Is March Madness 2022 wild enough yet? How's your bracket doing?
Friday's NCAA tournament games saw a share of underdogs coming out on top. No.11 Notre Dame downed No. 6 Alabama, No. 10 Miami beat No. 7 USC, and No. 11 Iowa State won over No. 6 LSU.
Jabari Smith, a top NBA draft prospect, and No. 2 seed Auburn advanced easily against Jacksonville State. Later, Mike Krzyzewski began his final NCAA tournament as Duke's head coach with a win against Cal State Fullerton.
"I'm just going to go for it, and that's what I've tried to do all season long," Krzyzewski said Thursday. "I just want to be in the moment. I'm excited."
NCAA tournament Saturday schedule (all times ET)
Illinois' late-game heroics
The Fighting Illini trailed for the majority of the contest, but took the lead when it mattered most. Late buckets by Kofi Cockburn and Alfonso Plummer in the final minute elevated their team to a 54-53 win. The last possession came down to defense, and Illinois delivered.
Coach K's final dance
The Duke Blue Devils started their final tournament run of the Mike Krzyzewski era against No. 15 seed Cal State Fullerton. Paolo Banchero scored 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead his team to an 78-61 victory. This win improved Coach K's record to 25-1 in tournament openers as a top-2 seed, per ESPN Stats & Information.
The legendary coach had plenty of supporters present.
Here come the bracket busters
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐓 𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐅𝐄𝐂𝐓 𝐁𝐑𝐀𝐂𝐊𝐄𝐓 𝐇𝐀𝐒 𝐁𝐄𝐄𝐍 𝐁𝐔𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐃 ❌ pic.twitter.com/yP4W1t8Xv1
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 19, 2022
No. 11 Iowa State's win over No. 6 LSU had some big implications outside of the Big Dance. The Cyclones' 5-point upset win ended any chances of a perfect bracket for 17.3 million ESPN Tournament Challenge entries.
Jabari Smith throws it down
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bruce Pearl made the all-too-familiar sound of the SportsCenter theme. About a half-hour earlier, in Auburn's close-out of Jacksonville State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, his star forward, Jabari Smith, had a dunk he was sure would make the highlight reel.
"It's going to be on SportsCenter tonight," Pearl said. "And isn't that every kid's dream? But he postered him. He really did. And those kids love it. They obviously loved it."
Sophomore guard K.D. Johnson raved about the dunk after the game.
"Did y'all see that? It's crazy," Johnson said. "I didn't know he was going to do that. He never did that in practice. First time he ever showed he could ever get that high, so that was crazy."
Center Walker Kessler joked he didn't think his teammate would be able to pull that dunk off, eliciting an "oooh" from the media, before quickly correcting himself: "But, I mean, probably. It was a pretty nasty dunk."
Smith didn't know if he would be able to pull that off either. And as he went up, it wasn't going to be his plan. It just sort of happened.
"I was going to attack the rim," Smith said. "I knew he was going to foul me but I didn't know I was going to make it until I jumped and am like, 'I can really dunk on that.' I just finished it." -- Michael Rothstein
Michigan State keeps marching
The contest between the alma maters of Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green went down to the wire. Davidson made a trio of 3-pointers in the game's final minute, but the Spartans managed to hold on for a one-point win.
Michigan State will meet Duke in the next round as head coaches Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski face off for final time. Sunday's meeting will break a tie with Roy Williams and Bill Self as the most common head coaching matchup in NCAA Tournament history with six games.
Return to sender
one does not try EG. pic.twitter.com/ZMFupzTFwJ
— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) March 19, 2022
Somebody should have warned Iowa State guard Izaiah Brockington about LSU sophomore Eric Gaines' hops. Gaines flew through the air for the chase-down block during a fastbreak in the first half. Watching footage of the rejection is the only way to truly appreciate the play.
Coach TO pic.twitter.com/bucd6Dl0sl
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 18, 2022
Chattanooga had elite company in attendance for its game against Illinois. Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens showed up in Pittsburgh to support his alma mater, exchanging pregame handshakes with the team. Owens played football for the Mocs from 1992-95 and also earned two varsity letters in basketball, per the school's website.
Miami moves on
NO. 10 MIAMI TAKES DOWN NO. 7 USC 68-66 AND THE CANES SURVIVE AND ADVANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/dnlMUxEnQp
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) March 18, 2022
It was a back-and-forth affair between No. 10 seed Miami and No. 7 seed USC. Both teams traded buckets down the stretch, but Hurricanes guard Charlie Moore hit two critical free throws to propel his team over the Trojans 68-66. Guard Isaiah Wong led the team with 22 points despite fouling out late in the contest.
Marcus Carr from way downtown
Texas guard Andrew Jones got off to a hot start against Virginia Tech, scoring 17 points and shooting 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the first half. Only two other Longhorns hit a 3-ball before the break. Marcus Carr was one of the two with his last-second heave from beyond half court.
It's a family affair for Chevez Goodwin
Chevez Goodwin lucked out when it came to March Madness this year. His USC Trojans played in Greenville, South Carolina, and his family is from Columbia, which is just a few hours away. They were out in force to support him when his squad faced the Miami Hurricanes.
Jermaine Samuels: unstoppable
Villanova handled its 15-2 matchup against Delaware. In a snippet of Jermaine Daniels' impressive day, the forward denied a layup on defense and then threw down a monstrous jam on the other end.
Deuce Tatum's rooting for Duke
Sister Jean in the house
Walked into PPG, immediately saw a celebrity pic.twitter.com/uNLQc0ptqq
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 18, 2022
What would a Loyola Ramblers game be without their beloved chaplain Sister Jean? The 102-year-old nun was in Pittsburgh on Friday for her team's game against Ohio State.
POTUS on their side
Sometimes you have to make bracket picks with your heart. President Joe Biden put aside seeds, odds and opponents and picked his alma mater, the Delaware Blue Hens, to win both the men's and women's tournaments.
Texas AD's wild ride
Met these dude at Austin airport after two plane delays we decided to drive to Milwaukee., Wheels, Hodges and me rolling along 1-35 expected drive time 17 hours .. Keep the light on boys will be coming in late pic.twitter.com/AMhV6sLMtw
— Chris Del Conte (@_delconte) March 17, 2022
Everyone's been on a long road trip. People take too many bathroom breaks. They try to take photos from moving cars. Souvenirs are bought. According to Chris Del Conte, the Longhorns' athletics director, he had travel issues with his flight from Austin, Texas, to Milwaukee for Texas' first-round game Friday.
So Del Conte got a car with some Texas fans and headed north. According to the feed, Texas' AD got pulled over in a traffic stop -- in Oklahoma, of course.
Pregame fun and intense prep
Go Green 🍀 🍀 pic.twitter.com/VL9T7aDlcR
— Michigan State Men's Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) March 17, 2022
March Mentality 🤘 pic.twitter.com/Z5vIH1MiIr
— First Round Friday @ 3:30 on TBS (@TexasMBB) March 17, 2022