No. 11 Pittsburgh routs No. 6 Iowa State, No. 3 Xavier survives scare

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Welcome to the happy confluence that is the first Friday of March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day.

This promising day of cool and fun features 16 men’s NCAA Tournament games in the Round of 64 slate. Will there be any more big upsets? On Thursday, No. 15 Princeton stunned No. 2 Arizona and the 13-seeded Paladins of Furman upset No. 4 Virginia.

No. 14 Kennesaw State started the day with a near-upset of No. 3 Xavier, but the Musketeers rallied in the final minutes. The action won’t stop until around midnight on the East Coast with No. 11 Arizona State and No. 6 TCU tipping off at 10:05 p.m. ET (truTV).

In addition, the women’s first round got underway. Aliyah Boston and No. 1 South Carolina got their title defense off to a good start with a win over 16-seeded Norfolk State. Fellow No. 1 seed Virginia Tech takes on Chattanooga at 5:30 p.m. (ESPNU). Caitlin Clark and 2nd-seeded Iowa face SE Louisiana at 4 p.m. (ESPNU). The final games on the schedule start at 10 p.m. ET with Gonzaga facing Ole Miss (ESPNU) and Princeton matching up against N.C. State (ESPN2).

Michigan State and USC tipped off Friday's action in the men's tournament.

Michigan State and USC tipped off Friday’s action in the men’s tournament.

Think you have what it takes to beat your friends? Test your college basketball skills (or luck) here with USA TODAY’s Survivor Pool.  Bookmark our brackets page, too!

MEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and schedule

WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and schedule 

No. 6 Kentucky up by seven over No. 11 Providence at half

Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe (13) has the same amount of rebounds as the entire Providence team. Tshiebwe is only four points away from a double-double as the Wildcats head into halftime with a 38-31 lead over Providence. Kentucky collectively had 25 rebounds, including 13 offensive rebounds.

Jacob Toppin has 12 points and Antonio Reeves scored 14 points.

The Friars’ Bryce Hopkins got shook up with 1:52 left in the half, when Toppin blocked his dunk attempt. Hopkins suffered a cut on his left hand, but reentered the game after a TV timeout with tape on his hand. He has five points.

Women’s final: Mississippi State 81, Creighton 66

Mississippi State took the lead 18 seconds into the game and never gave it up.

The 11th-seeded Bulldogs became the first First Four team to reach the second round of the women’s tournament, routing sixth-seeded Creighton 81-66. Jerkail Jordan led five Mississippi State players in double figures with 20 points, while Jessika Carter had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

It was the second upset of the day by an SEC team, following 10th-seeded Georgia’s win over No. 7 Florida State.

— Nancy Armour

No. 1 Purdue trailing against No. 16 seed at half

Despite 12 first-half points from Zach Edey, No. 1 Purdue found itself trailing 32-31 after 20 minutes in its first-round matchup with Fairleigh Dickinson.

The top-seeded Boilermakers struggled to hit perimeter shots and relied solely on the 7-foot-4 Edey — who was double-teamed for most of the half — for offensive production.

The 16-seeded Knights had five different players finish the first half with at least five points.

It is the 12th time a No. 16 seed has led at halftime of a first-round game. Only one No. 16 seed has upset a No. 1 seed. UMBC took down top-seeded Virginia in the first round of the 2018 tournament.

Women’s final: LSU 73, Hawai’i 50

Angel Reese posted a career-high 34 points as No. 3 LSU dominated its first-round matchup with 14-seeded Hawai’i.

Reese’s 29th career double-double helped the Tigers get out to an early lead and not look back. She added 15 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists.

Hawai’i struggled from the floor, shooting just 30.8% in the loss. The Rainbow Warriors could not take advantage of LSU making just one of its 14 attempts from 3-point range.

Women’s final: Virginia Tech 58, Chattanooga 33

The Hokies looked every bit of a No. 1 seed in their dominant 25-point win over the Mocs. Virginia Tech never trailed during the game thanks to Georgia Amoore’s 22 points, while Elizabeth Kitley added a double-double (12 points and 14 rebounds).

