SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - It was every frontrunner's nightmare.
Top-seeded Gonzaga ran into a No. 16 seed that wasn't playing like one, a crowd itching for an upset and the very real prospect of making history in a most embarrassing way.
Somehow, the Zags maneuvered their way out of that mess Thursday with a 64-58 win over Southern University, but not before they provided plenty of fodder for all those who wondered if that small school from the small conference really belonged at the top of the West Region bracket.
"The more I watched film on them, the more I thought, "This could be a real grinder,'" coach Mark Few said of the Jaguars, champions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. "They don't give you many easy opportunities. They're very patient on offense."
Gonzaga's win wasn't safely in hand until the final buzzer sounded. No. 1 seeds improved to 113-0 since the NCAA Tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Led by Derick Beltran's 21 points, Southern (23-10) made life hard on the West Coast Conference champions from beginning to end, blocking eight shots, making 10 3-pointers, harassing its star player, Kelly Olynyk, and never letting the Bulldogs out of striking range.
Olynyk scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half to help the Zags (32-2) advance to Saturday's game against Wichita State.
But there was no celebration. Just a big sigh of relief.
"That crowd gets going, everyone wants to see that first 1-16 loss," Few said. "My guys deserve credit. They showed a lot of poise down the stretch when things weren't going their way."
And the Jaguars, the team from the school in Baton Rouge, La., with an enrollment of 6,900, never stopped scrapping.
This was a program nearly wiped off the map three years ago because of an NCAA investigation into problems in the classroom. They still have players on the roster who were around for the 20-plus-loss seasons that ensued. Their coach, Roman Banks, looked to Gonzaga - tiny school with big dreams - as the program his players should try to emulate.
"We were basically an unknown ballclub that showed they can play the game of basketball," Banks said. "But we came here to win a ballgame, not play a ballgame."
Wichita St. 73, Pittsburgh 55
SALT LAKE CITY - Malcolm Armstead scored 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and ninth-seeded Wichita State ousted Pittsburgh.
Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Shockers (27-8) forced Pitt into 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting, including 1-of-17 from 3-point range.
Arizona 81, Belmont 64
SALT LAKE CITY - Mark Lyons scored 23 points and the sixth-seeded Arizona Wildcats rolled past No. 11 seed Belmont 81-64.
The Wildcats (26-7) used their huge size advantage to shut down the Bruins (26-7), who are 0-6 in tourney games.
Arizona held a 44-18 edge on the boards, outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint, blocked five shots and outshot the Bruins from 3-point range.
Harvard 68, New Mexico 62
SALT LAKE CITY - Wesley Saunders scored 18 points and Laurent Rivard had 17 to help 14th-seeded Harvard pull off Thursday's biggest upset, a 68-62 win over No. 3 New Mexico in the West regional.
The Ivy League advanced for the first time in the tournament since a very good Cornell team made the regional semifinals in 2010. It also was Harvard's first NCAA tourney win.
Alex Kirk had 22 points for the Lobos, a popular pick to make the Final Four who, instead, haven't made it out of the first weekend since 1974.
Marquette 59, Davidson 58
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Vander Blue's layup with one second left capped Marquette's rally from a nine-point deficit and gave the third-seeded Golden Eagles a 59-58 victory over Davidson.
Blue and Jamil Wilson made consecutive 3-pointers to bring Marquette within 58-57 with 11 seconds left. The Golden Eagles then caught a huge break when De'Mon Brooks' long inbounds pass went out of bounds at midcourt with 5.5 seconds left, providing another opportunity.
Blue took full advantage after getting Wilson's inbounds pass, driving left and finding room for the winning basket. He sealed Marquette's improbable win by stealing Davidson's last-ditch inbounds pass at midcourt to set off a celebration among players and Golden Eagles fans at Rupp Arena.
Butler 68, Bucknell 56
Andrew Smith had a double-double including a career-high 16 rebounds, Roosevelt Jones added 14 points and Butler made its free throws down the stretch to hold off upset-minded Bucknell.
After trailing for most of the game, 11th-seeded Bucknell got back into it with a 19-2 second-half run. But after Joe Willman's jumper cut Butler's lead to 43-42 with 6:56 left, the Bison (28-6) went almost five minutes without scoring. Butler went 18-of-20 at the line in the last 4:43.
California 64, UNLV 61
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and 12th-seeded California held off fifth-seeded UNLV 64-61.
Buoyed by the crowd support of a strong contingent so close to Berkeley, the Golden Bears (21-11) held the Runnin' Rebels (25-10) without a basket for more than 11 minutes in the second half.
The Rebels rallied to within a point in the final seconds before missed free throws and a costly inbounds pass sealed the loss.
Louisville 79, N.C. A&T 48
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Russ Smith scored 23 points and set a Louisville NCAA Tournament record with a career-high eight steals, and Peyton Siva had eight assists as the Cardinals demolished North Carolina A&T 79-48.
Louisville finished with a season-high 20 steals as it forced the Aggies (20-17) into 27 turnovers. It was the 11th straight win for the Cardinals (30-5).
Mich. St. 65, Valparaiso 54
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Derrick Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power third-seeded Michigan State past the 14th-seeded Crusaders in the Midwest Regional.
The Spartans went on a 26-5 run in the first half to take control, and cruised to an easy victory.
Memphis 54, Saint Mary's 52
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Matthew Dellavedova's 3-pointer from the right wing missed everything as time expired, allowing sixth-seeded Memphis to hold on for a win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary's.
The Tigers (31-4) led by 15 in the first half but nearly gave the game away in the final seconds.
With Memphis ahead 54-49, Eividas Petrulis banked in a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play. The Tigers then lost the ball when the Gaels' Jordan Giusti deflected the inbound pass off Joe Jackson of Memphis and out of bounds.
Saint Mary's (28-7) was out of timeouts but had a chance to regroup while officials reviewed the previous sequence. It didn't matter. Dellavedova, the career leader in scoring for Saint Mary's, was able to get a shot off, but it didn't come close to going in.
Oregon 68, Okla. State 55
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Damyean Dotson scored 17 points and Arsalan Kazemi added 11 points and 17 rebounds to help 12th-seeded Oregon extend a run that began in the Pac-12 Tournament by beating fifth-seeded Oklahoma.
Dominic Artis scored 13 points and helped frustrate Oklahoma State star freshman Marcus Smart on the defensive end to give the Ducks (27-8) their first tournament win in six years.
Michigan 71, S. Dakota St. 56
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Glenn Robinson III scored 21 points and Mitch McGary added 13 points and nine rebounds, helping fourth-seeded Michigan overcome a rough night for Trey Burke in a 71-56 victory over 13th-seeded South Dakota State.
Burke made only two field goals and left the game briefly in the second half after a hard fall under the basket. The star point guard came back after that, but he finished with only six points.
South Dakota State (25-10) trailed by only four at halftime but couldn't keep up. High-scoring guard Nate Wolters was held to only 10 points.
VCU 88, Akron 42
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Troy Daniels had 23 points, Juvonte Reddic scored 21 and VCU routed Akron 88-42 in the most lopsided victory by a fifth-seeded team over a No. 12 in NCAA Tournament history.
The previous mark was set by Wyoming in a 35-point win over Howard in 1981 and matched by Tennessee against Long Beach State in 2007, according to STATS.