The 2011 NCAA Tournament had its real start on Thursday when the field of 64 began play, and there was plenty of excitement to go around. The upset of the day was No. 13 Morehead State defeating No. 4 Louisville, 62-61. But No. 12 Richmond sent No. 5 Vanderbilt home with a three-point victory, 69-66. And No. 11 Gonzaga was clearly the better team in their 86-71 victory over St. John's.
Higher seeds that survived scares include No. 8 Butler with a game-winning tip-in over No. 9 Old Dominion, 60-58. No. 7 Temple's Juan Fernandez made a desperation shot as time expired to lead the Owls 66-64 over No. 10 Penn St. The No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats almost joined Louisville in the "lost to a No. 13 seed" category, but freshman Brandon Knight made his first bucket of the game to give the Wildcats a 59-57 victory. No. 7 UCLA coughed up a 23-point second half lead to No. 10 Michigan St., but stayed in the lead and finished with a 78-76 lead.
San Diego St., a No. 2 seed, picked up their first NCAA Tournament win after dropping their first six. They defeated the Northern Colorado Bears, 68-50, who played a tough first half but depended too much on Devon Beitzel. Outside of him, there was no real other scoring option.
Pitt, Florida, BYU, UConn, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Cincinnati all advanced to the third round. Will Friday's games be as exciting?