Both teams were careless with the ball, each registering 15 turnovers. But No. 16 seed Chattanooga wasn’t able to convert. The Mocs shot 28.6% from the field, 4-for-18 from three and only 1-for-5 from the free throw line. Chattanooga was also outrebounded 39-23.

Men’s final: Connecticut 87, Iona 63

The No. 4 Huskies pulled away in the second half for a decisive first-round victory over the 13-seeded Gaels.

The Rick Pitino-coached mid major fell short after a second-half surge from UConn. Huskies forward Adama Sanogo registered a double-double, leading all scorers with 28 points and adding 13 rebounds to go along with a block.

Despite Iona connecting on 7 of 16 attempts from 3-point range (43.8%), the Gaels were out-rebounded 45-29 and couldn’t keep pace with the Huskies down the stretch.

The game was also briefly delayed late in the second half after one of the nets ripped off its mooring.

Women’s final: Iowa 95, SE Louisiana 43

Caitlin Clark continues to make a case for Player of the Year.

The Iowa star needed just three quarters to record the 41st double-double of her career, and finished three rebounds shy of what would have been her first triple-double in the NCAA tournament. With the outcome against 15th-seeded Southeast Louisiana never in doubt, Clark didn’t play the last 7:36 of the game.

She finished with 26 points, 12 assists and seven boards in the 95-43 rout.

The second-seeded Hawkeyes now play 10th-seeded Georgia, an upset winner over Florida State earlier Friday

— Nancy Armour

Men’s final: Pittsburgh 59, Iowa State 41

For the 11th time in 12 years, a First Four team is dancing into the second round. And according to coach Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel, they’re not ready for the music to stop anytime soon.

The No. 11 seed Panthers opened their first-round matchup against Iowa State on a 20-2 run and didn’t let up. The Panthers earned a 18-point victory over the Cyclones, knocking out the No. 6 seed. Jamarius Burton, Nelly Cummings and Greg Elliott combined for 34 of the team’s 59 points.

Pittsburgh held Iowa State to 23% (23!) shooting from the field, blitzing the Cyclones to set up a second-round game with 3rd-seeded Xavier (which is coached by former Pitt standout Sean Miller, no less). The Panthers are just three days removed from hanging on to beat Mississippi State 60-59 in the tournament’s play-in round.

It’s safe to say no one saw this run coming from Pitt, given how weak the ACC has been all year — no one except the Panthers, anyway.

“We’re hungry,” said senior guard Cummings, who led all scorers with 13 points, while also handing out 3 assists. “We’ve been doubted all year long. When we get to this stage, we’re happy to prove people wrong.”

Iowa State couldn’t get its offense going, shooting just 2 of 21 from the three-point line. The Cyclones didn’t help themselves at the free throw line either, going 11 of 19.

The NCAA said Iowa State questioned if the rims were level prior to tip off. “Building personnel checked it and made a minor adjustment prior to the game beginning. We offered them additional warmup time but they declined,” NCAA said in a statement to The Athletic.

— Lindsay Schnell and Cydney Henderson

Men’s final: Creighton 72, N.C. State 63

No. 6 Creighton pulled ahead late thanks to a second-half emergence by Baylor Scheierman, who drained multiple 3-point shots in the final minutes.

Ryan Kalkbrenner led the Bluejays with a 31-point performance. Ryan Nembhard, Arthur Kaluma and Scheierman chipped in with 10 points apiece.

Despite a torrid effort from N.C. State’s Terquavion Smith (32 points), the No. 11 Wolfpack shot just 37.5% from the field and couldn’t take advantage of Creighton’s streaky 3-point shooting.

Women’s final: Notre Dame 82, Southern Utah 56

The No. 3 Fighting Irish took care of business in the first round.

Maddy Westbeld led all scorers with 20 points for Notre Dame while teammate Lauren Ebo registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Megan Jensen was the lone player for 14-seeded Southern Utah to finish in double figures, scoring 11 points. The team shot just 35.7% from the field.

Women’s final: Michigan 71, UNLV 59

The No. 6 seed Wolverines cruised to a 12-point win over the No. 11 seed Lady Rebels on Friday. Michigan outperformed UNLV in all areas, shooting 44.1% from the field and 40.0% from three. The Wolverines outrebounded the Lady Rebels 41-31 and made it to the free throw line nine more times.

