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March Madness: Top Seed Purdue ousted, Brackets in shambles

From The Associated Press

The March madness has really begun! By the end of the first round, a trio of top seeds were already gone — #1 seed Purdue, #2 seed Arizona, and #4 seed Virginia — and gone with them were millions of broken brackets.

Here’s what you should know about the NCAA tournament weekend, including favorites and underdogs, and key games:

The tournament’s top four seeds went to Alabama, Houston, Kansas and Purdue. Everyone has had their share of headaches setting up a tournament that is already proving chaotic, and the Boilermakers were the first to fall, being ousted in a first-round stunner. Here’s the latest from each region:

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EASTERN REGION: The Boilermakers were seeded at No. 1 for the fourth time, but Purdue were dropped by Fairleigh Dickinson in an almost historic upset. The region seems wide open to names like Marquette, Duke, Michigan State and more.

SOUTHERN REGION: Alabama, led by coach Nate Oats in a challenging season, is ranked No. 1 for the first time behind SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller, who has armed security on hand after being the subject of threats. The Crimson Tide opened the tournament with an easy win. Possible hurdles could be Baylor, Missouri and Creighton. Princeton or Furman, anyone?

MIDWEST REGION: Houston has a top seed and won its opener, but All-American Marcus Sasser suffers from a groin injury. Potential hurdles could include No. 2 seed Texas facing surprise Penn State. 3 seed Xavier held off Kennesaw State in the opener.

WESTERN REGION: Kansas is the top seed in a stacked region and the Jayhawks faced a tantalizing second-round matchup against Arkansas. Kansas is without coach Bill Self, who is recovering from heart surgery. 2nd-seeded UCLA looked like title contenders in the opener, 3rd-ranked Gonzaga advanced and a juicy 4-5 duel saw UConn defeat Saint Mary’s in the second round.

The unforgettable moments are already piling up.

Princeton capitalized on a late run to claim its first NCAA tournament win in 25 years, edging out No. 2 seed Arizona. Furman made his first tournament appearance since 1980 by beating No. 4 seed Virginia a deep 3-pointer from JP Pegues at 2.4 seconds Left.

Then came 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson’s win over Purdue as 22 1/2-point underdog Zach Edey choked 7-4 at center to progress and join UMBC in the record books.

At the player level, Texas A&M had no answer to the 3-point acumen of Penn State’s Andrew Funk, who made 8-of-10 to send the Aggies home. Marquette’s Kam Jones had a stunning shot on goal in the second half to lead the Golden Eagles to victory in their opener.

No. 4 Tennessee (24-10) vs. No. 5 Duke (27-8), Saturday 2:40 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Blue Devils have won ten straight seasons under coach Jon Scheyer in their freshman year, with Jeremy Roach setting a career-high 23 points in each of his last two games. The Volunteers extended an 18-point lead and survived a challenge from Louisiana-Lafayette in the opening round.

No. 7 Missouri (25-9) vs. No. 15 Princeton (22-9), Saturday 6:10 p.m. ET (TNT)

Princeton picked up their first tournament win in 25 years by upsetting No. 2 seed Arizona with a late 9-0 run. The other Tigers ended a six-game tournament with their first Big Dance win since defeating Clemson in the first round in 2010.

#1 Houston (32-3) vs. #9 Auburn (21-12), Saturday 7:10 p.m. ET (TBS)

The top-seeded Cougars could be without star guard Marcus Sasser, an All-American who appeared to have suffered another groin injury in the opening round against Northern Kentucky. Either way, the Cougars will need to find a way to slow down Johni Broome, who was unstoppable in the Tigers’ opening win.

No. 2 Texas (27-8) vs. No. 10 Penn State (23-13), Saturday 7:45 p.m. (CBS)

The Longhorns need to hope Andrew Funk falls into some sort of funk for the Nittany Lions. His barrage of 3s helped Penn State win its first NCAA tournament in 22 years. Texas under interim coach Rodney Terry beat Colgate in the first round.

Gun violence has claimed lives and disrupted collegiate sports all season, touching some of college basketball’s top programs, including Alabama. Coaches have been pushed into unsafe and unwelcome roles in navigating the issue – as well as the fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

In short, if you think you know March Madness pretty well, try this 25-question trivia quiz put together by AP.

The NCAA tournament is full of great players, and the AP All-America team is a good place to get familiar with the names. It’s also an event where guys you’ve never heard of – no offense Drake – can take a star turn. The guard game will always be important (see: Baylor, 2021 title winner) and there are some NBA prospects in the mix.

Bet on it, too: Some players – maybe more than one – will have a chance to join the mustachioed Doug Edert (remember last year’s inspiring run of Saint Peters?) and find a way to capitalize on their fame .

Each game of the men’s tournament will be broadcast — here’s a schedule — on either CBS, TBS, TNT, or TruTV and their digital platforms. CBS, which also has a handy schedule that includes team announcements, will host the Final Four and national title game this year.

The NCAA streams games through their March Madness Live option and CBS games stream on Paramount+. Fans of longtime play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz should enjoy every moment: it’s his final NCAA tournament.

Who will be state champion? The late Friday betting favorites to reach the Final Four are (in that order) Alabama, Houston, UCLA, Gonzaga, Texas and Kansas, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Selection Sunday established the bracket matchups for the first four and first and second round games spanning from Florida to California. Sweet 16 weekend will feature games in New York City (East Region), Las Vegas (West), Kansas City, Missouri (Midwest) and Louisville, Kentucky (South).

Where are the Final Four? April 1st in Houston, with the championship game on April 3rd. Attention basketball fans: The women’s NCAA tournament will have its Final Four in Dallas, a four-hour drive from Houston.

Can’t get enough March Madness? Well, there’s talk of expanding the tournament despite a variety of challenges. Enjoy the 68 team version now!

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