One Key Number From Every NCAA Tournament First Round Game

No. 4 Virginia Tech def. No. 11 Saint Louis 66-52

12 – That’s how many more free throws Virginia Tech made than Saint Louis in its 14-point win. The Billikens out-rebounded the Hokies 35-37 but Virginia Tech got to the free throw line 27 times to Saint Louis’ 16. The Hokies were 22-of-27, while the Billikens were 10-of-16. Kerry Blackshear was 11-of-12 from the line.

In his return, Justin Robinson had nine points, three bounds and two assists off the bench.


No. 11 Ohio State def. No. 6 Iowa State 62-59

88.3 – That was Iowa State fifth-year senior guard Marial Shayok’s free throw percentage entering Friday, when he missed the front end of a one-and-one with 11 seconds left and the Cyclones trailing by three. Seconds later, his teammate Nick Weiler-Babb missed a game-tying 3-pointer and now the Big 12 Tournament champions go home at the end of the first round following a disappointing showing in the NCAA Tournament.


No. 9 UCF def. No. 8 VCU 73-58

18 – That’s the number of rebounds UCF center Tacko Fall had against VCU, giving him a double-double with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The Rams only managed 29 rebounds as a team, while the Knights had 39, including 31 on the defensive end, which prevented VCU from having many second-chance opportunities during a rough shooting night.


No. 1 North Carolina def. No. 16 Iona 88-73

25 – That’s how many more rebounds North Carolina had compared to Iona. The Tar Heels, who trailed by five at halftime, out-rebounded the Gaels 48-23, including a 17-1 advantage in offensive rebounds. North Carolina offensive rebounding percentage was 42.5 percent and its defensive rebounding percentage was 93.9 percent, so the Tar Heels absolutely dominated the glass on both ends.


No. 12 Liberty def. No. 5 Mississippi State 80-76

30 – That’s the number of points Liberty guard Caleb Homesley scored in the Flames’ first-round upset over the Bulldogs. Mississippi State hadn’t allowed an opposing player to score 30 points in a game since February 16, when Arkansas guard Mason Jones put up 30. Homesley was 10-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-11 on threes, while teammates Lovell Cabbil Jr. (18 points) and Myo Baxter-Bell (13) also reached double figures.


No. 3 Houston def. No. 14 Georgia State 84-55

1 – That’s how many more rebounds Houston would’ve needed to double Georgia State’s rebound total. The Cougars had 47 rebounds (12 offensive, 35 defensive) compared to the Panthers’ 24. Georgia State shot just 30 percent from the field (18-of-60), which means the Panthers missed 42 shots. The Cougars rebounded 35 of those missed shots, giving them an incredible 83 percent defensive rebound rate.

To put it in perspective, Loyola Chicago led the country in defensive rebounding rate this season with an 81.2 percent rate, so Houston’s single-game performance would’ve been by far the best in the country if it was maintained over the course of the entire season.


No. 1 Duke def. No. 16 North Dakota State 85-62

51 – That’s the number of points Duke’s star freshmen Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett scored in the Blue Devils’ rout of the Bison, although the game didn’t get out of hand until the second half. Duke trailed 12-5 early in the game and only led 31-27 at halftime before dropping 54 points in the final 20 minutes.

Williamson had 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting, while Barrett scored 26 points with 15 rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting


No. 9 Washington def. No. 8 Utah State 78-61

21 – That’s the number of turnovers Washington’s zone defense forced against Utah State. The Huskies also held the Aggies to 35 percent shooting from the field and from deep, while Washington shot 49 percent from the field and 58 percent from three. These 8/9 games are often considered toss-ups but Washington showed that it was clearly the better team, led by senior forward Noah Dickerson’s 20-point, 12-rebound double-double.


No. 12 Oregon def. No. 5 Wisconsin 72-54

54/50/81 – Those were Oregon’s shooting splits in its 18-point win over No. 5 seed Wisconsin. We highlighted Wofford’s shooting splits on Thursday and the Ducks’ shooting also deserves praise. They were 28-of-51 (54.9%) from the field, 7-of-14 from three and 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

On the other hand, Wisconsin’s shooting splits were 33/20/61, including a pedestrian 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from fifth-year senior Ethan Happ.


