UMass Lowell Connector Logo

March Madness first round recap

(Photo courtesy of NBC sports) “Yale basketball player has possession of the ball.”

Shaan Baid
Connector Editor

There goes a vast majority of people’s March Madness brackets. The first round of the Men’s NCAA tournament tipped off on Thursday with many upsets. The biggest upset was No. 3 Kentucky getting upset by No. 14 Oakland, losing 76-80. The loss had many fans questioning Kentucky head coach John Calipari’s future, marking the fourth straight year Kentucky has failed to win a March Madness tournament game. The game’s highlight was Oakland guard Jack Gohlke’s incredible shooting night. The six-year grad student scored 32 points, nailing ten threes on 10/20 shooting. 

11-seeds Duquesne, Oregon and NC State knocked off their No. 6 counterparts. Duquesne defeated BYU in a close 71-67 contest that went down to the wire. Duquesne was able to close out after blowing a 14-point lead. Duquesne guard Dae Dae Grant led the team with 19 points, including four clutch free-throws in the last 10 seconds to seal the deal. Oregon wiped out South Carolina 87-73 in a game that was surprisingly a blowout. 

Oregon guard Jermaine Couisnard exploded for a career-high 40 points on 14/22 field goal shooting, 5/9 three-point shooting and a perfect 7/7 from the free-throw line. This was a revenge game for Couisnard, as he played three years at South Carolina before transferring to Oregon. 

In another double-digit win, NC State cruised past Texas Tech, winning 80-67. 

Forward Ben Middlebrooks scored a career-high 21 points on 6/8 field goal shooting. This was NC State’s first March Madness game in nine years. It is absurd how just one day can ruin most brackets. The madness does not stop there, as Friday’s games saw another big upset, with No. 4 Auburn getting upset by No.13 Yale, losing 76-78.

After trailing 34-41 at halftime, Yale rallied in the second half, outsourcing Auburn 44-35 in a gutsy performance. Yale guard John Poulakidas scored 28 points on 10/15 field goal shooting and 6/9 three-point shooting. The game came down to a key block by Yale center Samson Aletan in the final seconds, securing the win for his team. 

Looking at the anti-dramatic side of the bracket, top seeds UConn, Purdue, and Houston smoked their opponents in decisive blowout wins. All three teams won by a margin of at least 25 or more points.

UConn embarrassed No. 16 Stetson in a 91-52 demolition. The Huskies’ entire starting lineup scored in double figures in the blowout win. Center Donovan Clingan led the team with 19 points on 9/11 field goal shooting.

Purdue took down No. 16 Grambling St. in a 78-50 win. After going up 36-27 at the half, Purdue upped the score, dominating the second half 42-23. Purdue center Zach Edey dominated the Grambling St. defense, recording a double-double with 30 points and 21 rebounds on 11/17 field goal shooting. Edey also attempted 14 free throws, making eight.

Houston embarrassed No. 16 Longwood in an 86-46 win. While Houston had four players score in double-figures, no one for Longwood could do so. Houston guards L.J. Cryer (6/11 FG shooting) and Damian Dunn (5/10 FG shooting) led the way in scoring, both scoring 17 points.

Overall, it was an exciting first week of March Madness, as we already have multiple upsets. The tournament is shaping up to be thrilling, with many potential twists and turns. 

Related posts