SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay Schnell and Scott Gleeson look at all four regions to determine the story lines that fans should follow during March Madness.

March Madness is well underway with 16 games Thursday … and another 16 Friday.

All 16 Thursday games will be recapped here as they happen.

Loyola-Chicago is this year’s first Cinderella

Loyola-Chcago is in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 33 years, and the Ramblers want to stick around awhile.

Loyola, the No. 11 seed in the South, delivered the first upset of the 2018 NCAA tournament with a 64-62 victory — on a three-pointer from Donte Ingram with .03 on the clock — against Miami (Fla.) in Dallas.

The Ramblers won the Missouri Valley Tournament to reach the NCAAs for the first time since losing to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the Sweet 16 in 1985. 

They have won 11 in a row and face Tennessee next.

Perhaps we should get used to 11 seeds over 6 seeds: It has happened 14 years in a row.

Gonzaga narrowly escapes: Tournament darling Gonzaga, formerly a perennial Cinderella and this year a dark-horse Final Four pick, is still playing. But barely. 

No. 13 seed UNC-Greensboro rallied from a double-digits deficit to lead late in Boise, but Gonzaga held on with a key three to win 68-64 and advance to the Round of 32.

READ ALSO  Hyperloop cofounder Pishevar takes leaves after harassment allegations

The Zags lost to North Carolina the title game last year.

BRACKET: Stay up to date with Round 1

Ohio State moves on: The Buckeyes,t he No. 5 seed in the West, held off a second-half charge to beat South Dakota State 81-73 in Boise. Three Buckeyes surpassed 20 points, led by Ketia Bates-Diop’s 24. Mike Daum had 27 for the Jackrabbits.

Duke rolls: The Blue Devils, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, had no trouble with Iona, rolling to a 89-67 win in Pittsburgh.

Kansas moves on: It is now 133-for-133 for No. 1 seeds since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. No. 16 seed Penn put up a fight, but Kansas, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, pulled away in the second half to win 76-60 in Wichita.

Rhode Island KOs Oklahoma: No. 7 seed Rhode Island ended the season, and perhaps the college career, for Oklahoma freshman star Trae Young. The Rams (26-7) knocked off the No. 10 seeded-Sooners (18-14) 83-78 in overtime in a first-round game in Pittsburgh. E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island with 16 points.

Young, who led the nation in scoring and assists, heated up late with 13 points in a row to push the game to overtime and finished with 28. But it wasn’t enough.

Tennessee cruises: The Vols had no trouble with Wright State, cruising to a 73-47 victory in Dallas. The Vols are in the tournament for the first time since 2004. Tennessee got 19 points from Lamonte Turner.


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

READ ALSO  8 ways to avoid (or treat) a New Year’s hangover