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SportsPulse: New Mexico State’s late game debacle derailed their chances of pulling off the massive upset and highlighted a common theme early in the tourney: Cinderellas falling short.

March Madness is officially here. Wall-to-wall college basketball for the entire day as the 64 teams remaining start the first round.

Follow all of Thursday’s NCAA tournament action here with in-game and post-game analysis on all 16 games, as well as the biggest news of the day. All times Eastern.

No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Murray State

► FINAL — No. 12 Murray State 83, No. 5 Marquette 64: The Racers gave us our first major upset of the day behind star Ja Morant’s triple double of 17 points, 6 assists and 11 rebounds. He spearheaded a collaborative statement victory announcing to the natiion that Murray State is here for more than just a first-round upset, as this game wasn’t even close. 

  • 6:47 p.m.: Murray State leads 75-58 and continues to show it’s more than just Ja Morant, using a collaborative effort to put away Marquette. 3:43 remaining 
  • 6:27 p.m.: The Racers have built a 70-50 lead to look like the better seed in this first round matchup that seems destined to give us our first double-digit upset of the day. Yet it’s hard to consider it an upset when this Ja Morant-led Murray State team was a favorite pick to advance to the second round. 6 minutes remaining. 
  • 5:45 p.m. (halftime): Murray State looks poised to bust brackets as Thursday’s first big upset, leading 42-35 at the half. The Racers’ Ja Morant has 10 first-half points and Marquette’s Markus Howard has 16 points. 
  • 5:12 p.m.: The individual duel between Ja Morant and Markus Howard is off, and the Golden Eagles needed to call a timeout with Murray State leading early 18-10. 14:10 remaining. 

No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Belmont 

► FINAL — No. 6 Maryland 79, No. 11 Belmont 77: The Terrapins fought off Belmont’s Cinderella bid, hanging on in the closing seconds in a down-to-the-wire battle. The Bruins’ Dylan Windler finished with 35 points and 11 rebounds but a last-second heave fell way short to end their bracket-busting chances. 

  • 5:35 p.m.: Maryland leads 79-77 thanks to forcing a huge turnover late. Two seconds left. 
  • 5:30 p.m.: Nick Muszynski’s three-pointer made it a one-point game with just under a minute remaining. Maryland leads 78-77. 59 seconds remaining. 
  • 5:27 p.m.: Dylan Windler (35 points) is trying to help the Bruins pull off the big upset, but the Terrapins 9-2 run has helped them build a 77-73 lead here late. 1:18 remaining.  
  • 5:05 p.m.: Belmont reclaimed the lead, 60-58, after falling behind midway through the second half. 8:13 remaining. 
  • 4:40 p.m.: Maryland punched back hard early in the second half, grabbing a 44-40 lead over Belmont off a big three-pointer from Eric Ayala that capped a 5-0 run. 18:11 remaining. 
  • 4:15 p.m. (halftime): The Bruins lead 40-34 after the first half. Belmont leading scorer Dylan Windler is hot, with 15 points on 4-for-7 three-point shooting. Maryland, meanwhile, is 2-for-11 from beyond the arc.  
  • 4:02 p.m.: Belmont, a Cinderella pick for many, lead by 12 more than midway through the first half, looking like the better team against a youthful Maryland squad. 8:33 remaining. 
  • 3:45 pm.: Belmont’s Dylan Windler, who struggled offensively vs. Temple, drained a three-pointer to give the Bruins an early 11-9 lead. 14:13 remaining. 

No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley 

► FINAL — No. 2 Michigan State 76, No. 14 Bradley 65: The score won’t indicate how much coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans were sweating this game out, as it took a determined effort from Michigan State to pull away down the stretch and fend off the Braves’ near-upset that would’ve busted brackets everywhere. 

