The No. 12 seeds managed to pull off just one upset as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament kicked off in earnest on Thursday, as Middle Tennessee State beat No. 5 seed Minnesota 81-72 to move into the second round.
Another No. 12, Princeton, nearly advanced, but lost to Notre Dame 60-58 after having a shot at an upset in its final possession. UNC-Wilmington came close, too, but squandered a 15-point lead and lost 76-71 to Virginia.
The fourth No. 12 seed, Nevada, lost to Iowa State, 84-73.
Two No. 1 seeds, North Carolina and Kansas, take their turns on Friday trying to avoid being the first regional top seeds to be upset by a No. 16 seed since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
“I’ll tell you what,” said North Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose Tar Heels face No. 16 Texas Southern. “Every coach of the No. 1 always worries like the dickens about it the night before. It’s something you always think about.”