March Madness Thursday recap: Watch out for the 11 seeds — and Jack Kohlke

The first day of the NCAA Men's Tournament is in the books, and the brackets are already largely cracked.

Thursday marked the start of a spirited, upset-filled contest. The trio of 11th seeds and Jack Kohlke ensured that a 99.9% correct bracket was toast before the late games were over. If you're in the 0.1%, congratulations. Go buy a lottery ticket.

For the rest of us, let's sit back and enjoy what was already an entertaining NCAA tournament.

11 Beware of seeds

While Oakland stole the show with an upset of Kentucky, Duquesne and Oregon got the party started.

No. 6 In the opening slate of games against BYU, No. 11 Duquesne pointed things out. The Cougars turned on their heels from the start. The Dukes opened the scoring with a 3-pointer en route to a 9-0 lead. They took a 38-30 edge into halftime, which they extended to 46-32 three minutes into the second half.

Jimmy Clark III and Duquesne still dance.  (Photos by Brendall O'Banon/NCAA via Getty Images)

Jimmy Clark III and Duquesne still dance. (Photos by Brendall O'Banon/NCAA via Getty Images)

The Cougars battled back to tie the game at 60. But the Dukes would not be denied as they outscored the Cougars 11-7 to pull off a 71-67 upset. Duquesne's two-game winning streak.

Oregon continues to suffer upsets

Then came Oregon, and a lot of people — including those in Las Vegas — saw it coming. Despite playing as the 11th seed against sixth seed South Carolina, Oregon entered the game as a 2.5 point favorite.

Ducks exceeded expectations. Oregon opened up a 34-29 halftime lead that was cut to five from beyond halfcourt by a miraculous Talon Cooper 3-pointer that beat the hustle in the first half. Oregon wasn't fazed.

Led by former Gamecock Jermaine Quisnard, Oregon led the way in the second half to an 87-73 victory.

Goissard played three seasons for South Carolina before joining Oregon last season, which was amid a coaching change that saw Gamecox fire Frank Martin in favor of Lamont Paris. He previously told The Oregonian The lack of communication from Paris played a role in his decision to enter the transfer portal.

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That streak eventually came to bite the Gamecocks in a big way on Thursday, as Goissard scored a career-high and Oregon NCAA Tournament record 40 points to send his former team to Columbia without a tournament win. He was on fire on 14-of-22 from the field while hitting 5 of 9 3-point attempts.

NC State is following suit

NC State kept the streak alive Thursday night.

The Wolfpack, after a dominant run in the ACC Tournament last week, held No. 6 Texas Tech at arm's length in the opener in Pittsburgh. They won 80-67 and advanced to the second round of the tournament for the first time since 2015, the same year they upset No. 1 Villanova.

NC State took a slight lead into halftime before finally going on a 13-2 run in the second half. From there, the Wolfpack cruised to a 13-point victory — which set up a matchup with Oakland on Saturday. Ben Middlebrooks led the Wolfpack with 21 points, and senior DJ Burns Jr. added 16 points while shooting 11-of-17 from the field.

NC State has now won six straight games, including five in the ACC tournament.

11-6 matches the new 12-5?

Thursday marks the fourth consecutive tournament in which at least one 11th seed has advanced. Three of those matches are multiple no. 11 have won the seed and advanced deep in many tournaments.

Last year, the no. 11 Pittsburgh beat No. 6 Iowa State and lost to No. 3 Xavier in the second round. In 2022, three no. 11 seeds advanced. Iowa State is en route to the Sweet 16 at No. 6 LSU and then beat No. 3 Wisconsin. Michigan is ranked in the Sweet 16 at No. 6 Colorado State and wins against No. 3 Tennessee. Notre Dame defeated No. 6 Alabama and lost to No. 3 Texas Tech in the second round.

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But 2021 is the most successful number of all time. Bringing us one of the 11 seeds. UCLA 6th BYU, No. 14 Abilene Christian, No. 2 Alabama and No. 1 Michigan en route to the Final Four. There it lost to Gonzaga in an all-time thriller in the national semifinals.

Now we have Duquesne, Oregon and NC State. New Mexico will be the last 11th seed to play in its NCAA Tournament opener. It was a 2.5-point favorite over Clemson on Friday. Any bound for a deep run like the Sweet 16 or 2021 UCLA?

Jake Kohlke torched Kentucky, cracking most of the bracket

Jack Kolke is the next big NCAA tournament star.

Thursday night no. 3 Kentucky and Kohlke had a big loss against No. 14 Oakland. Kohlke hit 10 3-pointers and scored 32 points. Of course, new calls for head coach John Calipari's job.

Gohlke is 3-pointers shy of tying the all-time single-game hitting streak set by LMU's Jeff Pryor in 1990. Kohlke made seven of his 10 3-pointers in the first half and then helped push it. The Golden Grizzlies came out on top in the second half.

Although she has turned a lot of heads with her performance, it's not surprising. All but eight of the guard's field goal attempts during the regular season were behind the arc.

The Grizzlies will face NC State in the second round on Saturday.

As a result of the upset, every remaining valid bracket was broken. More than 95% of Yahoo brackets have picked Kentucky to advance to the second round. So at the time of the upset, only 0.1% of the brackets made by Yahoo Sports were still correct.

Then, at the end of the night, only 116 remained. If that's you, happy Friday. You will need it.

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Marcus Domask leads Illinois with a triple-double

Marcus Tomasz joined an elite group of college basketball players on Thursday afternoon.

Domask became the ninth player in NCAA tournament history to record a triple-double on Thursday while leading No. 3 Illinois to an 85-69 win over No. 14 Morehead State. He scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and capped his triple-double with a 3-pointer late in the second half.

Domask became the first player since Memphis Grizzlies star Za Morant to achieve a triple-double with Murray State in 2019. Only Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has accomplished the feat twice. Michigan's Gary Grant was the first to do so in 1987. Shaquille O'Neal, David Cain, Andre Miller, Dwyane Wade and Cole Aldrich round out the list.

Domask and Illinois advance to the second round to face Duquesne on Saturday.

Kansas moved past Samford after a controversial foul

Kansas led by nearly 22 points late Thursday night.

But thanks to a late burst and a controversial foul call in the final seconds, the Jayhawks move on to the second round.

In Thursday night's first-round match, the no. 4 Kansas beat No. 13 Samford 93-89. Despite leading by nearly 22 points in the second half, a foul call in the final seconds sealed the deal.

Kansas' Nicholas Timberlake caught a pass on a fast break, and Samford's AJ Staton-McRae flew behind and blocked the shot with 14 seconds left. Timberlake made his way down the court and eventually to the free throw line — where he made both of his shots and gave Kansas a three-point lead.

But a closer look at the drama clearly shows that Staton-McRae never touched Timberlake. He got all the balls.

But the call stood because it was made on the court, which ultimately led to Kansas' four-point victory.

So Kansas will now advance to the second round and face No. 5 Gonzaga, which beat McNeese without much trouble in its first-round game on Thursday.

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