Indiana and Miami were left feeling a little like a United States vice president. What exactly does it take to be seriously considered? Indiana appeared to be a good choice for the overall No. 1 seed after winning the Big Ten, though falling prematurely in the conference tournament. The No. 2 seed isnt worth a bucket of spit for Miami, which won the ACC and
its tournament but gets the big ol snub. The two will likely meet for a meeting of the minds in
Washington, D.C. The class:
Miami. The Hurricanes enhanced their credentials at the ACC tournament. Worst draw:
No. 3 Marquette. No. 14 Davidson seems more than doable for the Golden Eagles, but a second-round tilt with Butler is tricky. Butler, No. 6 seed, has knocked off four NCAA qualifiers, including North Carolina and Nos. 1 Indiana and Gonzaga. One advantage: Marquette has already seen Butler, in a one-point loss earlier this season. Best draw:
No. 2 Miami. The Hurricanes appear a lock for the regional tournament in Washington, facing Pacific, then Illinois or Colorado in the third round. What are you doing here?
No. 12 Oregon. The Ducks stumbled at the end with two straight losses and dropped two games to Pac-12 eighth-place Stanford. Top NBA player:
C Cody Zeller, Indiana. Good instincts and versatility have made the Hoosiers big man a lottery pick in mock drafts. Top player you dont know:
F Anthony Bennett, UNLV. The Rebels freshman is long and athletic. Hes very likely not coming back to Vegas for a sophomore season. Second-round upset:
No. 13 Montana over No. 4 Syracuse Region champion:
Ah, Louisville, the Magic Mike of this NCAA Tournament. Everybody thinks the Cardinals, with good senior leadership and perhaps even better backcourt play, are the looker, and they just might actually be the Gateway to the South and Atlanta. Theres some major star power on the sidelines, too. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Dukes Mike Krzyzewski and Louisvilles Rick Pitino have combined for 23 Final Four appearances and six national titles. The class:
Louisville. Guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are the Cardinals heavy-lifting Hans and Franz. Siva, the complementary guard who averages six assists a game, pairs with the dynamic-scoring Smith. Worst draw:
No. 6 Memphis. The Tigers breezed through Conference USA and will likely run into tough-minded and battled-tested bruiser Michigan State in Round 3. Best draw:
No. 5 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are poised for a deep run against teams that havent seen them, Oregon and Saint Louis, standing in the way. What are you doing here?
No. 10 Cincinnati. The Bearcats appear to be a mismatch with the NCAA Tournament, having struggled the past month including 4-6 in their last 10 and with bad showings against good teams (5-9 against top 50 RPIs). Top NBA player:
G Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State. The freshman from Flower Mound Marcus is an All-American in his first season in college and considered a lottery pick if he decides hes done enough in Stillwater. Top player you dont know:
PF Mason Plumlee, Duke. Size makes the scouts like him and his double-double average in points and rebounds in the ACC. Second-round upset:
No. 11 Middle Tennessee State or St. Marys over No. 6 Memphis. Region champion:
Does a difficult regular-season schedule really matter? Were likely to find out in the West, where Gonzaga and its recent softy West Coast Conference slate will match wits with the likes of Ohio State, which played in the most difficult conference and more than endured the rigors and won the Big Ten tournament. And dont forget about No. 5 Wisconsin, a fellow Big Ten-er that wouldnt exactly surprise with a run to the Elite Eight. The class:
No. 1 Gonzaga. Its not like the Zags didnt play anybody. Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Butler all made appearances on the Gonzaga schedule. Worst draw:
No. 7 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish got no favors with high-scoring Iowa State which entered the Big 12 tournament having won six of its last eight in the opener. Next would be No. 2 Ohio State, the tournament champion of the nations best basketball league, looming in Dayton
Ohio. Best draw:
No. 1 Gonzaga. The Zags catch Southern, the No. 16 team, then either No. 8 Pitt or No. 9 Wichita State. Pitt is 4-7 against teams with an RPI in the Top 50 (Gonzaga is No. 7), and Wichita State lost three of five to close the season, though it did advance to the Missouri Valley championship game. What are you doing here?
No. 13 Boise State, which isnt completely in but must have been living right (or in self-denial) to have a foot on the dance floor. Everything fell just right for the Broncos, though, after a loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament. Bubblers Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia all lost, as did La Salle, the Broncos opponent in a play-in game Wednesday. Top NBA player:
C Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga. NBA size (7-foot, 238 pounds) makes him a difficult matchup. Top player you dont know:
G Lamont Jones, Iona. The transfer from Arizona moved closer to home to keep his NBA dreams alive, averaging 23 points and four assists. Second-round upset:
No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Arizona Region champion:
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