1. LouisvilleRecord: 29-5 (14-4 in Big East)Coach: Rick Pitino (655-235 in 27 seasons, 303-111 in 12 at Louisville)Tournament record: 42-16 in 17 seasonsLast tournament appearance: 2012Bid: Automatic. RPI: 3.Key players: SG Russ Smith (18.3 ppg.), C Gorgui Dieng (9.8 rpg.)Best win: 53-51 at Georgetown 73-64Worst loss: 73-64 at VillanovaScouting the Cardinals: They might be the best defensive team in the country, with opponents averaging 58 points and 39 percent shooting. Big East referees typically allow a physical game, which works to Louisville's favor. So if officials call it tighter in the NCAAs, the Cardinals will have to temper their aggression or keep sending foes to the foul line.2. DukeRecord: 27-5 (14-4 ACC)Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (954-295 in 38 seasons, 48-20 in 33 at Duke)Tournament record: 96-32Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: At large at-large RPI: 1Key players: F Mason Plumlee (17.2 ppg), F Ryan Kelly (14.3 ppg), GSeth Curry (17.0 ppg)Best win: 76-71 vs. LouisvilleWorst loss: 90-63 at MiamiScouting the Blue Devils: No one has a more complete resume than the Blue Devils, who beat Louisville, Ohio State and Virginia Commonwealth out of the ACC and Miami and UNC in it. Duke survived the 13-game absence Ryan Kelly but there's still an adjustment to be made since his return. Kelly was fantastic against Miami on March 2, scoring 36 points, but he has averaged 11.3 points per game in the three games since. Kelly makes Mason Plumlee better in the post and takes some pressure off of Seth Curry to provide all the outside scoring. The Devils have plenty of motivation for a Final Four run after a disappointing ACC tournament and the opening-round loss to Lehigh a year ago in the NCAA tournament.3. Michigan StateRecord: 25-8 (13-5 Big Ten)Coach: Tom Izzo (437-177, 18 seasons, all at Michigan State)Tournament record: 54-25Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: At-large RPI: 9Key players: G Keith Appling (13.5 ppg); F Adreian Payne (7.5 rpg)Best win: 67-64 vs. Kansas in AtlantaWorst loss: NoneScouting the Spartans: Payne ranks fourth in career blocks for the Spartans. F Branden Dawson is recovering from an ACL injury suffered last March and ranks fifth in the Big Ten in steals. The Spartans have won more than 70 percent of their games in March since 1998-99.4. Saint LouisRecord: 27-6 (13-3 in Atlantic 10)Coach: Jim Crews (377-355, 26 seasons; 27-6, in 1 as interim at Saint Louis)Tournament record: 4-8Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: Automatic. RPI: 21Key players: Dwayne Evans (13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg); Cody Ellis (10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Kwamain Mitchell (10.0 ppg); Mike McCall Jr. (10.0 ppg).Best win: 60-46 vs. New MexicoWorst loss: 82-80 (OT) vs. Rhode IslandScouting the Billikens: This team rallied after the retirement and subsequent December death of coach Rick Majerus. The A-10 champions swept Butler in three meetings, and (with the exception of an ugly home loss to Rhode Island) looked tough every night. They've won 15 of their past 16 and figure to be a tough out.5. Oklahoma StateRecord: 24-8 (13-5 Big 12)Coach: Travis Ford (294-209 in 15 seasons; 104-63 in five at Oklahoma State)Tournament record: 38-24Last tournament appearance: 2010Bid: At-large RPI: 27Key players: PG Marcus Smart (15.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.4 apg), G Markel Brown (15.3 ppg), G/F Le'Bryan Nash (14.1 ppg)Best win: 85-80 at KansasWorst loss: 81-71 at Virginia TechScouting the Cowboys: How far the Cowboys go likely depends on their freshman All-American, Marcus Smart, but their tournament lives will be short-lived if they don't come out of an offensive funk during which they've shot 36 percent from the field in the past 60 minutes played, including 31 percent in a Big 12 semifinal loss Friday.6. MemphisRecord: 30-4 (16-0 Conference USA)Coach: Josh Pastner (105-33 in four seasons at Memphis)Tournament record: 32-24Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: Automatic At-large RPI: 13Key players: G Joe Jackson (13.4 ppg, 4.8 apg), Adonis Thomas (11.