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March Madness officially got underway on Thursday, and the day one action did not let down to say the least. We had upsets. We had buzzer-beaters. And we certainly had some big-time performances. 

Here are the headlines from the day:

Upsets and buzzer-beaters

Right off the bat the day started with an in-state rivalry upset that came down to the wire. (11) Dayton was able to overtake big brother (6) Ohio State, hitting the go ahead bucket in the final seconds. Ohio State's Aaron Craft got a good look at a shot for the win, but it rimmed out. Not much current draft potential on the court, but a hell of a game.

(9) Pittsburgh over (8) Colorado is not much of any upset in anyones eyes, but the score is worth noting -- a 77-48 victory. Pitt will move on to play (1) Florida in the next round who struggled against (16) Albany ... watch out Florida. 

(12) Harvard was able to steal a win for the second year in a row, this time over (5) Cincinnati. Harvard was clearly the better team on the court and could have some NBA talent for future drafts. Cincy star Sean Kilpatrick is viewed as a second-round-pick, but did not help his cause in the game. He managed 18 points, but did not have a good game by his standards. 

(7) UConn and (10) Saint Joe's couldn't be decided in regulation. Shabazz Napier missed a 3-pointed to win it at the end of regulation to win it for the Huskies. UConn was able to come away victorious in OT though.

(12) North Dakota State burst onto the scene (and very much helped my bracket) by taking down (5) Oklahoma in yet another OT game. We may have found ourselves a cinderella. 

(7) Texas and (10) Arizona State came right down to the final buzzer. Right when it appeared we were going to have another OT game, Texas center Cameron Ridley scooped a missed shot off the floor and went up with the game-winner just before the final horn. You need to see this play to get how close it was.

(4) San Diego State survived by the skin of their teeth against a game they thought they had wrapped up against (13) New Mexico State. A late 13-0 run by NMS sent the game to OT (the fourth of the day - a tournament record), but SDS was able to finish strong and advance.

Top Performances from expected draftees 

Obviously the headlines begin with Adreian Payne, center for (4) Michigan State. If someone puts up a more insane stat line than Payne did on Thursday I can't imagine what type of game they would need to have. Payne dropped 41 points on (13) Delaware while shooting 10-for-15 from the field and 17-for-17 from the line. It was the first 40 point game in the tourney since Stephen Curry did so for Davidson in 2008. Now top it off with the fact that Payne played a mere 24 minutes ... like I said, lets see someone top that.

Shabazz Napier really led the way in a huge UConn victory. The Huskies were down seemingly all game, but thanks to 24 points, eight boards, six assists and three steals from Napier, they came away with a win. Not Napier's most efficient game, but he proved to be in control of it. 

(12) N.C. State's scoring machine T.J. Warren poured in 28 points to go along with eight rebounds, but that doesn't tell the whole story. (5) Saint Louis was down as many as 16 points in the second half, but found a way to win in OT. A big reason for that was Warren's poor free throw shooting (6-for-14). This was pretty much an upset win for Saint Louis. 

Jahii Carson did all he could to will Arizona State to victory, but as you know came up just short. Carson finished with 19 points, nine dimes, four boards and a couple steals. 

Freshman (3) Syracuse star Tyler Ennis paced the Orange to victory. He finished with an efficient 16 points and six helpers.  

Xavier Thames of San Diego State played a huge part in their victory, leading the way with 23 points to go along with five dimes, three steals and two blocks. 

If Friday's games are half as wild as Thursday it will be another great day of March Madness. Stay tuned for more from Celtics Life!

Follow Julian on Twitter @julianedlow


Julian Edlow 3/21/2014 01:47:00 AM Edit
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