  • 5:14 p.m.: The Spartans are pulling away in this one, hitting their free throws and capitalizing off Bradley’s late-game miscues. They lead 70-62. 54 seconds left. 
  • 5:08 p.m.: Michigan State used a quick 9-0 run to silence Bradley’s bracket-busting hopes, giving the Spartans a 63-55 edge. 2:34 remaining. 
  • 5:01 p.m.: Cassius Winston (22 points) won’t let Michigan State fall victim to Cinderella candidate Bradley, scoring a runner to make it 58-55 at the last TV timeout. 3:47 remaining. 
  • 4:50 p.m.: The Braves are right there with Michigan State, trailing 54-53 in the second half as they’re giving the Spartans everything they can handle in this potential bracket-buster. 7 minutes remaining. 
  • 4:29 p.m.: The Spartans don’t want a repeat of what happened to them as a No. 2 seed in the 2016 NCAA tournament when Middle Tennessee State bounced them in the first round. No. 15 seed Bradley came out strong, leading in the first half, but Michigan State must’ve gotten a big speech by Tom Izzo at halftime — building a 44-39 lead at the first TV timeout. 15 minutes remaining
  • 4:01 p.m. (halftime): The Braves are here with an upset in mind, leading Michigan State 35-34 in the first half. 
  • 3:36 p.m.: Michigan State is clutching to a 20-19 lead in a game against a Bradley team the Spartans were expected to blow out. Not so far. 7:59 remaining.
  • 3:22 p.m.: Michigan State retook the lead, 13-12, here at the second TV timeout of the game after getting off to a slow start. 11:49 remaining in the first half. 
  • 3:15 p.m.: The Braves are out to a nice start, leading the Spartans 10-6 in a game Final Four-favored Michigan State is expected to blow out. 15:32 remaining.

No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern

► FINAL — No. 4 Kansas 87, No. 13 Northeastern 53: This one wasn’t even close, as Kansas hammered the mid-major Huskies to give them an unwelcome NCAA tournament appearance. All-American Dedric Lawson paved the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds. KU out-rebounded Northeastern 45-27 and outshot them 56 percent to 28 percent. 

  • 5:55 p.m.: The Jayhawks have build a comfortable 21-point lead, up 59-36, and putting the game out of reach midway through the second half. 9 minutes remaining. 
  • 5:10 p.m. (halftime): Kansas’ Dedric Lawson has been an unstoppable force (16 points, seven rebounds) to help the Jayhawks build a comfortable cushion against mid-major Northeastern, leading 37-25 at halftime. 
  • 4:54 p.m.: Kansas leads hopeful Cinderella Northeastern 28-19 late in the first half in the last TV timeout before halftime. 5 minutes remaining. 
  • 4:47 p.m.: The Jayhawks are doing their best to shake off Northeastern’s upset bid. They lead 20-16 midway through the first half. 9 minutes remaining. 

 No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State 

► FINAL — No. 5 Auburn 78, No. 12 New Mexico State 77: The Aggies had two chances to win with one second left and be Cinderella, first at the free-throw line when Terrell Brown went 1-for-3, and then again on a potential-game winning three that air-balled. Questions surfaced as the why New Mexico State didn’t take a wide-open layup before passing out for three as Auburn survived. Coach Bruce Pearl said afterwards, “sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” Ah, March Madness 

