2013 NCAA Tournament: The Best and Worst from Thursday’s March Madness action

The first full day of NCAA Tournament action is in the books, and while some of the games were the expected blowouts, more than a few offered the thrills we come to expect. Here’s a rundown of Thursday’s action:

Best upset: No, 14 seed Harvard not only shocked third-seeded New Mexico but the Crimson also notched its first NCAA Tournament victory with a 68-62 win. Should have stuck with your alma mater, President Obama.

Best finish: Down six with 62 seconds left, Marquette hit its last four shots to steal an improbable, 59-58 victory against 14th-seeded Davidson. Jamil Wilson hit two contested three-pointers before Vander Blue floated in the game-winning score just before the buzzer.


Best performance: There were several impressive outings but Derrick Nix’s effort stood out during Michigan State’s 65-54 defeat of Valparaiso. Nix scored 23 points and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in the win.

Worst play: In what was an otherwise impressive showing for top-seeded Louisville, Chane Behanan got “sprite-commercialed” on a breakaway dunk during the first half of the Cardinals’ 79-48 win against No. 16 seed North Carolina A&T.


Worst blowout: Most people were tucked under the covers by the time Syracuse recorded the day’s biggest rout, a 81-34 win against Montana. Against Syracuse’s tough zone defense, the Grizzlies shot just 20.4 percent from the field, including a 4-for-31 showing from behind the arc. Montana’s had four players score a team-high five points.

The night’s other massacre came by way of some bad timing. With Akron on tap to face fifth-seeded VCU and its “havoc” defense, the flu bug struck two players, back spasms sidelined another and the Zips were again without suspended point guard Alex Abreu. The result? A 88-42 blowout loss to the Rams. If only the Zips had that one guy from Akron…

 

Best attraction: The tallest player in the NCAA tournament also has arguably the coolest name, Sim Bhullar. The New Mexico State freshman stands 7-foot-5 and weighs in at 355 pounds. Unfortunately for the Aggies, Bhullar’s size was no match for Saint Louis in a 64-44 loss.

Best Charles Barkley quote: “North Carolina A&T got Liberty in round one and death in round two.” Chuck channeling his days sitting in U.S. History class.

Worst Charles Barkley quote:  “I actually think the number one seeds are the best teams.” No really, Charles?!

More NCAA tournament coverage

Where the fans live, in one map

Interactive bracket and NCAA tournament history database

The Bracket Challenge contest (Round-by-round)

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Brandon Parker | March 22, 2013