The first day of the first round of the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in the books and, unlike the staff here at The Smoking Musket, we’re sure there are plenty of people out there who didn’t have the luxury of sitting in front of the TV or computer to watch every single game. So, with the help of our friends around the SB Nation network, we decided to give you a quick rundown of everything that happened today.
#1 Gonzaga 66, #16 South Dakota State 46
After a less than inspiring start, the Bulldogs turned the jets on in the second half to put the Jackrabbits away. Gonzaga will take on Northwestern, who will be looking to make the Sweet Sixteen in their first ever NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga’s defense was the only reason the Zags took a four point (FOUR!!!) 26-22 lead into halftime. They harassed Jackrabbits star (and second leading scorer in the country) Mike Daum into a multitude of early turnovers, but the Zags couldn’t ever capitalize on any of it. After barely trailing for the entire season, the Zags didn’t hold a lead in the game until 1:40 left in the first half. Against a team that is sub-300 in defensive ratings according to Ken Pomeroy, it was an entirely laughable display on offense. - The Slipper Still Fits
#8 Northwestern 68, #9 Vanderbilt 66
The Wildcats got their first ever NCAA tournament win but it didn’t come without a little controversy, if you want to call it that. Up by one point, the Commodores decided to foul Northwestern’s Bryan McIntosh, and well...
Vanderbilt's inexplicable loss to Northwestern officially star...
The foul by Matthew Davis-Fisher was hard to believe, but it wasn't the only mistake that Vanderbilt made against Northwestern down the stretch.Posted by Burnt Orange Nation on Thursday, March 16, 2017
“Some days it takes five minutes or two minutes. Some days it takes 40 minutes,” assistant coach Brian James said.
On Thursday afternoon, it took four minutes and six seconds of game time — but far longer than that in real time — for Pardon to win the competition. This time, though, the competition was a live game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on the biggest stage of his career. And he proved up to the task, knocking down six free throws in a row as part of a 14-point, 11-rebound effort. -Inside NU
#5 Notre Dame 60, #12 Princeton 58
Y’all hear the one about the Fighting Irish leading the country in free throw percentage? The Tigers put a little scare into the Domers. We’ll finish the job on Saturday.
The Irish, who entered the tournament as the nation’s best team from the charity stripe, missed seven free throws. But the 12-seed Princeton Tigers couldn’t hit their open looks in the final minute and the Irish escaped with an ugly win, 60-58.
It had the feeling of another 5-12 upset before Princeton’s bid for a game-winner clanked off the rim with two seconds left. - One Foot Down
#11 Xavier 76, #6 Maryland 66
I watched the first half of this game, and it stunk out loud. Xavier over the Terps was probably the 2nd least surprising upset of the day.
Trevon Bluiett was worth a sterling 1-8/1-6/0-0 shooting line in the first half, after which Xavier was trailing by one and kind of looking stagnant. He came out in the second half and yakked his first three. Then another one, and another. And another. And another, basically keying by himself a 14-0 run that took Xavier from down 3 to up 11 in seemingly the blink of an eye. Better still, he took a moment or two to make sure Maryland’s highly touted perimeter defenders knew who was doing it to ‘em. He’s not bashful, and it’s awesome to watch. - Banners On The Parkway
#3 Florida State 86, #14 Florida Gulf Coast 80
DUNKS ON DUNKS ON DUNKS. This one was everything we wanted it to be, minus DUNK CITY pulling off the upset. Florida State recruits their players from the land of giants or something, I’m not sure. Christ Koumadje is 7’4” of GET THAT SHIT OUT OF HERE and, to quote Enzo Amore...
The ‘Noles have been a streaky outside shooting team all year, and they’re only average from the free-throw line. The fear in a win-or-go-home tournament is that they’ll fail to knock down jumpers on a night when they also fail to make the opponent pay by hitting free throws.
Both those things happened tonight, but FSU was so dominant on the interior it didn’t matter. The ’Noles shot 15% on 3s, and 62% on FTs. But their 68% from inside the arc was the difference. - Tomahawk Nation
#7 St Marys 85, #10 VCU 77
SCORCHING HOT TAKE ALERT: Shaka Smart should have stayed at Virginia Commonwealth. The Gaels are sneaky good, but they’re about to run up on an Arizona team that runs the basketball equivalent of the air raid, I guess.
VCU: The Rams just weren't able to impose their will on Saint Mary's, like it has against so many others. The high-speed, plenty-of-pressure brand of basketball just didn't disrupt the Gaels as much as they hoped. VCU made a second-half run, but it wasn't enough. - ESPN.com
#2 Arizona 100, #15 North Dakota 82
Sean Miller didn’t even sweat through the entirety of his shirt on the Wildcat’s way to dropping a hundo in this one. All hail the Desert Death Machine.
That’s what a 2-seed should do to a 15-seed.
This was the first time Arizona scored 100 points in a tournament game since 2001. - Arizona Desert Swarm
#1 Villanova 76, #16 Mt. St. Mary’s 56
The Other Mountaineers looked like they were up for the challenge of knocking off the reining, defending National Champions, until about five minutes into the second half when the Wildcats remembered who they were and put Mount St. Mary’s away with ease.