No. 6 Buffalo def. No. 11 Arizona State 91-74

16 – That was the rebounding advantage Buffalo had in its first-round win over Arizona State as it out-rebounded the Sun Devils 40-24. Don’t think less of Buffalo for a second because of its conference affiliation or its lack of NCAA Tournament history as a program. The Bulls pushed around the Sun Devils, grabbing more defensive rebounds (29) than their opponent had in total.

Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins scored a team-high 21 points apiece and CJ Massinburg added 18, including four of Buffalo’s 10 threes.


No. 1 Virginia def. No. 16 Gardner-Webb 71-56

6 – That was the halftime deficit for No. 1 seed Virginia, 36-30, as the Cavaliers tempted fate with a potential second consecutive loss to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Virginia started the game extremely slow, once committing a turnover on five consecutive possessions, but the Cavaliers still shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and pulled away after halftime. Their 15 turnovers and 7-of-23 (30.4%) day from three are concerns as they prepare to face an Oklahoma team that nearly scored 100 points in its first-round win.


No. 2 Tennessee def. No. 15 Colgate 77-70

5 – That’s how many points Colgate outscored Tennessee by after halftime as the Raiders rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit, 42-30, to tie the game at 48 and even take a 52-50 lead with 11:37 remaining. Colgate bombed away from three, making 15-of-29 shots (51.7%) from deep, including eight threes by guard Jordan Burns, to put the Volunteers on upset alert. Next up for Tennessee is an Iowa team that made 11-of-22 threes in a first-round upset against Cincinnati.


No. 13 seed UC Irvine def. No. 4 seed Kansas State 70-64

22 – That’s the number of field goals made by both teams. But UC Irvine needed eight fewer attempts, made one more three and five more free throws than Kansas State as the Anteaters pulled off the biggest upset in terms of seed so far in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. UC Irvine guards Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard both scored 19 points to lead all scorers.


No. 3 Texas Tech def. No. 14 Northern Kentucky 72-57

44 – That’s the sum of Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver’s points, rebounds and assists as he sniffed a triple-double with 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He was 10-of-17 from the field, 3-of-5 from three and 6-of-10 from the free throw line in an efficient afternoon.

To a large extent, Texas Tech will go as far as Culver can carry the Red Raiders.


No. 9 seed Oklahoma def. No. 8 seed Ole Miss 95-72

23 – That was the Sooners’ margin of victory over the Rebels, which is tied for the third-largest margin of victory in the history of the 8/9 game in the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma jumped out to a 12-0 lead to start the game and the Sooners hit the half-a-century mark by halftime, leading 50-33.

Oklahoma was projected to win 72-71 with a 52 percent chance of victory, according to, but the Sooners ran the Rebels off the court after shooting 57 percent from the field and committing just three turnovers.


No. 10 seed Iowa def. No. 7 seed Cincinnati 79-72

6-0; 3-1 – Those are the records of the Big Ten so far in the NCAA Tournament and the record of No. 10 seeds against No. 7 seeds this year, respectively. Iowa, playing in Cincinnati’s backyard in Columbus, Ohio, overcame a five-point deficit at halftime and closed the game out strong to send the favored Bearcats home early. The Hawkeyes joined Minnesota and Florida as No. 10 seeds that advanced to the second round.


No. 3 Purdue def. No. 14 Old Dominion 61-48

23 – That’s the number of shots Purdue guard Carsen Edwards needed Thursday night to score 26 points. Edwards is an amazing talent. He was recently recognized as a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection. But his shot load has been astronomical at times this season and he’s not always efficient, which raises questions about Purdue’s ceiling if his supporting cast isn’t playing at a high level.

Ryan Cline, a typically lights-out 3-point shooter who can knock down difficult threes on the move, was 1-of-11 from outside against Old Dominion. Purdue’s bench contributed just nine points as usual starter Nojel Eastern played just 10 minutes off the bench after rolling his ankle in warmups.


