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

Day 1 of the men's NCAA Tournament is in the books, and the brackets have already been snapped by a landslide.

Thursday saw an exciting, upset-filled start to the tournament with a trio of No. 11 seeds and Jack Gohlke ensuring that 99.9% of the perfect brackets were toast even 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 has already been an entertaining NCAA Tournament.

Beware of the 11 seeds

While Oakland stole the show with its upset of Kentucky, it was Duquesne and Oregon that got the party started.

No. 11 Duquesne tipped things off in the early slate of games against No. 6 BYU. The Cougars were right back on their heels from the start. The Dukes opened the scoring with a 3-pointer en route to a 9-0 lead. They led 38-30 at halftime and then extended it to 46-32 three minutes into the second half.

Jimmy Clark III and Duquesne are still dancing.  (Photo by Brendal O'Bannon/NCAA via Getty Images)

Jimmy Clark III and Duquesne are still dancing. (Photo by Brendal O'Bannon/NCAA via Getty Images)

The Cougars fought back to tie the game at 60. But the Dukes were not to be denied as they outscored the Cougars 11-7 down the stretch to pull off a 71-67 upset that few saw coming. Duquesne winning just two games in the tournament left it just 16.3% of the perfect bracket standing.

Oregon keeps the disruptions coming

Then came Oregon, which many people — including those who live in Las Vegas — had predicted would come. Despite playing as a No. 11 seed against No. 6 seed South Carolina, Oregon entered the game as a 2.5-point favorite.

The ducks exceeded expectations. Oregon opened up a 34-29 halftime lead that was cut to five by Ta'Lon Cooper's miracle 3-pointer from outside the halfcourt that beat the halftime buzzer. Oregon State wasn't fazed.

Led by former Gamecock Jermaine Quesnard, Oregon opened the second half en route to an 87-73 victory.

Quesnard played three seasons with South Carolina before joining Oregon last season amid a coaching change that led to the Gamecocks firing Frank Martin in favor of Lamont Paris. he he previously told The Oregonian That lack of communication from Paris played a role in his decision to enter the transfer portal.

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That series of events eventually came back to bite the Gamecocks in a big way on Thursday as Quesnard scored a career-high 40 points in the Oregon NCAA Tournament to send his former team back to Columbia short of winning the tournament. He shined from the field trying 14 of 22 while hitting 5 of 9 three-point attempts.

North Carolina State follows suit

NC State kept that trend alive Thursday night.

The Wolfpack, fresh off its dominance in the ACC Tournament last week, kept No. 6 Texas Tech at arm's length in its opener in Pittsburgh. They cruised to an 80-67 win to reach 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 in the first half before finally breaking a 13-2 lead in the second half. From there, the Wolfpack simply cruised to a 13-point win, which set them up against Oakland on Saturday. Ben Middlebrooks led the Wolfpack with 21 points off the bench, 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 an impressive stretch of five wins in the ACC Tournament.

Are 11-6 games the new 12-5?

Thursday marks the fourth straight tournament in which at least the No. 11 seed has advanced. Three of those tournaments saw multiple No. 11 seeds win, and several advanced deeper into the tournament.

Last year, No. 11 Pittsburgh beat No. 6 Iowa State and then lost to No. 3 seed Xavier in the second round. And in 2022, three No. 11 seeds advanced. Iowa State beat No. 6 LSU and then No. 3 Wisconsin en route to the Sweet 16. Michigan also reached the Sweet 16 with wins over No. 6 Colorado State and No. 3 Tennessee. Notre Dame beat No. 6 Alabama and then lost to No. 3 Texas Tech in the second round.

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But 2021 brought us one of the most successful No. 11 seeds ever. UCLA beat No. 6 BYU, No. 14 Abilene Christian, No. 2 Alabama and No. 1 Michigan en route to the Final Four. There she lost to Gonzaga in an all-time thrilling national semifinal match.

Now we have Duquesne, Oregon and North Carolina. New Mexico will be the final No. 11 seed to play its NCAA Tournament opener. They are a 2.5-point favorite over Clemson on Friday. Is anyone linked to the Sweet 16 or a deep race like UCLA's 2021?

Jack Gohlke sets Kentucky on fire, breaking most of the brackets

Jack Gohlke is the next big star in the NCAA Tournament.

Gohlke led No. 14 Oakland to a massive upset win over No. 3 Kentucky on Thursday night. Gohlke knocked down 10 3-pointers and had 32 points in the stunning win, which marked Kentucky's latest postseason struggle. This, of course, led to renewed calls for coach John Calipari's job.

Gohlke was just a 3-pointer shy of matching the all-time single-game tournament record, set by LMU's Jeff Fryer in 1990. Gohlke made seven of 10 3-pointers in the first half, then assisted on a drive. Golden Grizzlies win in the second half.

Although he attracted a lot of attention with his performance, that is not very surprising. All but eight of the guard's field goal attempts during the regular season were from behind the arc.

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

As a result of the discomfort, almost every remaining perfect slice was broken. More than 95% of Yahoo's brackets selected Kentucky to move on to the second round. So, by the time this disruption happened, only 0.1% of bows made through Yahoo Sports were still perfect.

Then, at the end of the night, there were only 116 people left. If this is you, good luck on Friday. You will need it.

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Marcus Domasek leads Illinois with a triple-double

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

Domasek became just the ninth player in NCAA Tournament history to record a triple-double Thursday while leading No. 3 Illinois to an 85-69 win over No. 14 Morehead State. He scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and made 10 assists, and also scored a triple-double with a three-pointer at the end of the second half.

Domasek is the first player to complete a triple-double since Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant did so with Murray State in 2019. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green is the only player to do so 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 compile that list.

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

Kansas sneaks past Samford after a controversial foul

Kansas nearly blew a 22-point lead late Thursday night.

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

No. 4 Kansas beat No. 13 Samford 93-89 in a first-round game late Thursday night. Although they nearly blew a 22-point lead in the second half, it was a foul in the final seconds that sealed the deal.

Kansas' Nicholas Timberlake picked off a pass on a fast break and went up for a dunk with just 14 seconds left when Samford's AJ Staton-McRae came flying in behind him and blocked the shot. Timberlake hit the court, eventually going to the free throw line — where he hit both of his shots and gave Kansas a three-point lead.

But a closer look at the play clearly showed that Staton-McRae did not touch Timberlake at all. He got all the ball.

But the call stayed the same on the field, ultimately leading Kansas to a four-point win.

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

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