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg), G-F D.J. Stephens (CUSA-leading 67 percent FG)Best win: 85-80 at TennesseeWorst loss: 64-62 at XavierScouting the Tigers: After two early season losses caused concern, the Tigers rolled off 26 wins in their last 28 games, including 10 of 11 on the road. Memphis is an experienced, veteran team that has dealt with its share of adversity.7. CreightonRecord: 27-7 (13-5 in Missouri Valley)Coach: Greg McDermott (351-227, 19 seasons; 71-29, three at Creighton)Tournament record: 10-18Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: Automatic RPI: 25Key players: F Doug McDermott (23.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg); G Grant Gibbs (8.6 ppg, 5.9 apg), C Gregory Echenique (9.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg).Best win: 84-74 vs. WisconsinWorst loss: 74-69 at DrakeScouting the Bluejays: Creighton beat Wichita State for the automatic bid. This is the last go-round for the father-son tandem of Greg and Doug McDermott; the latter is a senior All-American who is lethal from the perimeter and is the top scorer in the NCAA over the past three seasons combined. This also is the Big East-bound program's last season in the MVC, which the Jays joined in 1928.8. Colorado StateRecord: 25-8 (11-5 Mountain West)Coach: Larry Eustachy (427-266, 22 seasons, 25-8 in one at Colorado State)Tournament record: 3-10Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: At-large RPI: 18Key players: F/C Colton Iverson (14.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 61 percent fg/conference), G Dorian Green (12.8 ppg, 3.8 apg), F Pierce Hornung (9.2 rpg), G Wes Eikmeier (14.2 ppg/conference)Best win: 66-61 vs. UNLVWorst loss: 64-55 at Illinois ChicagoScouting the Rams: Colorado State led the nation among Division I teams in rebounding margin. Minnesota transfer Iverson (averaged double-double in points-rebounds in MWC play), paces his team, which won four of five before a loss to UNLV in the MWC tournament. Colorado State was very average away from home, losing six of seven.9. MissouriRecord: 22-9 (11-7 in the SEC)Coach: Frank Haith (181-115 in 9 seasons; 52-14 in 2 at Missouri)Tournament record: 22-25.Last tournament appearance:2012Bid: At large RPI: 35Key players: G Phil Pressey (7.1 assists per game); F Laurence Bowers (14.8 ppg)Best win: 63-60 vs. FloridaWorst loss: 70-68 at Texas A&MScouting the Tigers: Pressey, seventh nationally in assists, leads a prolific offense that'll put up points (No. 15 in the nation) and ranks third in rebounding margin, led by Alex Oriakhi. Also, the Tigers hit their free throws, 74.4 percent, an invaluable asset late in tight tournament games.10. CincinnatiRecord: 22-11 (9-9 in the Big East)Coach: Mick Cronin (204-123 in 10 season,135-99 in seven at Cincinnati)Tournament record: 3-4Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: At-Large. RPI: 49Key players: G-F Sean Kilpatrick (16.9 ppg.) and G Cashmere Wright (12.6 ppg.)Best win: 71-69 versus MarquetteWorst loss: 53-52 versus St. John'sScouting the Bearcats: Cincinnati is a fine defensive team, allowing 0.89 points per opponent possession (11th in Division I). However, this is not a strong offensive group, shooting 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range. Jaquon Parker is their one real 3-point threat, shooting 41 percent from the arc.11. Middle Tennessee StateRecord: 28-5 (19-1 Sun Belt)Coach: Kermit Davis (345-213, 18 seasons; 208-138, 11 at Middle Tennessee)Tournament record: 2-6Last tournament appearance: 1989Bid: At-large RPI: 29Key players: G Marcos Knight (12.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg); G Bruce Massey (3.3 apg).Best win: 65-62 vs. Mississippi.Worst loss: 66-60 (OT) at Arkansas StateScouting the Blue Raiders: Middle Tennessee State dominated the Sun Belt before losing to Florida International in the league tournament, snapping a 17-game winning streak. Knight is the team's best scorer and rebounder.11. Saint Mary's (Calif.)Record: 27-6 (14-2 in West Coast Conference)Coach: Randy Bennett (235-117 overall, 11 seasons all at Saint Mary's)Tournament record: 3-7Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: At-large RPI: 30Key players: PG Matthew Dellavedova (15.8 ppg), Stephen Holt (11.8 ppg.)Best win: 