March Madness started off with a bang! There was the inevitable 12 seed over a 5 seed upset and 1 seed cruising past 16 seeds. This list will compile intriguing performances on the first day of the madness. Sorry dominant performances like Kentucky’s over Abilene Christian University aren’t here.
Anthony Lamb Vermont
Lamb threw bombs over Florida State’s best defenders throughout the first half. Players like Lamb are why coaches don’t allow their best plays to guard leading scorers.
He spent the day drawing fouls just by fighting to get open. Lamb shook Florida State on the boards with 2 crucial blocks. His performance tailored off as the second half began but prior to FSU’s defense coming to life, he looked ready to make a name for himself.
LSU’s Dynamic Duo
Tremont Waters hosted a game of twister against Yale. His ball handling and passing looked next level as he created for himself and others. He struggled from the field but flashed pro moves like the step back he used to make his only three. He orchestrated pick and rolls with one of the most skilled big men in the country.
Tremont Waters is NOT nice! pic.twitter.com/11yecKkVB1
— Allen Pettigrew (@AP_Writess) March 21, 2019
What’s better than a 6’10” 250 behemoth? A 6’10” 250 behemoth with guard skills. Naz Reid does it all. Need him to run through an opposing big man’s chest or take the ball coast to coast he’ll do it. All while having the coolest head of hair on the court.
Bradley, a 15 seed, displayed the most balanced offensive attack from the first day of competition. Bradley held no fear on their heart as they banged with Michigan St. and rained on them from beyond the arc. If you expected this to be an easy win for the Spartans you’d be so wrong.
Though Bradley would eventually succumb to Michigan St. they got the score of the tournament. Bradley shot 42% from the line and if MSU didn’t shoot 96% from the line, we’d have Cinderella we love so much.
Murray State’s Backcourt
In the first half of their game against Marquette, Murray State guards could do no wrong. College basketball sensation Ja Morant leads the racers with a near double-double collecting 10 points and 8 assist to go along with 4 turnovers. Tevin Brown went 4-4 from the three-point line. The next highest scorer, Shaq Buchanan also chipped in 6 points while playing defense on the tournament’s most prolific scorer.
Then the second half took place, and the nation gets its first view of the Ja show. Not only did he double his assist total before the half was over but he posterized some poor defender on Marquette. Oh ya, he has also messed around and had a triple-double the first time that’s happened since Draymond Green in 2012.
Florida State’s Free throws
Florida State knocked down 22 free throws in the second half alone. FSU shot 74% from the free throw shooting yet they treated this game like practice going 31/37 from the stripe. All but one FSU starter made it to the line on Thursday but the bench shot more than enough for him.
Fletcher Magee Wofford
March showers bring madness flowers and Fletcher Magee is Rainman. Magee was en route to taking sole possession of the all-time NCAA record for made threes and with this three he did it. Magee finished the night with 26 points. He earned another day to dance and immortalized himself all on the same day.
KING OF THE THREE.
Wofford's Fletcher Magee breaks the record for most career threes in Division I History. pic.twitter.com/cqfByJuTjr
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 22, 2019
Syracuse and Baylor’s three-point shooting
This game boasted two teams that shoot below 35% from three. Syracuse shot 31% and Baylor 34% according to ESPN but March really brings out the shooters. Both teams shot at least 50% from beyond late into the second half.
In fact, Baylor ended the game shooting 54% from the field, 47% from three, and 67% from the line. Syracuse has similar splits .410/.410/.830. The two teams combined for 28 three-pointers the most ever poured in a non-overtime game.