No. 9 Baylor def. No. 8 Syracuse 78-69

16 – That’s the number of threes the Bears made against Syracuse and its 2-3 zone. Both teams entered the game averaging 7.9 threes per game and both had made seven by the time there was seven minutes left in the first half. Six of Baylor’s first seven offensive possessions ended in a made three.

The Bears finished the night 16-of-34 (47.1%) from behind the arc as 65 percent of their shot attempts on the night came from long distance. That might be an unsustainable recipe against a man-to-man defense, especially when Baylor’s next game is against No. 1 seed Gonzaga, but any team that can take – and make – that many threes will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.


No. 7 Wofford def. No. 10 Seton Hall 84-68

48/46/82 – If you’re a basketball junkie, then you’ve surely heard of the “50-40-90” club, meaning a player who shoots 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. It’s a set of elite, efficient shooting splits. Well, Wofford wasn’t far off from that mark as a team in its first round win over Seton Hall.

Led by Fletcher Magee’s 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting led the way for the Terriers but Nathan Hoover, Cameron Jackson and Storm Murphy also reached double figures.

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No. 2 Michigan def. No. 15 Montana 74-55

22 & 10 – That was the final stat line for Michigan’s Charles Matthews against Montana, which ended a five-game streak of the guard scoring nine or fewer points. He missed the Wolverines final three games of the regular season due to injury and he made just one field goal in two of Michigan’s three games in the Big Ten Tournament. Matthews, an elite perimeter defender, bounced back in a major way offensively as he made 8-of-12 shots, including a three, and got to the free throw line six times.


No. 6 Villanova def. No. 11 Saint Mary’s 61-57

55.7 – That’s the percent of Villanova’s points that were scored by fifth-year seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall. The pair started on Villanova’s national championship team last season and Booth was instrumental in the Wildcats winning the 2016 national title.

With just seven total players seeing action against Saint Mary’s, which included Joe Cremo playing just three minutes, Villanova will go as far as Booth, Paschall and the team’s 3-point shooting can carry it.


No. 1 Gonzaga def. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson 87-49

46.7 – That was Gonzaga’s offensive rebounding percentage in its blowout win over Fairleigh Dickinson. The ‘Zags had a strong night from the field, shooting 53.1 percent overall and 42.9 percent from three, but throw in their ability to rebound nearly half of their missed shots and you have a team that’s really, really hard to beat. For reference, the national average for offensive rebounding percentage is 28.4 percent and Portland State, the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the country based on percentage, had a rate of 38.7 percent this season.


No. 10 Florida def. No. 7 Nevada 70-61

18 – That was the deficit that No. 7 seed Nevada, which debuted at No. 7 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, found itself in the second half against a 15-loss Florida team. The Wolf Pack have completed some massive comebacks in the last three seasons, including a historic 19-point comeback in less than five minutes against New Mexico in 2017, as well as a 22-point comeback against No. 2 seed Cincinnati in last year’s tournament.

But this year’s Nevada team, as old, big and experienced as it was, was unable to do the same against the Gators.


No. 2 Kentucky def. No. 15 Abilene Christian 79-44

13 – That’s the number of points Abilene Christian scored in the first half as it got tripled up by the Wildcats in the opening 20 minutes, 39-13. Abilene Christian was just 5-of-26 (19.2%) in the first half.

Kentucky ultimately won 79-44. Keep in mind that fellow No. 2 seed Michigan State had its hands full against Bradley earlier in the day and that the Wildcats were without PJ Washington, who sat out with a sprained foot.


No. 12 Murray State def. No. 5 Marquette 83-64

55 – That’s the number of Murray State points that Ja Morant scored or assisted on in the Racers’ first-round upset against the Golden Eagles. He recorded the first triple-double in the NCAA Tournament since Michigan State’s Draymond Green in 2012 as Morant scored 17 points, dished out 16 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds.


