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Follow NCAA tournament Thursday games

March Madness is officially here. Wall-to-wall college basketball for the entire day as the 64 teams remaining start the first round.

Follow all of Thursday’s NCAA tournament action here with in-game and post-game analysis on all 16 games, as well as the biggest news of the day. All times Eastern.

No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley (CBS)

3:15 p.m.: The Braves are out to a nice start, leading the Spartans 10-6 in a game Final Four-favored Michigan State is expected to blow out. 15:32 remaining. 

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont (TBS)

2:50 p.m. (halftime): Florida State and Vermont are deadlocked in a 27-27 tie, setting up a second half that could turn into one of the tournament’s first bracket-busters. 

2:28 p.m.: Florida State and Vermont are going back and forth in this see-saw battle and hardly looking like an ACC team vs. an America East team. It’s 17-16 FSU. 8:28 remaining in the first half. 

2:18 p.m.: Vermont’s early lead is starting to fall away, as FSU is clawing back. The Catamounts still lead 16-12 at the second TV timeout of the game. 11:26 remaining in the first half. 

2:10 p.m.: Vermont takes an early 10-4 lead on a Florida State team that many suspect is good enough to reach the Final Four. The Catamounts have a lot of Cinderella ingredients to bust brackets, starting with Anthony Lamb (21.4 pp). 15-minute-mark of the first half. 

No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State (TNT)

3:10 p.m.: New Mexico State’s upset bid is falling out of reach, as Auburn continues to shoot well (nine three-pointers on the day) and play smart (just four turnovers) while making the mid-major Aggies uncomfortable by forcing 13 turnovers. Auburn leads 65-52. 7:54 remaining. 

3:02 p.m.: At the second TV timeout of the second half, New Mexico State trails Auburn 53-45 in a game that’s seeing the Tigers separate themselves with points off turnovers and a pair of three-pointers. 

2:31 p.m. (halftime): Cinderella much? New Mexico State trails Auburn just 32-29 in the first half after starting hot and then being thrown off by the Tigers’ strong play (forcing eight first-half turnovers). Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said the game’s close as a credit to “New Mexico State’s quick guards.” Johnny McCants has contributed 10 points off the bench for the Aggies, as coach Chris Jans uses a deep bench. 

2:06 p.m.: New Mexico State’s Jans said before Thursday’s game he was most concerned with Auburn’s athleticism, and we’re seeing why in the first half as the Tigers lead the Aggies 28-22 largely as a result of a tenaciousness they haven’t seen before. 4:07 left in the first half. 

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1:59 p.m.: Auburn is starting to show why its a dark-horse in this tournament, taking a 25-19 first half lead after trailing early on. 6:22 remaining in the first half. 

1:49 p.m.: New Mexico State is doing its best to become the day’s first Cinderella, leading Auburn 19-17. 10:42 remaining. 

1:36 p.m.: Our third game of the day has tipped off, with the SEC tournament champion Tigers trying to fend off viable Cinderella candidate and 30-win ball club New Mexico State. New Mexico State leads 7-6 early on. 15:47-minute mark of the first half. 

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale 

► FINAL — No. 3 LSU 79, No. 14 Yale 74: The Tigers barely fended off a determined Yale team’s late comeback attempt, with the Bulldogs’ Alex Copeland making things interesting with a barrage of three-pointers. LSU made its free-throws down the stretch, though, and were able to survive to advance to the second round.  Yale was an atrocious 8-for-37 from three-point range, meaning had they been hitting they could’ve been the day’s first Cinderella. 

2:43 p.m.: We’ve got a ball game here in Jacksonville. LSU is up 72-68 and tryin to fend off Yale’s late comeback attempt. 30.9 seconds remaining. 

2:40 p.m.: Yale isn’t going out quietly, making it a 68-62 game with 1:25 remaining. 

2:16 p.m.: Can Yale put together a late run to put on the day’s first glass slipper. The Bulldogs trail 57-49 and are still alive in this thing. 10:08 remaining. 