Villanova raced out of the gate to start the second half. Josh Hart took over for the Wildcats, and quickly stretched their lead to twelve. The Wildcats bench play is what really separated them, with their bench outscoring that of the Mountaineers 31-5. Mt. Saint Mary’s stuck around for part of the second half, but were eventually outmatched by the better team. Their offense was relegated to taking any three point look they could get, and tired legs were unable to keep up on defense. Villanova outscored their opponents 44-25 in the second half. - VUHoops
#8 Wisconsin 84, #9 Virginia Tech 74
Let me just sit here in revel in this one for a minute. Buzz Williams is the Worst Person on Earth, and the Hokies getting bounced out in the first round of their first NCAA tournament in a decade is delicious.
Virginia Tech, making their first tournament appearance in a decade, could not overcome a Wisconsin second half lead and fell 84-74 to end their season. It was not all in their control, however. First it was Seth Allen’s ankle injury. Then it was questionable officiating. Then it was just the ball bouncing the wrong way off the rim. The Hokies could not catch a break, cutting the lead down to one five times in the second half but failed to take the lead. - Gobbler Country
#5 Virginia 76, #12 UNC-Wilmington 71
UNC-Wilmington teased the upset, but the Cavaliers bored the Seahawks to death in the closing minutes to come away with the win. The Hoos will take on Florida on Saturday in what I’m calling The Battle of Who Could Care Less.
The Seahawks had four players in double figures but were held to 41 percent shooting from the floor. Devontae Cacock led UNC-W with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Flemmings chipped in 18 points and nine rebounds. Ambrose Mosley had the hot hand from outside the arc for the Seahawks, going 4-for-4 from three and helping UNC-W stay in the game. Neither team turned it over at a high rate, with both teams finishing with nine turnovers apiece. UNC-W’s final turnover came with 15 seconds left in the game with Virginia holding on to a four-point lead, essentially sealing the game for the Hoos. - Streaking The Lawn
#4 Florida 80, #13 East Tennessee State 65
I realllllly wanted this upset to happen. You can’t trust a man who relies on the granny shot at the charity stripe, and no one should cheer for a team where that man isn’t riding pine except in blow outs. You let me down, Buccaneers.
Underhand free throws are back in the tourney pic.twitter.com/jZNYIRco4r— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2017
But that was just the first half. And after the break, the Gators were done letting the Buccaneers stay too close for comfort. - Alligator Army
#5 Iowa State 84, #12 Nevada 73
Congratulations to our Riot Bowl brethren for successfully pulling off our patented “blow a double digit lead late in the second half” strategy.
For awhile, tonight’s game looked like it could turn into a blowout. ISU went into halftime with a 40-27 lead, built on a half of good shooting and solid interior defense. However, the Wolf Pack wouldn’t go away easily, cutting Iowa State’s lead to just two possessions on multiple occasions in the second half. They could never quite get over the hump though, and the Cyclones nailed their free throws to seal the victory. - Wide Right & Natty Lite
#4 Purdue 80, #13 Vermont 70
Let me just say I’m glad we didn’t get put into the Midwest region, because I’m not completely certain we would have walked away from this one.
The Catamounts hung around until the last 5 minutes of the game when the Boilermakers decided they didn’t want to go another year without a tournament win.
The 4-seeded Boilermakers have a long way to go to realize their full potential, but for the first time since 2012, the Boilermakers have won a game in the NCAA tournament.
While National Player of the Year candidate collected another double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds to go with his 3 blocks, it was Vincent Edwards that was the best player on the court. Vincent dropped 21 points on just 16 shots, making 1 of his 2 3-point attempts, while providing the all-around game that’s been his staple with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. His defense was critical, clogging passing lanes, and getting back in transition. He had 2 blocks and 1 steal. - Hammer and Rails
#12 Middle Tennessee State 81, #5 Minnesota 72
The least surprising upset of the day. There’s not really much more to say about this one, so I’ll just leave it to our friends at The Daily Gopher to wrap this one up. Go Blue Raiders.
Minnesota’s All-Big Ten point guard and leading scorer, Nate Mason really struggled and this was one of the keys to today’s loss. Scoreless in the first half and just 5 points in the second half with four turnovers. This was easily his worst game of the year, possibly his Gopher career. Unfortunate that it came in such a big game. By the end it was rather clear he was not 100%, clearly in pain and not moving well due to a hip injury sustained in the second half. - The Daily Gopher
#4 Butler 76, #13 Winthrop 64
Butler embodied the spirit of the Big East in this one with their physical play. Y’all remember what that was like, right?
With the way Avery Woodson shot from the perimeter in the first half Thursday, the Bulldogs had little to worry about down the stretch against Winthrop.
Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers in his tourney debut, and the fourth-seeded Bulldogs contained star guard Keon Johnson in a 76-64 win over the 13th-seeded Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. - ESPN.com