No. 4 Kansas def. No. 13 Northeastern 87-53

22.2 – Northeastern’s 3-point percentage against Kansas as the Huskies hit just 6-of-27 attempts from behind the arc. Northeastern entered the game shooting 38.8 percent from three (13th nationally) and 46.3 percent of their shots this season were threes (22nd nationally), so the Huskies both take and make a lot of 3-pointers.

But not on Thursday. Northeastern’s leading scorer, senior Vasa Pusica, scored just seven points on 2-of-13 shooting, while brothers and Kansas teammates Dedric and K.J. Lawson combined for 38 points, not far behind the Huskies’ point total as a team.


No. 6 Maryland def. No. 11 Belmont 79-77

4 – The number of seconds left in the game when Belmont’s Grayson Murphy turned the ball over on a pass intended for Dylan Windler, who had 35 points and 11 rebounds, on a backdoor cut when the Bruins trailed 78-77. Maryland’s Darryl Morsell was all over it and he was fouled by Murphy, sending him to the line for two free throws.

Morsell made the first, then Belmont called a timeout and Morsell missed the second. Windler’s final, game-winning heave was off the mark and Maryland escaped with a win.


No. 2 seed Michigan State def. No. 15 seed Bradley 76-65

96.2 – Michigan State’s free throw percentage as the Spartans made 25-of-26 free throws against the Braves. Bradley took a 35-34 advantage into halftime and both teams shot poorly from the field – 42.6 percent for Michigan State, 42.3 percent from Bradley – but Michigan State got to the free throw line eight more times and missed just one free throw all game.

Twelve of those 26 attempts came in the final two minutes and four seconds as Bradley tried to make a late comeback.


No. 4 seed Florida State def. No. 13 seed Vermont

29 – The number of minutes that Florida State forward Mfiondu Kabengele played in the Seminoles’ first-round win. It was the third-most minutes Kabengele, who’s Florida State’s leading scorer, has played all season. The sophomore had 21 points and 10 rebounds – the team-high in both categories – as well as 12 free throws as the undersized Catamounts had no answer for the Seminoles’ athletic forward.

If Florida State is going to maximize its potential this season, Florida State probably needs Kabengele to play more than his 21 minutes per game average.


No. 5 seed Auburn def. No. 12 seed New Mexico State 78-77

1.7 – The number of seconds left on the clock when Auburn’s Bryce Brown fouled New Mexico State’s Terrell Brown on a missed 3-point attempt with the Tigers leading 78-76. The Aggies passed up an open layup before kicking the ball out to Terrell Brown, who missed his first and third free throw attempts. After the third free throw, the ball bounced out of bounds, last touched by Auburn, giving the ball back to New Mexico State under Auburn’s basket with 1.1 seconds left.

Trevelin Queen, who made four 3-pointers in the game, had a wide-open three from the left corner but he airballed it, allowing Auburn to escape 78-77.


No. 3 seed LSU def. No. 14 seed Yale 79-74

73.3 – That’s the percent of defensive rebounds that LSU grabbed as it held off Yale in the first round. Yale took 72 shots in the game – 11 more than LSU – but the Tigers limited the Bulldogs’ second-chance opportunities.

LSU isn’t a particularly strong defensive rebounding team, grabbing just 69.6 percent of available defensive rebounds on the season (268th nationally), but the Tigers had a better showing on Thursday with 33 defensive rebounds on 45 opportunities. Yale shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 21.6 percent from three.


No. 10 seed Minnesota def. No. 7 seed Louisville 86-76

11 – That’s the number of 3-pointers the Gophers made against the Cardinals. Minnesota entered Thursday shooting 32.1 percent from behind the arc, which ranked 285th (!) in the country, but it caught fire against Louisville. Led by freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur’s 5-of-11 day from 3-point range, the Gophers finished 11-of-27 (40.7%).

It was the second-most threes Minnesota has made this season, behind only its 12-of-22 performance against Indiana on February 16. The Gophers made at least 10 3-pointers in a game just three times in their previous 34 games this season and averaged just 5.2 per game.

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