Two top college teams, Kentucky and Texas, advanced easily in the second day of the U.S. men's college basketball championship tournament, marked by upsets and near misses.
Starting in the Midwest Region (in Nashville, Tennessee), the Kentucky Wildcats defeated Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), 95-64, led by Gerald Fitch, who scored 25 points. Later, ninth-seeded Utah scored a 60-58 upset over eighth-seeded Oregon.
In other Midwest contests, second-seed Pittsburgh rolled to an 87-61 win over Wagner, and seventh-seed Indiana topped 10th-seed Alabama, 67-62.
In the South Region in Birmingham, Alabama, the Texas Longhorns scored an 82-61 win over North Carolina-Asheville. Brandon Mouton scored 15 points for the Longhorns in the win. Meanwhile, defending national champion and sixth-seed Maryland just escaped elimination, slipping past 11th-seed North Carolina, 75-73, on a last-second three-point shot by Drew Nicholas.
Also in the South, second-seed Florida routed Sam Houston State, 85-55, third-seed Xavier beat number-14 Troy State, 71-59, and seventh-seed Michigan dismissed 10th-seed Colorado, 79-64. Ninth-seeded Purdue defeated eighth-seed Louisiana State, 80-56.
Moving to the East Region (at Tampa, Florida), 10th-seeded Auburn scored an upset over seventh-seeded Saint Joseph's, 65-63, in overtime. Marquis Daniels scored 25 points, including a key three-pointer with 45 seconds left, to lead Auburn to victory.
In another upset, 12th-seed Butler knocked off fifth-seed Mississippi State, 47-46. Wake Forest survived a scare from a determined East Tennessee State team, 76-73.
Also in the East Region (in Boston, Massachusetts), Syracuse defeated Manhattan, 76-65, and sixth-seed Oklahoma State knocked off Pennsylvania, 77-63. Fourth-seed Louisville beat Austin Peay 86-64.
Action continues in the single-elimination tournament today (Saturday) and Sunday, with second-round games that will narrow the field to 16 teams.
The championship game is April 7 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.