March Madness Roundup: Duke dominates as Arizona and more start off with big wins
Greenville, South Carolina - The Duke Blue Devils have started off on the right foot, opening their quest for a national championship with a convincing 78-61 win over the Cal State Fullerton Titans.
The Blue Devils entered their NCAA Tournament first-round matchup on Friday night looking to shake off last weekend’s upset loss in the ACC Conference title game to the Hokies.
And from the opening tip in this game, Duke played consistently right from the start to build a comfortable lead throughout the first half.
Blue Devils freshman forward Paolo Banchero (19) led the offensive attack, shooting 7-for-14 from the field for a game-high 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.
He and four fellow starters were all playing in their first NCAA tournament game ever, and all scored in double-figures.
Because of Duke’s dominant play on the court, the Titans were always champing at the bit from behind, and didn't hold a lead at any point in the game. They did manage to put more points on the board in the second half than they did in the first, but the Blue Devils were simply the better basketball team, outscoring their opponents in both halves.
Duke has an upcoming second-round matchup with the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday.
Bouncing around the brackets
The Arizona Wildcats, the top seed in the South Region, got an easy win in their first-round game, beating the Wright State Raiders 87-70. Junior center Christian Koloko was the high man for the Wildcats, scoring 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Iowa State Cyclones just barely slipped past the LSU Tigers 59-54, while the Illinois Fighting Illini also won a close one, beating the Chattanooga Mocs 54-53.
And the Colgate Raiders came up short against the Wisconsin Badgers 67-60 in a tough loss.
The TCU Horned Frogs knocked off the Seton Hall Pirates 69-42, while the Michigan State Spartans just managed to win over the Davidson Wildcats 74-73.
And the Houston Cougars were too much for the UAB Blazers, advancing with an 82-68 win.
Second-round action featuring the winners of these matchups in the men’s tournament tips off on Sunday, March 20.
Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire