1. At last, an upset. Dayton prevented higher seeds from enjoying a 16-0 day for the first time in NCAA tournament history. The 11th-seeded Flyers pulled away from sixth-seeded Providence for a 66-53 victory in the final game of the opening round. Fittingly for a day dominated by favorites, Dayton wasn't really even much of an underdog. The Flyers were massively underseeded at No. 11, were one year removed from an Elite Eight run and were playing a short drive from their campus in Columbus. The most impressive part of Dayton's win was that it looked like the fresher team even though it was playing its fifth game in a week. Dyshawn Pierre had 20 points for Dayton while LaDontae Henton suffered through a 7-for-26 night.
2. There's one silver lining to the lack of upsets Friday's opening-round slate produced: It should make for a scintillating Sunday with one marquee matchup after another. Wichita State will get the showdown it has long craved against Kansas in the Midwest Regional. Virginia and Michigan State will meet in the East in a rematch of a Sweet 16 game from last year. Gonzaga will try to advance to its first Sweet 16 in six years against an Iowa team that posted perhaps Friday's most impressive win.
3. A few late-game blunders from UC Irvine proved to be the difference between a massive upset and a heartbreaking defeat. The Anteaters committed a foolish foul that allowed Louisville to take the lead at the free throw line and then failed to get a shot off on the game's final possession. When Luke Nelson missed a long jump shot, Will Davis II crashed into Quentin Snider trying to chase down the rebound in the corner. UC Irvine had a chance to tie or win even after Snider's two foul shots, but the Anteaters made a poor choice inbounding the ball into the backcourt and Terry Rozier made them pay with a game-clinching steal.
4. Stuck on the bench for almost the entirety of Maryland's NCAA tournament opener against Valparaiso, former walk-on Varun Ram entered the game as a defensive substitution with only 13 seconds remaining. That was all the 5-foot-9 guard needed to reward his coach's trust and leave a legacy at his school. Ram foiled Valparaiso's final possession by stripping the ball from Valparaiso guard Alec Peters before he could try a potential game-tying shot. That swipe preserved Maryland's 65-62 victory and ensured a place in Terps lore for a kid who had only played 55 total minutes this year.
5. For only the third time since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams, all four No. 8 seeds advanced to the round of 32. Oregon and San Diego State joined NC State and Cincinnati as opening-round winners by defeating Oklahoma State and St. John's. The Ducks won behind 27 points from Pac-12 player of the year Joseph Young and some big late shots from Elgin Cook and Dillon Brooks. The Aztecs won behind the 3-point shooting of Dwayne Polee and Matt Shrigley and the interior scoring of J.J. O'Brien.
Wyoming's Derek Cooke Jr. would have had the dunk of the opening round except for one small problem: It didn't count. Referees whistled him for a charge on this powerful slam in the opening seconds of the Cowboys' loss to Northern Iowa.
"We look like the greatest offensive team San Diego State has ever had."
— San Diego State coach Steve Fisher after the typically cold-shooting Aztecs lit up St. John's for 40 points and seven threes in the first half.
Maybe they should have tried the play Homer Drew was drawing up on that napkin in the stands. pic.twitter.com/VkqSTGmzFT— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) March 20, 2015
Maryland players swarmed walk-on Varun Ram on Friday after his steal in the closing seconds preserved the Terps' victory over Valparaiso.