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March Madness: Notre Dame escapes and more

March Madness got off to a wild start. In the first ending of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had to hold off the No. 12 seed Princeton Tigers, winning by a single point. It was the typical 5-12 game in the tourney, with the big dog having the lead for much of the day, only to be pushed to the brink in the final moments.

For Notre Dame, it was bailed out by a bad final possession by the Tigers, with the Ivy League champions settling for a long three-pointer instead of driving to the tin. Regardless, the Fighting Irish were able to survive, and now take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second round.

The other big story of the day was the Northwestern Wildcats getting their first March Madness win in the history of the program. It only took 78 years for Northwestern to get into the fold, and the contest against the Vanderbilt Commodores didn’t disappoint. However, the game dd end in gut-wrenching fashion for one party.

After taking a one-point lead with 15 seconds left, Vanderbilt dropped back to play defense. Unfortunately, Matthew Fisher-Davis, the Commodore’s best player throughout the afternoon, thought his team was trailing. In the heat of the moment, he committed the personal foul intentionally with Vanderbilt over the limit. The error ended up being the difference. Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh went to the free throw line and calmly knocked down both freebies, before the Wildcats made the final defensive stand for the victory.

Northwestern now advances to take on the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, while the Commodores head back to campus wondering what the heck happened.

In the night games, things were a bit more settled down. The Arizona Wildcats and Villanova Wildcats were both huge favorites as No.2 and 1 seeds, respectively, and both rolled down the stretch after tough first halves. Villanova now moves on to play the Wisconsin Badgers, while Arizona draws a very dangerous St. Mary’s Gaels squad.

The Xavier Musketeers were able to pull off a mini upset, taking down the sixth-seeded Maryland Terrapins. Xavier will now play the Florida State Seminoles, who were able to bounce the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. Xavier has been a streaky team throughout the year, but after winning a pair of games in the Big East tourney and then beating Melo Trimble and Maryland, it has a real chance at a Sweet 16 berth.

The action will kick off once more on Friday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. ET with the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines and No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys. Look for that contest to be one of the highest-scoring of the day.

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