scored 15 points in the first half and still wound up beating the fifth-seeded Owls by 14. That should be enough to already have them on this list for next year's tournament.

The Bulls held the talented backcourt duo of Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore to a combined 2-for-12 from the field, while three-point specialist Khalif Wyatt was just 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

5. San Diego State

It's been a less-than-stellar performance from the left coast tus far in the tournament, and the Aztecs added to that by displaying zero inside presence in a double-digit loss to NC State.

To SDSU's credit, they couldn't have picked a better day to give a listless effort in a postseason game they were favored to win. I mean you didn't even read this blurb.


Draymond Green, Michigan State

It was an awfully special night for Green, who joined Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in Division I history to record multiple triple-doubles in the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten Player of the Year notched 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the Spartans' 89-67 win over LIU-Brooklyn.


Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State

O'Quinn will steal the spotlight back in a second, but for now we'll just mention that the big man dominated undersized Missouri to the tune of 26 points and 14 boards.

C.J. McCollum, Lehigh

After the game Coach K referred to McCollum as "the best player on the floor," and it wasn't a product of coach speech. The nation's fifth-leading scorer dropped 30 points, handed out six assists, and made play after play when it appeared his Mountain Hawks might be in danger of letting their upset bid slip away.

Tu Holloway, Xavier

The senior guard reminded the nation why he earned the reputation of being one of the sport's most clutch players early in the season. Holloway hit a handful of huge shots down the stretch against Notre Dame, including what would prove to be the game-winner with 21.3 seconds to play. He finished with a game-high 25 points.

Rob Jones, Saint Mary's

Jones saw his college career come to an end after his 23 points and 14 rebounds weren't enough to lead Saint Mary's past 10th-seeded Purdue.


1. Kyle O'Quinn

All things considered (and with all due respect to Trollin' Indiana Baby), I think it's safe to call O'Quinn the star of the NCAA Tournament so far. His performance, personality, backstory and the fact that he spearheaded the first 15/2 upset in 11 years demand that status.

O'Quinn is a monster of a man, but he had just one Division-I scholarship offer, mostly because he played just one year of high school basketball. Now he's likely going to be paid to play the game by somebody next year, and he's momentarily captured the hearts of America after doing things like saying he just wants to repay his coaches for giving him a scholarship and claiming the Spartans' upset actually busted his bracket.



Really hoping for a Kyle O'Quinn jersey for St. Patrick's Day.

2. Overwhelmed Lehigh Cheerleader

This cheerleader was all of us when Duke suffered the most glorious Duke loss of our lifetime.


I ... I love you.

Also, if you're looking for the most-concentrated bounty of Blue Devils schadenfreude, look no further.

3. Robbie Hummel

As tough as it was to hear the Saint Mary's seniors talk about going home without a win in their final NCAA Tournament, it was equally easy to feel wonderfully for Hummel. The strength it takes to go through the rehab and also the pain of having to watch so much from the sidelines is something is an asset that certainly warrants praise. Hummel's likely not going to leave Purdue with the college career many predicted after he became the first Boilermaker to earn first team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman, but he's still always going to have Friday. A well-earned and worthy reward.

4. St. Bonaventure Fans

The Friar Tuck and the Nacho Libre are both massively under-utilized.


5. Craig Sager's Bracket Tie

Hell. Yes.



1. Notre Dame's Final Minute Performance

The Fighting Irish waited until just after midnight (yep, St. Patrick's Day) before performing their annual NCAA Tournament collapse. Eric Atkins chucked a ball away, Jerian Grant missed a clean look from outside and then committed a lane violation when Atkins had a chance to tie the game moments later. A lot of folks have been ripping the officials for enforcing a call you rarely see, but what about the fact that Grant committed a violation that was EVERYWHERE on TV the day before?

It blows my mind that Mike Brey's teams inexplicably continue to do all of the stuff they didn't do during the regular season when they step up to the sport's biggest stage.


2. Detroit

You couldn't even give us a game? Wins from 15 seeds are popping out like Oompa Loompas at the chocolate factory and you can't even give us a game? "Best 15 seed in recent memory," eh? Yes, I'm aware those were my words. Whatever, we're not talking about me right now.

