Welcome back everyone and a very happy Thursday! I'm back and super pumped for today. Even though we don't have the official NCAA basketball tournament tipping off today, I've still done my best to keep March Madness alive and have simulated Day 1 of the tournament, using my Official 2020 March Madness NCAA Tournament Bracket. The first 16 games are in the books, and 16 of the 32 2nd round teams are set. Here is quick look at how Day 1 of the Tournament played out:
The very first game of the day was one of the best, as we had a near-colossal upset in the 14 vs 3 showdown between Akron and Seton Hall. The Pirates built a 43-31 halftime lead, only to have to hang-on for dear life down the stretch in an exciting 71-70 victory.
It was just the start, but the opening slew of games were all close affairs, getting the tournament off with a big bang! 8-seed LSU and 9-seed Rutgers squared off in the second game of the day, with the Scarlet Knights winning another close affair, 65-63.
The third game of the day provided some fireworks and our first upset of the tournament as 10-seed Utah State, fresh off of winning the Mountain West Tournament over San Diego State, upset 7-seed Michigan, 66-60. The Aggies closed out the game on a 7-0 run to take out the Wolverines and punch their ticket to the 2nd round.
The fourth game of the day pitted another 3-seed in a close affair, as Creighton snuck past Bradley in the South Region, 67-65. The Blue Jays actually trailed the Braves by 2 at the half in a game that went right down to the wire.
The next game was the first 5 vs 12 matchup of the tournament as Yale took on Butler in a battle of the Bulldogs. The Ivy League regular season Champs would have been a popular upset pick by all accounts out there, and they did not disappoint, providing one of the more surprising outcomes thus far, in a 75-59 rout, knocking out 5-seed Butler.
While Yale managed a big upset in the East Region, the top-seed in the region, Baylor, had no troubles with UC-Irvine, as they cruised past the Anteaters, 73-53 to move on to the 2nd round.
The next game to tip-off featured the 6-seed Arizona facing off with 11-seed Richmond in the Midwest Region, in a game that I thought would be one of the best of the first round. I thought the Spiders might pull the upset, but in the end, the Wildcats proved their sparkling NET rating wasn't a fluke as they dominated Richmond 68-51.
Top overall seed Kansas was the next team in action against Siena, and the Jayhawks did what everyone expected in a 101-75 rout. The game was never in doubt as Bill Self's squad built a 53-30 halftime lead and coasted in the second half.
The first game of the later set of opening day games featured the 2-seed in the West Region, San Diego State going to battle with Arkansas-Little Rock. The Aztecs overcame a 4-point halftime deficit to outscore Little Rock by 11 in the second half, gutting out a 75-68 victory.
The next game on the docket was one of the opening rounds' biggest surprises as 8-seed Colorado absolutley dominated 9-seed Florida, 73-50. Many, including myself, thought the Gators had a chance to win this one, and perhaps give Gonzaga fits in the second round, but it wasn't to be as the Buffaloes got out to a 12-point halftime lead and never looked back.
7-seed Iowa was in action in what was expected to be a great showdown in the Midwest Region with 10-seed Marquette in the next game. Despite the rough ending to the regular season, the Golden Eagles and Markus Howard were too much for the Hawkeyes, as Marquette advanced with a 71-66 victory.
The next game of the day pitted 4-seed Louisville against 13-seed Vermont, in a game in which I had the Cardinals on upset alert going in. The final score might have been 64-56, but the game was never really in doubt for Louisville, as Vermont just did not have enough firepower offensively to keep up.
Next up was one of the more lopsided games of the opening slate, as the 2-seed in the Midwest, Florida State, breezed past 15-seed North Texas, 88-65, in an outcome that was expected.
The next game sent us back to the East Region for a great matchup between 8-seed Saint Mary's and 9-seed Texas Tech. In a game that lived up to the expectations, the Red Raiders pulled it out in the end, 67-61, in a game that was close the entire way.
We go the South Region for our next matchup, as 6-seed Virginia took on 11-seed UCLA in a game that I thought was one of the best & most intriguing heading into the tournament. While I think most were expecting a close defensive battle, the Bruins proved to be too much for the Cavaliers, as they shocked the defending Champs in an 82-61 rout. The Bruins scored 46 in the first half on Tony Bennett's D, which was a bit of a shocker to say the least.
That brings us to our final game of the opening day slate, where 1-seed Gonzaga closed things out with a tighter-than-expected victory over 16-seed Robert Morris, 67-58. The Zags only led by 2 at the half, 37-35, but were able to pull away down the stretch.
What an opening day of NCAA tournament games as my official 2020 March Madness Bracket simulation brought us a few surprises, a couple of upsets, and some expected chalk as well. If only these games were for real, I think we all would have enjoyed this opening slate of tournament games. I'll be continuing to do my best to keep March Madness alive as I continue the simulation and see what the rest of the opening round games have in store as we dwindle the field down to 32, and then the Sweet Sixteen, and so on.
As always, I appreciate your support, and would love to get your thoughts in the comments section below! Out of today's winners, which ones have the best chance of moving on to the Sweet 16? Who's your pick to emerge from the simulation as Champions?
Be sure to checkout today's video recapping the simulated results of Day 1 of my official March Madness 2020 NCAA tournament bracket!:
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I'll be back again tomorrow morning with the rest of the first round results, taking us all the way down from 64 to 32 teams! Keeping March Madness alive the best I can! Hope you enjoyed the opening day results!