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Daniel Wilco | | March 15, 2017

Morning Madness: Wednesday, March 15

  Mount St. Mary's notched the first win of the 2017 NCAA tournament, barely surviving New Orleans 67-66.

Two games down, 65 to go.

Mount St. Mary’s and Kansas State win their First Four matchups

Of course the first game of the 2017 NCAA tournament came down to the final shot. Or at least it would have, if New Orleans could have gotten a shot off. The Privateers had the ball with almost three seconds left, trailing 67-66, but their inbounds play sailed long, and Mount St. Mary’s survived to face No. 1 Villanova, which has just a bit more experience with last-second shots in March Madness.

In the second matchup Tuesday, Wake Forest kept Kansas State close through 38 minutes. But the Wildcats opened up a 10-point lead with a minute left, finishing with a 95-88 win, sending them to the Round of 64 against No. 6 Cincinnati.

The NIT began as well. Catch up on all the NIT scores -- including Oakland's stunning comeback win over No. 2 Clemson -- and see Wednesday's schedule here.

The second two First Four games tip off tonight

No. 16 seeds North Carolina Central and UC Davis fight for the chance to take on No. 1 Kansas in the Midwest (6:40 ET, truTV). WATCH LIVE

Over in the East, No. 11 seeds Providence and USC face off for a shot at 6 seed SMU (9:10 ET, truTV). WATCH LIVE

Go deep behind the scenes with Florida

In the meeting room and in the weight room, the Florida Gators have one thing on their mind today: ETSU. The Gators, a 4 seed in the East, meet upset-minded ETSU, the 13 seed, Thursday at 3 p.m. ET in the Round of 64.

Florida closed out its season losing to Vanderbilt twice in a row, while ETSU won nine of its last 10, including three straight to capture the SoCon tournament title. March Madness Confidential offers up an inside look at the Gators' preparation as they get down to business.

Brackets close Thursday at noon; here are a few last-minute tips

We lead with one of the most important pieces of advice we can give you — focus on the Final Four. Yes, picking first-round upsets is fun, but if you want long-term success, getting three or four of the Final Four correct (much easier to do if you lay off some of the early upsets) can vault you to the top of most pools.

When it comes to which of those first-round upsets you want to pick, we looked at seeds and compared the upsets that have happened most with the ones that have been picked the most.

One that is being picked more and more is the infamous 16 seed over a 1 seed. Reminder: in 128 games, it has never happened. Could this be the year? Are we getting closer? Probably not. And nope. We explored why those picks are increasing and also went into depth on the history of the 1 vs. 16 matchup.

Finally, if you want to go into detail on any of the seeds and their performance in the 32 years since the bracket expanded to 64, take a look at our Know Your Seed series, starting with the top dog, the 1 seed.

Start your brackets | More bracket tips | Madness Matchup Tool

Can you name the mascots for all 68 tournament teams?

Yeah, we’re technically down to just 66 teams now (64 after games tonight), but when the bracket was released, there were 68 teams in the field, OK?

Think you can name the mascot for each one?

Mark your calendar

First Four in Dayton: March 15 - Watch these games live on the March Madness Live App
First Thursday of the NCAA tournament: March 16
Sweet 16 begins: March 23
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3


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