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2016 NCAA Tournament: 10 things we learned from Day 1 of March Madness

It was an eventful first day of action.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Always count on the 5-12 upsets

It happens often, and the 2016 NCAA Tournament wasn't safe from its wrath. In Providence on Thursday, yet another 5 seed succumbed to a 12 seed as the Yale Bulldogs picked up their very first NCAA Tournament victory over the Baylor Bears. Additionally, the Purdue Boilermakers gagged away a big lead over the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans to make it two 12 seeds who upset 5's on the first day of the Tournament.

Though last year was one of the rare years that didn't see a 5-12 upset occur, any thought that trend was going to persist this year was quickly diminished on Thursday afternoon. Hope you picked 'em.

And watch your back tomorrow, Maryland.

2. Kelan Martin: Still a stud

Although he got off to a slow start, the Butler sophomore forward from Louisville, Kentucky had a boastful performance down the stretch in the Bulldogs' win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Martin scored eight straight points to help increase the 'Dawgs' lead over the Red Raiders and would prove to be the difference in their 10-point victory.

That kind of display is why this BU team can be so dangerous in this Tourney. Vaunted Virginia had best keep Martin & Co. in check.

3. UConn is doing UConn things in March


Probably shouldn't be.

The Huskies advanced to the Round of 32 Thursday with their win over Colorado, as head coach Kevin Ollie's NCAA Tournament record now stands at a pristine 7-0.

The Huskies were mired with a bad shooting afternoon and it looked like maybe the March magic they'd had in their possession was withering away. But thanks to a run spearheaded by Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis, the Huskies were able to continue their galavant in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Just as they always seem to do.

4. The Cyclones look stellar when they're firing on all cylinders

Over the past few years, Iowa State has been a 'trendy' pick to make deep runs in March. They haven't been able to thanks in part to different circumstances each year, with Georges Niang suffering a terrible injury two years ago, and a surprising upset at the hands of the UAB Blazers a season ago.

This year there may have been suspicion on the other side of the coin as Iowa State was matched up with the Iona Gaels of the MAAC. That was quickly snuffed out very early in the game as the Cyclones exploded for a 94-81 victory in Denver. All five starters for Iowa State scored 11 points or more with Niang and Monte Morris leading the way with 28 and 20 respectively.

UALR will have their hands full if they want to shock the world one more time on Saturday, because Iowa State was divisive against the Gaels Thursday.

5. Duke avoided 'Upset City' thanks to a Plumlee

Speaking of 'trendy' picks: Many may have thought that the Duke Blue Devils would fall victim to the UNC Wilmington Seahawks. For a while, it looked like that may be the case. The Seahawks gave Coach K's club all they could handle throughout much of the first half and were energized with a late run near the end of regulation.

But Duke was Duke and prevailed 93-85 to trot on to the Round of 32. Making waves in Providence was Marshall Plumlee, the last Plumlee standing in a long line of players to come through Durham for what seems like forever. The senior from Warsaw, Indiana dropped 23, sinking 9-of-10 field goal attempts, grabbed eight rebounds and picked up three blocks in 29 minutes of action.

That's a pretty dang good line, and a solid performance to help Duke stave off elimination early in the NCAA Tournament.

6. Florida Gulf Coast gave UNC a run for their money, and yet, it wasn't enough

Dreams of a 16 seed beating a 1 were vanquished in Raleigh after a furious effort by Florida Gulf Coast. Affectionately known as "Dunk City," FGCU gave us quite a lot of memories a few years ago when they upset Georgetown and San Diego State en route to the Sweet 16.

But it wasn't enough, as the North Carolina Tar Heels stormed out to a big lead at the start of the second half and never looked back. Brice Johnson, Marcus Paige and the rest of UNC bullied the Eagles on their way to the next round.

The final hope for a No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 comes tomorrow when Holy Cross plays Oregon.

7. Indiana looks mighty, mighty impressive

Feast or famine might best describe the 2015-16 Hoosiers, and on Thursday, they certainly feasted.

IU avoided the dreaded 5-12 upset by drilling the Chattanooga Mocs 99-74. Yogi Ferrell dropped 20 points and dishing out 10 assists for his first ever double-double, as hard has that is to believe, and five IU hoopers scored 10 or more points.

Tom Crean may have his hands full when the Hoosiers play Kentucky on Saturday in a revival of the two schools' tremendous hoops rivalry, but it's fair to say that if they come out swinging like they did on Thursday, things will get mighty, mighty intriguing in Des Moines.

8. Wichita State is still kicking

Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker won't be denied any time soon.

The Arizona Wildcats found that out the hard way in Providence as the Shockers took it to the Wildcats and made life absolutely miserable for Gabe York, Kaleb Tarczewski, Ryan Anderson and the rest of UofA. The Shockers' staunch, stifling defense suffocated them all night along and the game was hardly ever in doubt shortly after the opening tip.

Beware the Shockers again, folks. If that sounds familiar, well...

9. Buzzer beaters and March are still a love story

You didn't think we wouldn't get a buzzer-beater did you?

Rodney Bullock - Big East represent! - is here to serve.

10. The Big East had a very solid showing, in spite of Seton Hall's dud

Butler and Providence both came out victorious in different ways. The Bulldogs traded punches with Texas Tech before winning the fight with a late run in the second half that they would eventually never look back from. The Friars, meanwhile, fought all the way to the end and picked up a monumental victory over the USC Trojans at the horn.

Seton Hall, meanwhile, put up an unfortunate dud in their matchup against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Isaiah Whitehead, perhaps the hottest player in America, could not hit the broad side of a barn from the field and were thoroughly dominated by Domantas Sabonis.

That not withstanding, the Big East, no doubt about it, looked impressive. Saturday, they could make some more waves, as opportunities are there for the taking to knock off not one, but two No. 1 seeds in the form of Virginia and North Carolina.