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.