  • 3:47 p.m.: With Auburn leading 78-76, New Mexico State’s Terrell Brown was fouled on a three-pointer. 1.1 seconds left. 
  • 3:44 p.m.: New Mexico State’s JoJo Zamora drilled a three-pointer to make it a one-point game. Auburn leads 77-76. Eight seconds remaining. 
  • 3:42 p.m.: We’ve got a ball game here folks. Auburn only leads 75-73 after a big run from New Mexico State. 14 seconds remaining. 
  • 3:34 p.m.: Auburn leads New Mexico State 73-68 with 50 seconds remaining. 
  • 3:23 p.m.: At the last TV timeout of the game, the 30-win Aggies trail hot-shooting Auburn 70-61, as the Tigers continue to counter New Mexico State’s Cinderella punches with strong shooting from the outside and pressure defense. 4:12 remaining. 
  • 3:10 p.m.: New Mexico State’s upset bid is falling out of reach, as Auburn continues to shoot well (nine three-pointers on the day) and play smart (just four turnovers) while making the mid-major Aggies uncomfortable by forcing 13 turnovers. Auburn leads 65-52. 7:54 remaining. 
  • 3:02 p.m.: At the second TV timeout of the second half, New Mexico State trails Auburn 53-45 in a game that’s seeing the Tigers separate themselves with points off turnovers and a pair of three-pointers. 
  • 2:31 p.m. (halftime): Cinderella much? New Mexico State trails Auburn just 32-29 in the first half after starting hot and then being thrown off by the Tigers’ strong play (forcing eight first-half turnovers). Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said the game’s close as a credit to “New Mexico State’s quick guards.” Johnny McCants has contributed 10 points off the bench for the Aggies, as coach Chris Jans uses a deep bench. 
  • 2:06 p.m.: New Mexico State’s Jans said before Thursday’s game he was most concerned with Auburn’s athleticism, and we’re seeing why in the first half as the Tigers lead the Aggies 28-22 largely as a result of a tenaciousness they haven’t seen before. 4:07 left in the first half. 
  • 1:59 p.m.: Auburn is starting to show why its a dark-horse in this tournament, taking a 25-19 first half lead after trailing early on. 6:22 remaining in the first half. 
  • 1:49 p.m.: New Mexico State is doing its best to become the day’s first Cinderella, leading Auburn 19-17. 10:42 remaining. 
  • 1:36 p.m.: Our third game of the day has tipped off, with the SEC tournament champion Tigers trying to fend off viable Cinderella candidate and 30-win ball club New Mexico State. New Mexico State leads 7-6 early on. 15:47-minute mark of the first half. 

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont

► FINAL — No. 4 Florida State 76, No. 13 Vermont 69: Vermont started off hot and looked like it’d be the day’s first Cinderella by matching FSU blow for blow in the first half and early in the second half. But, ultimately, the Seminoles showed why they’re a dark-horse to get to the Final Four as they pulled away late in the second half. Florida State hung on despite shooting 25 percent from three, while the Catamounts were a blistering 47 percent from beyond the arc. 

  • 4:05 p.m.: Vermont’s upset bid is starting to fall out of reach, as Florida State leads 66-58 with little time left to flip the momentum. 1:57 remaining.  
  • 3:33 p.m.: Florida State leads 44-43 at the second TV timeout of the second half in the back-and-forth affair. 11:34 remaining. 
  • 3:29 p.m.: Vermont is doing its best to become the day’s first Cinderella, leading Florida State 43-42. 12:19 remaining. 
  • 2:50 p.m. (halftime): Florida State and Vermont are deadlocked in a 27-27 tie, setting up a second half that could turn into one of the tournament’s first bracket-busters. 
  • 2:28 p.m.: Florida State and Vermont are going back and forth in this see-saw battle and hardly looking like an ACC team vs. an America East team. It’s 17-16 FSU. 8:28 remaining in the first half. 
  • 2:18 p.m.: Vermont’s early lead is starting to fall away, as FSU is clawing back. The Catamounts still lead 16-12 at the second TV timeout of the game. 11:26 remaining in the first half. 
  • 2:10 p.m.: Vermont takes an early 10-4 lead on a Florida State team that many suspect is good enough to reach the Final Four. The Catamounts have a lot of Cinderella ingredients to bust brackets, starting with Anthony Lamb (21.4 pp). 15-minute-mark of the first half. 

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale 

► FINAL — No. 3 LSU 79, No. 14 Yale 74: The Tigers barely fended off a determined Yale team’s late comeback attempt, with the Bulldogs’ Alex Copeland making things interesting with a barrage of three-pointers. LSU made its free-throws down the stretch, though, and were able to survive to advance to the second round.  Yale was an atrocious 8-for-37 from three-point range, meaning had they been hitting they could’ve been the day’s first Cinderella. 

