The round of 64 in the 2019 NCAA tournament tipped off Thursday. Here's a look at some of the top sights and sounds as the first round began.
Purdue started hot and held off Old Dominion's second-half runs to end up with a comfortable victory -- mostly due to the Boilermakers' defense. Old Dominion shot just 26.9 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range. Carsen Edwards finished with 26 points, but he might need to be more efficient (he shot 7-for-23 from the field) to beat Villanova on Saturday. -- Jeff Borzello
Tournament Challenge update: After 16 games, 42,828 (0.25 percent) of our 17.2 million brackets remain perfect.
Scott Drew continued his tremendous coaching job this season, ending Syracuse's eight-game first-round winning streak. Elijah Hughes kept Syracuse in the game for the first half, but Baylor made 16 3-pointers -- led by Makai Mason's 22 points and four makes from behind the arc. The Orange missed point guard Frank Howard, who was suspended Wednesday. -- Jeff Borzello
There was no repeat of last season's first-round battle, when Montana hung for a half before fading. Michigan put this one to bed early on, led by Charles Matthews' 22 points. Ahmaad Rorie hurt the Wolverines last season, but struggled Thursday, shooting 3-for-13 from the field and finishing with 10 points. Michigan will take on Florida on Saturday. -- Jeff Borzello
Fletcher Magee (24 points) vs. Myles Powell (27 points) turned out to be one of the best individual matchups of the day -- but Magee got more help, especially during the Terriers' clinching 17-0 run late in the game. Nathan Hoover had 18 points and Cameron Jackson went for 14, with Wofford shooting 13-for-28 from behind the arc as a team. Magee set the NCAA career record for 3-pointers made Thursday, hitting his 505th career 3 early in the second half. -- Jeff Borzello
Wofford guard Fletcher Magee set the NCAA career 3-point record against Seton Hall. Magee needed three 3-pointers against the Pirates to set the record, and the anticipation in the arena mounted each time he touched the ball. He got his third in the second half to give him 505 for his career, breaking the mark Travis Bader set in 2014 at Oakland.
Jay Wright and the Wildcats started their title defense with a solid victory over a hot Gaels team. Villanova was paced by its two seniors, Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, who combined for 34 points. Saint Mary's closed the gap late in the game, but the heroics from the West Coast Conference title game could not be repeated. Jordan Ford shot just 1-for-7 from 3-point range. -- Jeff Borzello
This was never close. Gonzaga scored 53 before halftime and Fairleigh Dickinson didn't hit double figures until there was less than eight minutes left in the first half. It was the largest victory in an NCAA tournament game in program history. Rui Hachimura had 21 points and 8 rebounds; Killian Tillie, who has missed most of the season with injury, played 18 minutes and scored 17 minutes. That's noteworthy for the Zags moving forward. -- Jeff Borzello
Nevada's uneven season comes to an end. The Wolf Pack simply couldn't make outside shots when it mattered Thursday, going 5-for-24 from 3 -- and just 2-for-18 in the second half. Florida's switching defenses caused issues for Nevada, especially late in the game. The Gators were led by Kevarrius Hayes' 16 points, while Keyontae Johnson also posted a double-double. -- Jeff Borzello
The absence of PJ Washington wasn't a factor for the Wildcats on Thursday. Abilene Christian never led. Keldon Johnson was terrific, with 25 points for the Wildcats; Reid Travis was also productive down low, finishing with 18 points and 9 boards. He led all players with 16 points in the paint. Washington's health could be a bigger issue against Wofford. -- Jeff Borzello
Ja Morant vs. Markus Howard evolved into the Ja Morant Show awfully quickly. Morant ran the game from the opening tip, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists. It was the fourth 15-point, 15-assist game in NCAA tournament history; the first triple-double in the NCAA tournament since Draymond Green in 2012; and the second 15-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound game in the past 20 seasons, regular season included. It was a special performance. -- Jeff Borzello
Tournament Challenge update: After eight games, 856,681 of 17.2 million brackets (5 percent) remain perfect.