Emily Kiser and Maddie Nolan each scored 18 points, while Leigha Brown added 17 points. Laila Phelia finished two points short of a double-double (eight points, 11 rebounds, one steal.)

Essence Booker led UNLV with 16 points, while Justice Ethridge and Desi-Rae Young each finished with 11 points.

Men’s final: Marquette 78, Vermont 61

The 15-seeded Catamounts kept it close for most of the game, but No. 2 Marquette found its rhythm eventually and rolled to a first-round victory.

Kam Jones was a force for the Golden Eagles, tallying 19 points and connecting on 3 of 4 shots from beyond the arc. Marquette went 10-for-20 (50%) from 3-point range.

The Catamounts got their fair share of 3-pointers (8 of 25, 32%), but the Golden Eagles were too much for the America East champions in the round of 64.

Women’s final: Maryland 93, Holy Cross 61

The No. 2 Terrapins had five scorers finish in double digits in a first-round blowout of the 15-seeded Crusaders.

Maryland’s Brinae Alexander led all scorers with 18 points, while teammates Abby Meyers chipped in 16 and Diamond Miller and Shyanne Sellers finished with 13 points apiece.

The basket looked like a hula hoop for the Terrapins. They were 9 of 19 (47.4%) from 3-point range and shot 52.2% overall from the field.

Women’s final: South Carolina 72, Norfolk State 40

It was a dominant performance by the defending national champions.

Star forward Aliyah Boston was relatively quiet — tallying just seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks — but the No. 1 Gamecocks received plenty of scoring to roll in their first-round matchup. Zia Cooke and Laeticia Amihere paced South Carolina with 11 points apiece.

Meanwhile, No. 16 Norfolk State struggled to make shots. They were just 16 of 61 (26.2%) from the field. South Carolina won the rebound battle 49-33.

Watch: Tom Izzo snaps whiteboard in half

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo took his frustrations out on a whiteboard in the Spartans’ 72-62 first-round win over USC on Friday. He easily snapped the whiteboard in two while walking into a team huddle after a heated conversation with a referee.

Men’s final: Saint Mary’s 63, VCU 51

The No. 5 Gaels pulled away after star VCU guard Adrian Baldwin Jr. injured his ankle in the second half.

Mitchell Saxen and Alex Ducas paced Saint Mary’s with 17 points apiece. Despite the injury, Baldwin Jr. led the 12-seeded Rams with 13 points.

Saint Mary’s prevailed despite struggling to connect from 3-point range. The Gaels were just 3 of 17 (17.6%) from beyond the arc. Conversely, VCU went 35.7% on 3-point attempts in the loss. The Gaels won the rebound battle 37-29.

Women’s final: Georgia 66, Florida State 54

Diamond Battles had 21 points to lead the Bulldogs to an upset victory over Florida State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Georgia, the No. 10 seed in the Seattle 4 Region, took control with a dominant second quarter and kept the pressure on the Seminoles, who compounded their problems with poor shooting and costly turnovers.

Florida State, who played the game without leading scorer Ta’Niya Latson who sat out with an undisclosed injury, was led by Erin Howard’s 19 points and nine rebounds, with Taylor O’Brien chipping in 15, but each player shot 6-16 from the field.

The Seminoles shot 27 percent for the game and were outrebounded by 10. Georgia moves on and will play the winner of host and No. 2 seed Iowa and No. 15 SE Louisiana.

Men’s final: Baylor 74, UC Santa Barbara 56

Adam Flagler scored 18 points for Baylor and LJ Cryer added 15 as the Bears blitzed UC Santa Barbara in the second half to come away with a 74-56 victory.

Caleb Lohner had 13 points off the bench for Baylor, and the Gauchos were held to just 18 points in the second half after leading 36-35 at halftime. Baylor hit 55 percent of its shots and forced 14 turnovers.

UC Santa Barbara was led by Miles Norris, who scored 15 points.