  • 2:43 p.m.: We’ve got a ball game here in Jacksonville. LSU is up 72-68 and tryin to fend off Yale’s late comeback attempt. 30.9 seconds remaining. 
  • 2:40 p.m.: Yale isn’t going out quietly, making it a 68-62 game with 1:25 remaining. 
  • 2:16 p.m.: Can Yale put together a late run to put on the day’s first glass slipper. The Bulldogs trail 57-49 and are still alive in this thing. 10:08 remaining. 
  • 2:05 p.m.: Yale is making a comeback of sorts, using a 10-2 run to make it 51-41. 15 minutes remaining. 
  • 1:58 p.m.: LSU continues to use its athleticism to force turnovers and keep mid-major Yale out of reach, leading 49-37. 16:20 remaining. 
  • 1:27 p.m. (halftime): LSU is taking care of business, leading 45-29 after a first half that saw Yale shoot just 3-for-17 (18%) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Tigers are scoring in the paint with ease. 
  • 1:17 p.m.: Yale is getting good outside looks, but could build a house with all their bricks. The Bulldogs are just 3-for-13 (23%) from three-point range. Make a couple of those and it’d be a game. Instead LSU leads comfortably 37-25. 3:05 remaining in the first half. 
  • 1:08 p.m.: LSU is keeping Yale at arm’s length, leading 30-21 and countering the Bulldogs’ attempts at a run with strong counter-punches. 7:23 left in the first half. 
  • 1 p.m.: LSU is holding a 19-13 edge at the second TV timeout, as Yale has started to settle in and catch up. 11:54-minute mark of the first half. 
  • 12:53 p.m.: The Tigers lead 13-5 at the first TV timeout.  15-minutes remaining. 
  • 12:48 p.m.: The Tigers jump out to an early 9-0 lead on the Bulldogs. 17:17-minute mark of the first half. 


No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Minnesota

► FINAL — No. 10 Minnesota 86, No. 7 Louisville 76: The Gophers shot just 32 percent from three-point range on the season but broke out in their opening round game, going 11-for-27 (41 percent) from beyond the arc to cruise past a Cardinals team that ended the season losing 8 of 11 games. Coach Richard Pitino was most pleased with the defense, though. “We were really locked in, we disrupted them, we bothered them,” Pitino said after the game. 

Bill Murray rooting against the Gophers made for a funny side story line. Murray’s son is an assistant at Louisville. Caddshack references were aplenty in the color commentary. 

  • 1:57 p.m.: Minnesota is putting those one out of reach, looking poised to advance to the round of 32 with a 64-50 cushion. 7:44 minutes remaining. 
  • 1:39 p.m.: The Gophers lead 53-41 at the second TV timeout of the second half, continuing to shoot well from three-point range with eight triples. 13:16 remaining. 
  • 1:25 p.m.: Minnesota started the second half with an 8-0 run in less than 50 seconds, building a 43-33 lead. 19 minutes remaining. 
  • 1:01 p.m (Halftime): Minnesota leads the first half 38-33. Only averaging five three-pointers a game, the Gophers have already made six. Coach Richard Pitino said in a halftime interview that he feels his team is benefiting from being “patient” but wants to see better defense in the second half. 
  • 12:58 p.m.: Minnesota is clutching to a 33-31 lead as halftime nears. 1:18 remaining in the first half. 
  • 12:50 p.m.: The Gophers lead 25-21 at the last TV timeout of the first half. 3:39 left until halftime. 
  • 12:41 p.m.: The Gophers just took a 21-17 lead following back-to-back three pointers. 6:28 remaining in the first half. 
  • 12:30 p.m.: The Gophers lead the Cardinals 12-11 in a back-and-forth affair here early on in Des Moines. 
  • 12:15 p.m.: And we are off and running. The day’s first game has tipped. It’s a matchup between Minnesota coach Richard Pitino and his father’s former school, Louisville. Both teams are fighting for a likely second-round clash with Michigan State. The Cardinals entered the game trending downward, having lost seven of 10. 




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