On a day in the NCAA Tournament that offered up very few true upsets, Ja Morant provided one. Perhaps it’s not too big of an upset, either, but it’s as close as we got to seeing a major one given that his #12 seed Murray State team went out and won 83-64 over #5 seed Marquette on Thursday night. Morant, a player that has seemingly come from out of nowhere and is now a major factor in the NBA lottery equation, led them to said win thanks to a triple-double display. His 15 points, 15 assists, and ten rebounds made him the first player since Draymond Green, back in 2012, to record one during the NCAA Tournament, pointing toward just how good he can be all-around. It was his third such time accomplishing the feat this season, putting him on a list with just only four other players that have had three or more. The Racers might ‘just’ be a 12 seed, but they are real factors in this tournament now, especially with a pro-caliber player in Morant leading the way.
Wofford, another unfashionable underdog that has risen to widespread popularity this season, had a record set on Thursday in the tournament. The #7 seed Terriers won 84-68 over #10 seed Seton Hall in Jacksonville, and to go one better they had sharpshooter Fletcher Magee set the NCAA Division I mark for most threes made in a career with 505. He did so early in the second half, but it was just one of seven he drained in the game that gave him a total of 24 points. It marked the 21st win in a row for the Terriers, who were unbeaten throughout conference play and their conference tourney. Simply incredibly stuff.
The rest of the results on Thursday were pretty much chalk, except for a few that were those close seed game between 7 and 10 and 8 and 9. As such, if you had a board that includes the big hitters, you’re probably happy this morning. That could all change on Friday, of course. #2 Michigan overcame #15 Bradley after trailing early, while fellow #1 Kentucky rolled to an easy win over Colgate. Maryland came from behind against Belmont, winners on Tuesday, to advance past the #11 seed.
The Opening Series of the MLB season finished up on Thursday, and it saw the Seattle Mariners win 5-4 in 12 innings in Japan over the Oakland A’s. Domingo Santana once again came up clutch, despite a fielder’s choice to give the Mariners a 2-0 record to begin the season. However, the big story was Ichiro Suzuki taking his final bow to end his career in front of his faithful and adoring fans in Tokyo. He went 0-4 in the game, but no one will soon forget just how good he was for so many years. Ten years of 200 hits or more, something no one can fathom. Even Pete Rose never had more than three in a row. It’s sad to see him go, but it’s definitely time for him to do so, and it was apropos that it happened in Tokyo.