March Madness Top Moments: NCAA Tournament tips off with First Four drama
When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, the First Four can be just as nail-biting as the Final Four.
That was certainly the case this time around.
The Tigers now get a chance to play the East Region's 1-seed, the Michigan Wolverines.
After building a 16-point halftime lead, the Spartans held off a furious comeback from the Mountaineers to win 54-53. They will advance to play the top overall seed, the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
UCLA trailed by 11 points at halftime but stormed back in the second half to force overtime and win 86-80.
The Bruins will advance to play the sixth-seeded BYU Cougars.
Here are all the top moments from Thursday's First Four:
In case you were clamoring for Charles Barkley's Final Four picks, here they are.
THE TOURNAMENT HAS STARTED
Has a tipoff ever been this exciting?
Turning defense into offense
Mount St. Mary's started the tournament with a bang.
Just in time
It was all Mount St. Mary's in the first half, capped by a buzzer-beating floater from point guard Damian Chong Qui as time expired before halftime.
Texas Southern responds
A 10-point halftime deficit? No problem for the Tigers.
Texas Southern opened the half with an 11-0 run to take the lead.
Bringing down the hammer
It was a monster second half for the Tigers, punctuated by a monster putback dunk from forward Karl Nichols.
Drake guard Joseph Yesufu scored seven points in the first half against Wichita State, and none were louder than this huge transition dunk.
Wichita State guard Dexter Dennis took the elevator to the top floor for this rim-rattling dunk against Drake.
The Jalen Hawkins show
The Norfolk State guard came off the bench to score 20 points in the first half against Appalachian State, including this nifty and-1 bucket.
His 20 points single-handedly matched the entire point total from the Mountaineers in the first half.
A huge first half from Norfolk State
It was all Spartans in the first half against the Mountaineers, with Norfolk State taking a 16-point lead into the break.
On the comeback trail ...
The Mountaineers put together a fierce rally to take the lead, including this long-range bomb.
Norfolk State avoided disaster and held on to defeat Appalachian State, getting a last-second stop to secure the victory.
Michigan State forward Marcus Bingham Jr. imposed his will on defense with three blocks, none more emphatic than this one.
Things get heated
And it was between the Spartans themselves.
Back and forth
There was no backing down between the Spartans and the Bruins, with UCLA retaking the lead on this tough finish from Jules Bernard.
Headed to overtime
An and-1 from UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez tied the game for the Bruins, which led to free basketball between UCLA and Michigan State.
The Bruins triumph
The Spartans offered little resistance in overtime.