70-69 vs. HarvardWorst loss: 65-56 vs. Georgia TechScouting the Gaels: Saint Mary's starts and ends with Dellavedova. He handles the ball a ton and took 145 more shots than the team's second-leading scorer, Holt. The Gaels lost three times to conference rival Gonzaga this season. None were close since Saint Mary's has few interior answers, where Gonzaga thrives.12. OregonRecord: 26-8 (12-6, Pac-12)Coach: Dana Altman (481-279 in 24 seasons; 71-36 in three at Oregon)Tournament record: 12-9Last tournament appearance: 2008Bid: Automatic RPI: 47Key players: SF E.J. Singler (11.5 ppg); PF Arsalan Kazemi (9.4 rpg)Best win: 83-79 at Nevada-Las VegasWorst loss: 91-84 (3OT) at Texas-El PasoScouting the Bears: The Ducks lost their way when freshman point guard Dominic Artis was hurt. Oregon uses traps and presses to speed up the tempo of the game. It also relies on a deep bench. Oregon rallied to beat Washington in overtime of the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals and won the title by beating under-manned UCLA.13. New Mexico StateRecord: 24-10 (14-4 Western Athletic)Coach: Marvin Menzies (126-78, six seasons at New Mexico State)Tournament record: 10-21Last tournament appearance: 2012Bid: Automatic RPI: 55Key players: G Daniel Mullings (14 ppg, 47 percent FG pct), F Sy Bandja (11.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg)Best win: 68-60 vs. Southern MissWorst loss: 86-83 at NiagaraScouting the Aggies: The Aggies shoot the basketball well, 46 percent as a team, led by the Mullings, their sophomore guard. New Mexico State is hot, having won five consecutive and six of seven, including an 18-point victory over Louisiana Tech, the WAC regular-season champion.14. ValparaisoRecord: 26-7 (13-3 in Horizon League)Coach: Bryce Drew (48-19 in 2 seasons at Valparaiso)Tournament record: 2-6.Last tournament appearance:2004Bid: Automatic RPI: 58Key players: F Ryan Broekhoff (15.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg); F Kevin Van Wijk (65 pct. field-goal percentage)Best win: 82-60 vs. Eastern KentuckyWorst loss: 63-54 vs. Loyola (Ill.)Scouting Valparaiso: The Crusaders go 10 deep and fit the stereotype of an Indiana-based team: Capable of shooting from everywhere, seventh nationally in field-goal percentage, and they hit their free throws. But 14.2 turnovers per game doesn't bode well for a long tournament stay.15. AlbanyRecord: 24-10 (9-7 in the America East)Coach: Will Brown (172-190 in 12 seasons)Tournament record: 0-2Last tournament appearance: 2007Bid: Automatic. RPI: 131Key players: G Mike Black (15 ppg),F Sam Rowley (6.5 rpg)Best win: 63-62 at WashingtonWorst loss:66-52 at MaineScouting the Great Danes: Only game vs. RPI top-50 was 18-point loss at Ohio State. In America East finals, Danes' bench outscored starters. Albany is 3-0 in AE finals — all against Vermont.16. LibertyRecord: 15-20 (6-10 Big South)Coach: Dale Layer ( 333-260 in 20 seasons; 62-70 in five at Liberty)Tournament record: 0-0Last tournament appearance: FirstBid: Automatic RPI: 287Key players: G John Caleb Sanders (14.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg); F JR Coronado (5.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg).Best win: 67-66 vs. Charleston SouthernWorst loss: 68-60 at PresbyterianScouting the Flames: The Flames became the second team in history to make the tournament with 20 losses. Liberty, which lost its first eight games, finished fifth in the Big South's Northern Division before winning four games in the league's tournament.16. North Carolina A&TRecord: 19-16 (8-8 Mid-Eastern Athletic)Coach: Cy Alexander (362-322 in 23 seasons, 19-16 in one at N.C. A&T)Tournament record: 0-9Last tournament appearance: 1995Bid: Automatic RPI: 213Key players: SF Adrian Powell (12.5 ppg); PF Austin Witter (7.1 rpg)Best win: 59-57 vs. Savannah StateWorst loss: 60-52 at Cal State BakersfieldScouting the Aggies: Before the conference tournament, N.C. A&T hadn't won more than two consecutive games all season. But after running the table last weekend, the Aggies are back in the tournament in Alexander's first season as coach. Witter, at 6-foot-8, is the undersized Aggies' best option in the paint with 6.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.