Men’s final: Xavier 72, Kennesaw State 67

Colby Jones’ free throw with 18.3 left gave Xavier the lead and Jack Nunge had a last-second block to secure the win as the Musketeers erased a 13-point second-half deficit and held off the upset bid by 14-seed Kennesaw State, which was making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Jerome Hunter scored 24 points and Nunge had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Xavier, which went 2-12 from 3-point range. Xavier stormed back with a 15–0 run to take the lead with 4:47 left as Kennesaw State went more than seven minutes without making a field goal, missing 11 shots in a row.

Brandon Stroud’s two free throws tied the score at 63 and Demond Robinson’s jumper gave the Owls a 65-64 lead with 2:04 left, but Kennesaw State scored only six points over the final 10 minutes of the game.

The Musketeers move on to take on the winner of Iowa State and Pittsburgh.

Women’s final: Arizona 75, West Virginia 62

Despite entering the tournament on a three-game losing streak, the Wildcats came out refreshed on hot from the field. Arizona built an 11-point lead in the first quarter and staved off a third-quarter rally before pulling away again.

Senior forward Cate Reese led Arizona with 25 points, six rebounds and two blocks, while senior forward Esmery Martinez — who played three seasons at West Virginia before transferring to Arizona — chipped in a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, with two blocks.

Women’s final: USF 67, Marquette 65, OT

We got free basketball for the first time in this year’s March Madness when Marquette and South Florida went to overtime in the opening game of the women’s tournament.

The Bulls rallied from 11 down late in the third quarter, taking the lead on Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu’s three-point play with 1:21 left in regulation. A 3-pointer by Elena Tsineke gave South Florida a four-point lead, but Marquette’s Jordan King and Mackenzie Hare each made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 59 and force OT.

Chloe Marotta, who led Marquette with 25 points Friday, fouled out with 2:56 left in overtime. The teams traded 1-point leads until seven seconds left, when Fankam Mendjiadeu made a free throw to put South Florida up 67-65.

Marquette’s 3-point attempt was off target. The Golden Eagles grabbed the rebound but couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

— Nancy Armour

Men’s final: Michigan State 72, USC 62

Joey Hauser scored 17 points as Michigan State held off the cold-shooting Trojans 72-62 to advance in the East Region. The Spartans will next take on the winner of Marquette and Vermont in the second round.

The score was tied at 34 after the first 20 minutes, but Michigan State started to take control with a 13-2 run capped off by a Jaden Akins three-pointer with 4:24 left.   Akins and Tyson Walker scored 12 each and A.J. Hoggard had 11 points for the Spartans.

USC shot 40% for the game and was led by Joshua Morgan, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half, with Kobe Johnson adding 13. Boogie Ellis, the team’s leading scorer, finished 3-12 for six points, adding six rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the final minute.

No. 14 Kennesaw State looking for upset bid, leads Xavier at half

Terrell Burden leads a balanced scoring effort for Kennesaw State with 10 points as the Owls look for the upset and leads Xavier, the No. 3 seed, 43-36 in the Midwest Region’s first round. Chris Youngblood and Spencer Rodgers paced Kennesaw with eight points each.

Jerome Hunter leads Xavier with 13 points, as the Musketeers hit 1 from 7 from three-point range and did not have an offensive rebound in the first half.

Michigan State and USC tied at half

Joey Hauser scored eight points, and Jaden Akins and Tyson Walker each had six points as Michigan State and USC are tied at 34 in the first-round matchup in the East Region. The Spartans led for all of the first half, except for 1:31 when the Trojans used a 13-2 run to take a lead late in the first 20 minutes after trailing by nine.

Joshua Morgan, who averages only 6.7 points a game, scored 10 points to lead the Trojans. The team’s leading scorer, Boogie Ellis went 1-6 for two points but has four rebounds and four assists.

Women’s first round gets underway

The women’s field of 64 was polished off Thursday night with No. 11 St. John’s and No. 16 Tennessee Tech joining No. 11 Mississippi State and No. 16 Sacred Heart as First Four winners.

Friday’s first round kicks off with a Greenville 1 Region matchup between No. 8 South Florida and No. 9 Marquette. The Bulls are led by Elena Tsineke, who averaged 18 points per game and shot 37.3% from 3-point, and Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, who averaged 16.7 points and 12.3 rebounds. The Golden Eagles rely more on sound defense to grind out wins. Guard Jordan King leads Marquette with 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 steals.

