Harvard Thrills Day 1 NCAA Tournament Watchers
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Whoever first said history repeats itself probably never expected Harvard to win a game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. It's never happened before. The Ivy League school was a number 14 seed, which is about as low as you'd expect, and the Crimson stunned number three seed, New Mexico, 68-62 - nor was it the only upset yesterday. Let's hear about some of the other games, starting with NPR's Tom Goldman in San Jose, California.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have our first upset in San Jose. Number 12 University of California beats number five seed UNLV, 54-61.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: For the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, another cruel March Madness moment. The team's 25 and 9 season and number five seed went poof in 40 minutes. Dave Rice is the head coach.
DAVE RICE: We're bitterly disappointed at the result of the game, told our seniors the most frustrating thing to me is I don't get the opportunity to coach them anymore.
GOLDMAN: But one coach's pain was another notch in the PAC 12's belt. Cal was one of three first-day winners from that much-maligned conference. Golden Bears junior guard Justin Cobbs said, in that respectful student athlete way, take that.
JUSTIN COBBS: So all the bad press we were getting before, maybe it wasn't true.
(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)
GOLDMAN: Oregon did its part to disprove the PAC 12 doubters. The Ducks beat Oklahoma State by 13, another 12 seed over number five. It wasn't really an upset, though. Oregon was the PAC 12 tournament champion, but was given its low seed by the selection committee. The Ducks ignored the snub and wowed Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford.
TRAVIS FORD: This was a hot basketball team, really hot.
GOLDMAN: Lead yesterday by a 6'7" senior forward from Iran. Arsalan Kazemi had 17 rebounds, and admitted his teammates sometimes call him a ball-hog on the boards.
ARSALAN KAZEMI: I apologize to them if I get their rebound, but I just jump to get it. So that's how it works.
GOLDMAN: And this is also how March Madness works. In the last game in San Jose, perennial power Syracuse led Montana by 23 at half. The Orange ultimately won by 47. Cal head coach Mike Montgomery was scouting the game. His team would play the winner. But at halftime, he walked up a colleague and said: We're not going to learn anything from this. Let's go watch film. Poor Montana: March Madness turned to sadness. Tom Goldman, NPR News, San Jose. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.