JA MORANT WENT OFF 🔥 pic.twitter.com/6k9LYHqK7s— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2019
Yo this man @igotgame_12 can hoop!!! 💯💯— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) March 21, 2019
It took until 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, but we got our first true blowout of this NCAA tournament. Kansas consistently held a 20-plus-point lead for the final 13 minutes of the game, as Dedric Lawson dominated the paint with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Kansas held Northeastern to 28.1 percent shooting. The Jayhawks are now one victory from playing a regional in Kansas City, Missouri. -- Jeff Borzello
Belmont had chances in the final seconds to win, but the Bruins turned it over with 2 seconds left, then missed a half-court heave at the buzzer. Belmont's Dylan Windler had 35 points and 11 rebounds, but Maryland was just too big inside. Jalen Smith -- who had a vicious dunk late in the game -- and Bruno Fernando combined for 33 points and 25 rebounds for the Terrapins. -- Jeff Borzello
For much of Thursday's game, it looked like we might see a repeat of 2016, when Michigan State won the Big Ten tournament and promptly lost to 15-seed Middle Tennessee in the first round of the Big Dance. But the Spartans -- Cassius Winston, in particular -- got stops down the stretch to pull away after Bradley led with less than seven minutes remaining. Winston finished with 26 points. -- Jeff Borzello
After Vermont jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first seven minutes and held its own for most of the first 30 minutes, Florida State began to pull away down the stretch thanks to free throw shooting and rebounding. The Seminoles got big efforts from Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele, while Vermont star Anthony Lamb struggled with Florida State's size and length. -- Jeff Borzello
New Mexico State made a furious comeback in the final minute but missed two of three free throws with 2 seconds remaining, then missed a potential game-winning 3 at the buzzer. Auburn's hot shooting from the SEC tournament carried over to Thursday, with the Tigers making nine 3-pointers after halftime. Jared Harper led the way with 17 points and four 3-pointers before fouling out. -- Jeff Borzello
WHAT A GAME!— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2019
Auburn moves on after a thriller with New Mexico State. pic.twitter.com/D04f9m0iBq
LSU jumped out to a 16-point lead but couldn't truly put the Bulldogs away in the second half -- despite Yale shooting just 8-for-37 from 3-point range. Yale star Miye Oni struggled, scoring 5 points on 2-for-16 shooting. LSU's length and athleticism was overwhelming at times, though, with Nazreon Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams both notching double-doubles. That -- and Skylar Mays' clutch free throw shooting -- ended up being the difference. -- Jeff Borzello
Who will be taking home the national title?
Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg, Jay Williams and Rece Davis share their predictions for who is going to survive and capture the men's basketball national title.
Emmitt Williams crashed into press row for a loose ball and his jersey bears the soda marks. pic.twitter.com/jwnu8DaPCe— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) March 21, 2019
Minnesota came out hot from 3-point range, making 11 3-pointers -- only the fourth time all season the Golden Gophers had double-digit makes from behind the arc. Louisville made a late run to cut the lead but couldn't get within striking distance. Freshman Gabe Kalscheur led the way for Minnesota with 24 points, while Louisville's Christen Cunningham had 22 points in the loss. -- Jeff Borzello
Tournament Challenge update: Just 33.6 percent of brackets had Minnesota upsetting Louisville in the first round.
News and notes, odds and ends
One bettor is very invested in Michigan-Montana, having wagered $500,000 on the Wolverines to win at -1800 odds at CG Technology. Bet would win $27,700.
Make a bunch of threes— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 21, 2019
Colgate guard Jordan Burns refuted a report Wednesday that he had missed the team plane to Columbus and had to take an Uber instead, saying Thursday, "That wasn't true at all. Fake news." Burns told the Knoxville News Sentinel that his mother and others... https://t.co/jjbdrDMIS3— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) March 21, 2019
Abilene Christian Head Coach Joe Golding says he's had people offer to get him a new suit, but he's declining and will wear the ripped pants tonight against Kentucky.— *-Sixers: 47-25 (@PHLPhillySports) March 21, 2019
"I'm not changing. The blue suit has been good to us all year. I'm rocking the hole tonight."
Pregame excitement and presidential picks
Yale students (from left) TJ Noel-Sullivan, Carlo Abelli, John McKissack and David Weller made the long trip to Jacksonville for the NCAA tournament. Noel-Sullivan, Abelli and McKissack left at 5 am Wednesday morning to make the 16 hour drive, rotating... pic.twitter.com/hZsH0KSAu2— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) March 21, 2019
On This Date: 11 years ago, Steph Curry led No. 10 Davidson to an upset victory over No. 7 Gonzaga in the first round. pic.twitter.com/k5zyR9Olpw— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2019