The first day of the second round of the NCAA Tournament saw incredible action in all four regions of the brackets.
14 seeds made headlines as UAB took down 3 seed Iowa State and a little over an hour later, Georgia State took down another Big 12 school with a 3 seed, Baylor and Northeastern put a scare into Notre Dame to begin the Madness in Pittsburgh.
Five of the sixteen games on the first day were decided by a point. One that went to overtime and another that was decided by a goaltending call that gave UCLA three points and an eventual 60-59 win over SMU. N.C. State came back from 16 points down to defeat LSU later that night.
Day one was pure "madness." The second day of round two was almost entirely chalk. 11 seed Dayton defeated 6 seed Providence in the last game of the night.
The second round games provide us with a few exciting upsets like UAB and Georgia State, both which were feel-good stories coming into Saturday. But most of the time, we see a majority of the higher seed taking care of business.
With the four 1 seeds, we often wonder which one will fall first.
It did happen, and it happened in third round action in Pittsburgh Saturday night.
Villanova, the top seed in the East Region, faced 8 seed N.C. State in the first game of the evening.
The Wildcats were a horrendous 31 percent from the field, and it was one of the reasons why Villanova fell short to the Wolfpack in what turned out to be an exciting 71-68 finish at Consol Energy Center when an arrant inbound by N.C. State gave Villanova a chance to make a three pointer and take their first lead since they were up 28-25 with 2:12 left in the first half.
The final game of the night had 3 seed Notre Dame matched up against 6 seed Butler. A game that was seen as bad matchup for the Fighting Irish. While Notre Dame took a 10-point lead 12 minutes into the game, the Bulldogs closed the gap to two at halftime.
Notre Dame miscues and the great play of Butler's Roosevelt Jones and Andrew Chrabascz gave the Bulldogs a lead late in the game. The lead went back and forth and lead to a dramatic ending after Zach Auguste was called for a double dribble and gave Butler a chance for the game-winning shot with the score tied 55-55 with two seconds left.
After two Notre Dame timeouts and a Butler timeout, an inbound pass to Kellen Dunham on the far baseline gave him an opportunity to take a three point shot and a chance to send the Bulldogs to Cleveland for the Sweet 16.
Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton had other plans.
There was still 0.6 seconds left after Connaughton's rejection, but it was not enough time for Butler to get a shot off, so off to overtime they went in Pittsburgh.
Connaughton kept the Irish alive with the block, and then made a key three-point shot to give the Irish a 62-59 lead. Steve Vasturia made a big three-point basket and had five points in the overtime period, as Notre Dame escaped 67-64, and advanced into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.
Two great games that came down to the wire, and we all learned after the Notre Dame-Butler game that Irish head coach Mike Brey lost his mother to a heart attack earlier in the day. Brey did not tell anyone about it until after the game. This includes his players and staff. This will be a storyline for Notre Dame going into the Sweet 16 in Cleveland Thursday night.
With the third round games wrapping up Sunday night, there is no doubt that Pittsburgh featured the most exciting games of the round.
It may not be 15 seed Coppin State beating 2 seed South Carolina in the opening round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament at Civic Arena, but it was an evening to remember.
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