3. Texas' Early Offensive Performance

Texas and Cincinnati kicked Friday off on CBS, which meant the two had the national stage to themselves for a solid half-hour. How did the Longhorns take advantage? By having only two points at the under eight timeout, of course.


Yeah, but if Rick Barnes had Kevin Durant that number would have been twice as high.

4. Jamal Olasewere Calling People Fat

When discussing his team's upcoming matchup with No. 1 seed Michigan State, LIU-Brooklyn forward Jamal Olasewere noted that some of the Spartan big men were "heavyset" and that "they couldn't catch us with our quickness and speed."

Naturally, Tom Izzo got ahold of the comments and read them aloud to the team on Friday. They went over about as well as every other weight-criticism ever uttered.

"I was offended by it," Payne said of Olasewere's comments. "For somebody to say something like that, we take things like that personal around here. They said 6-10, and I'm really the only 6-10 player on the team. They said something about Derrick's weight, and he's the only one that obviously weighs that much. We just had to come out and beat them at their own game.

"They said that they were going to try to out-run us. Nix, he lost all that weight. He didn't lose it for nothing."

Nix lost all that weight, man, and you know he's self-conscious about that shit. Just make sure you compliment his shorts or something the next time we're all on the court together.

5. Alabama's In-Bounds Defense

This probably should be a "cheer" for crafty Grant Gibbs (God I wish there were a synonym for "crafty" that started with a G),but I don't know, I'm feeling negative this morning. Oats 'N Honey bar was already cracked in two pieces when I took it out of the box.



1. Mason Plumlee, Duke


2. Doug Anderson, Detroit


3. James McAdoo, North Carolina


4. C.J. Leslie, NC State


5. Deshawn Stephens, San Diego State



1. "Barack Obama, we ruined your bracket. We still love you, but we ruined your bracket." --Norfolk State guard Jamel Fuentes

2. "We even messed up my bracket." --Norfolk State forward Kyle O'Quinn

3. "It's just ... we all could've done more, man. I never thought I'd be saying this after tonight." --Duke freshman guard Austin Rivers

4. "It stings when you care so much. From Coach (Randy) Bennett down to the walk-ons. Everyone cares. Everyone puts time in on and off the floor. When you lose one like that, when you're up with a couple seconds left, it really hurts." --An emotional Saint Mary's forward Rob Jones after the Gaels' 72-69 loss to Purdue

5. "We've got 'em. Nice and clean." --South Florida coach Stan Heath when asked if the 12th-seeded Bulls even packed their home white jerseys when they left Tampa.


1. No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 8 Kansas State (12:15 p.m. ET/CBS)

This will be far from a thing of beauty, but it's also the first legitimate chance we have at seeing a No. 1 seed get eliminated. Ergo, intrigue. K-State is tremendous on the offensive glass, which was Syracuse's achilles heel even before it was announced that Fab Melo was out for the tournament.

2. No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 6 Murray State (5:15 p.m. ET/CBS)

Both teams are going to let the other run, which should make for an aesthetically pleasing evening of basketball. Win this one and the (then) 32-1 Racers can start soaking up the "legitimate Final Four contenders" talk.

3. No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 12 VCU (7:10 p.m. ET/TBS)

Resurgent IU against a VCU team that shocked the world by crashing the Final Four a year ago, and which may actually be stronger this season. No shortage of storylines there.

4. No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Iowa State (7:45/CBS)

Royce White is very good, and likely would have wound up at Kentucky had it not been for his issues with anxiety. The Wildcats are the even more of an overwhelming favorite than they were at the dawn of the tournament, which makes every time they take the court must-see-TV.

5. No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 New Mexico (9:40 p.m./TBS)

As mentioned earlier, it's been a disappointing tournament for West Coast teams. New Mexico is the last team standing out of the four from the Mountain West and can salvage some face for the league by knocking off the Big East Tournament champions.

What Saturday lacks in Cinderella teams, it more than makes up for in quality squads. This should be yet another fantastic day of basketball. Bask in it.