Best first-round picks in women’s bracket

Deciding on first-round picks is an arduous task. It is important to take into account seed positioning and game matchups. For example, a team with a favorable first-round matchup that has the potential of facing a higher seed in one of the next few rounds could be a smart pick. Why? Because an unfavorable future matchup would result in that team being less tempting to select again.

Here are five intriguing picks for first-round consideration in the women’s tournament, taking into account matchups and bracket positioning.

  • No. 3 Duke over No. 14 Iona

  • No. 6 Colorado over No. 11 Middle Tennessee

  • No. 3 Ohio State over No. 14 James Madison

  • No. 8 USC over No. 9 South Dakota State

  • No. 5 Oklahoma over No. 12 Portland

— Richard Morin

Winners and losers from Thursday’s action

This is what we want on the first day of Madness: Brackets breaking all over the country and double-digit seeds shocking everyone (except themselves, at least if you’re Princeton).

But other top seeds looked dominant — which is what they’re supposed to look like, especially in their first-round games. All of it is coming together to provide an intriguing second round. But first, we’ve got one more whole day of first-round games, which may provide even more chaos.

— Lindsay Schnell

Ranking Friday’s men’s games

Curiously, the second day of March Madness features all four of the No. 3 seeds in action, and by extension all of the often compelling No. 6 vs. No. 11 matchups. That’s the area of the bracket where first- and second-round chaos often occurs.

Here’s the list of Friday’s games ranked by how watchable we think they’ll be. But again, keep that remote handy in case unexpected situations develop.

  1. No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Providence

  2. No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic

  3. No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth

  4. No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona State

  5. No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Southern California

— Eddie Timanus

Houston ruins title hopes by playing Marcus Sasser before he was ready

That backfired in spectacular fashion.

Just five days after Marcus Sasser strained his groin in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals, he was back in the Cougars’ starting lineup Thursday night. For a first-round game against a No. 16 team.

In a surprise to pretty much no one, Sasser didn’t even make it to halftime. Now top-seeded Houston might not make it to the second weekend, let alone to the Final Four in its hometown.

— Nancy Armour

Alabama’s biggest opponent may be exhaustion from unending chaos

The athletics director issued a statement at halftime. The most scrutinized 20-year-old in basketball couldn’t make a shot before eventually going to the bench to rest a sore groin. The walk-on nobody had heard of before Wednesday night threatened to sue the New York Times. And the coach is losing his mind on every dribble for two straight hours of a game he didn’t come close to losing.

In other words, it was just another day in Alabama basketball.

— Dan Wolken

What’s a Paladin?

Princeton might have pulled off the biggest upset Thursday, but 13-seeded Furman’s downing of No. 4 Virginia was a fun (unless you’re a Cavaliers fan, of course) start to the 2023 men’s NCAA Tournament.

It’s been a long wait for Paladins men’s basketball fans. It was more than 40 years since Furman was last in the tournament, and over 45 years since its last March Madness win.

— Jordan Mendoza

How to watch NCAA Tournament first-round games

Whether it’s at home, at a bar or at work, millions of Americans will be tuning in to watch teams make or break their bracket.

CBS and Turner Sports have the broadcasting rights to the men’s NCAA Tournament and broadcast games on four channels. Three of them – CBS, TNT and TBS – you may know from broadcasting dozens of other sporting events each year, but the remaining channel, truTV, is one that always eludes basketball fans each year.

Here’s where to find TruTV, depending on your cable provider or streaming service, and what games will be on the network:

What channel is truTV?

TruTV can be found on several cable providers, and has the same channel number nationwide on some of the providers. Here are the channels:

For streaming, truTV is also available on: YouTube TV, iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Android TV.

Which March Madness games will be on truTV?

Four games will be broadcast Friday on truTV during the first rounds of March Madness. Here are the games that will be on truTV, as well as tip-off times (in ET):

► No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Kennesaw State (Friday, 12:40 p.m.)

► No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (Friday, 3:10 p.m.)

► No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon (Friday, 7:35 p.m.)

► No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Nevada/No. 11 Arizona State (Friday, 10:05 p.m.)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: March Madness live bracket updates: Pitt routs Iowa State; Xavier wins

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