North Carolina needed a rally and a controversial ending. BYU just needed Jimmer. Butler needed an absolute miracle.
Whatever the reason, they — and 13 other squads — made it through a wild first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Even in an event known for drama, this year’s edition has had more than its share of nail-biters. Ten of the 32 first-round games were decided by four or fewer points, and the second round featured near-misses by Duke and UNC ... as well as a stunning upset by eighth-seeded Butler over No. 1 Pittsburgh.
Here’s what we saw in the opening rounds:
Gotta be the Bulldogs. Butler’s 71-70 win was the result of two fouls — both totally unnecessary — in the closing 1.4 seconds of play. Morehead State deserves some love for KOing Louisville, but beating a No. 1 seed wins out.
San Diego State — the best MWC team without a Jimmer — needed double-OT to slip past Temple in the second round.
No. 12 Richmond turned out the dark (Spiders ... get it?) in upsetting Vanderbilt and handling overmatched Morehead State. With apologies to Butler, the Atlantic 10 champs are this year’s most significant bracket-busters.