The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 21, 2014

NCAA upsets crush bracket hopes

SAN DIEGO — So you were confident in your bracket, hoping to win the office pool, maybe get lucky and take down that $1 billion prize Warren Buffett is offering for a perfect run of picks.

One game in and ... done.

Way to go, Dayton.

Thanks for piling on, Harvard.

And North Dakota State — you've got to be kidding.

The first full day of the NCAA tournament got off to what has become its usual scream-at-the-TV start on Thursday, opening with three upsets that sent a wave of crumpled brackets — at least 95 percent missed at least one game before the tournament was 12 hours old — flying from Buffalo to San Diego. By the end of the night, fewer than 1 percent of brackets remained unblemished in contests by ESPN and CBSSports.com.

"Being bounced from the billion THAT early definitely made me feel some type of way," said Marcus Arman of Portland, Ore. "I can tell you this: I will not be supporting the city of Dayton in any shape, form or fashion so long as my foam finger still points upward."

Dayton, the No. 11 seed in the South Regional, got it started in the first game of the 64-team bracket, knocking off sixth-seeded Ohio State 60-59 in Buffalo, N.Y.

A few hours later, No. 12 East seed Harvard had its David-vs-Goliath thing working for the second straight year, taking down fifth-seeded Cincinnati 61-57 in Spokane, Wash.

Two upsets, and almost everyone shooting for perfection was eliminated before they got home from work.

North Dakota State, No. 12 in the West, finished off the day of dead pools by outlasting fifth-seeded Oklahoma 80-75 in Spokane's second upset of the day.

Thanks for playing everyone.

With Dayton's win, about 83 percent of the brackets in Yahoo's Tourney Pick 'Em game were one and done, perfection flushed in 40 minutes. Wins by Harvard and North Dakota State only figured to add to the number of disappointed would-be billionaires once the official numbers were released.

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