2:05 p.m.: Yale is making a comeback of sorts, using a 10-2 run to make it 51-41. 15 minutes remaining. 

1:58 p.m.: LSU continues to use its athleticism to force turnovers and keep mid-major Yale out of reach, leading 49-37. 16:20 remaining. 

1:27 p.m. (halftime): LSU is taking care of business, leading 45-29 after a first half that saw Yale shoot just 3-for-17 (18%) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Tigers are scoring in the paint with ease. 

1:17 p.m.: Yale is getting good outside looks, but could build a house with all their bricks. The Bulldogs are just 3-for-13 (23%) from three-point range. Make a couple of those and it’d be a game. Instead LSU leads comfortably 37-25. 3:05 remaining in the first half. 

1:08 p.m.: LSU is keeping Yale at arm’s length, leading 30-21 and countering the Bulldogs’ attempts at a run with strong counter-punches. 7:23 left in the first half. 

1 p.m.: LSU is holding a 19-13 edge at the second TV timeout, as Yale has started to settle in and catch up. 11:54-minute mark of the first half. 

12:53 p.m.: The Tigers lead 13-5 at the first TV timeout.  15-minutes remaining. 

12:48 p.m.: The Tigers jump out to an early 9-0 lead on the Bulldogs. 17:17-minute mark of the first half. 

No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Minnesota

► FINAL — No. 10 Minnesota 86, No. 7 Louisville 76: The Gophers shot just 32 percent from three-point range on the season but broke out in their opening round game, going 11-for-27 (41 percent) from beyond the arc to cruise past a Cardinals team that ended the season losing 8 of 11 games. Coach Richard Pitino was most pleased with the defense, though. “We were really locked in, we disrupted them, we bothered them,” Pitino said after the game. 

Bill Murray rooting against the Gophers made for a funny side story line. Murray’s son is an assistant at Louisville. Caddshack references were aplenty in the color commentary. 

1:57 p.m.: Minnesota is putting those one out of reach, looking poised to advance to the round of 32 with a 64-50 cushion. 7:44 minutes remaining. 

1:39 p.m.: The Gophers lead 53-41 at the second TV timeout of the second half, continuing to shoot well from three-point range with eight triples. 13:16 remaining. 

1:25 p.m.: Minnesota started the second half with an 8-0 run in less than 50 seconds, building a 43-33 lead. 19 minutes remaining. 

1:01 p.m (Halftime): Minnesota leads the first half 38-33. Only averaging five three-pointers a game, the Gophers have already made six. Coach Richard Pitino said in a halftime interview that he feels his team is benefiting from being “patient” but wants to see better defense in the second half. 

12:58 p.m.: Minnesota is clutching to a 33-31 lead as halftime nears. 1:18 remaining in the first half. 

12:50 p.m.: The Gophers lead 25-21 at the last TV timeout of the first half. 3:39 left until halftime. 

12:41 p.m.: The Gophers just took a 21-17 lead following back-to-back three pointers. 6:28 remaining in the first half. 

12:30 p.m.: The Gophers lead the Cardinals 12-11 in a back-and-forth affair here early on in Des Moines. 

12:15 p.m.: And we are off and running. The day’s first game has tipped. It’s a matchup between Minnesota coach Richard Pitino and his father’s former school, Louisville. Both teams are fighting for a likely second-round clash with Michigan State. The Cardinals entered the game trending downward, having lost seven of 10. 

And here’s a rundown of what’s to come: 

► No. 6 Maryland (22-10)  vs. No. 11 Belmont (27-5)

(3:10 p.m ET, truTV — East Region, Jacksonville

No. 4 Kansas (25-9) vs. No. 13 Northeastern (23-10)

(4 p.m. ET, TNT — Midwest Region, Salt Lake City)

No. 5 Marquette (24-9)  vs. No. 12 Murray State (27-4)

(4:30 p.m. ET, TBS — West Region, Hartford)

 

 




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