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State politics in Carolinas clash with NCAA Tournament

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The Northwestern Wildcats react after being selected to play Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tournament

North Carolina was chosen as the eventual champ on 15.17 percent of brackets, while Villanova (12.98 percent) and Kansas (11.15 percent) were second and fourth most commonly picked. The Spartans shot 55.6 percent but the Blue Raiders - yes, it's the Blue Raiders, I looked it up - shot even better, both from the field and the 3-point line. This revelation comes as Duke was unveiled as the number two seed in the East Region on Sunday. It's incredibly rare to have a No. 12 favoured over a No. 5.

Spencer Weisz led the Tigers (23-7) with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. They played in their practice uniforms in their first game and ignited the Wolverines to win their first Big Ten Tournament Championship since the 1997-1998 season. 4 Arizona all the way to the title game, only to see them upset by No. 13 Oklahoma when a desperate Wildcats shot fell short. A matchup against No. 5 Minnesota is a good one for this team. "Of course this year we're not going to be able to sneak up on anybody like we did last year". Each year, large, free, Internet pools publish data on player behavior, and they publish it before your brackets are due on Thursday morning. You may remember Florida Gulf Coast from 2013 when it was christened "Dunk City" as the school made a run to the Sweet 16.

How those teams will get to the big stage in Phoenix - and who they'll have to beat to get there? Even if it kinda resembles Cookie Monster, the story behind the team and the mascot is something to watch in this years tournament. It would probably be for the best if college campuses were entirely self-contained environments where everyone there could just revel in their own amazingness without involving the rest of us at all. The Bluejays are ranked 19th in the nation in scoring (82.1 points per game) and third in field goal percentage (50.8).

"Luckily it was a week ago, so I'm just all past it, and we're all just focused on this game, being ready to go out and perform like everybody knows I can and we can as a team", Mitchell said. Michigan State, coached by one of March's true magicians, was a No. 2 seed and had what many believed to be an easy path to the Final Four.

And no NBA zealot is going to ruin it for college basketball junkies, as the first day of the NCAA Tournament-basically our Christmas-kicks off early Thursday afternoon.

George Mason's chances of winning the tournament were so slim that finding a person who actually bet on them instantly became national news. But they aren't beating North Carolina. No. 2 Kentucky will be a tough out.

Data from the athenahealth network appears to confirm anecdotal claims that the NCAA tournament is a popular time to get this particular procedure. The brackets produced tend to be very conservative in the first two rounds, include one or two surprises in the Final Four, and a strong but not heavily favored champion. The Sioux are 3-0 in overtime games and have won 10 of their last 11 overall. The Jayhawks lost to eventual champion Villanova in the Elite Eight.

The Zags have been a 1-seed before (2013), but that ended in a second round loss to No. 9 Wichita State, who wound up in the Final Four that year. But Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell will try to do everything to reach the Final Four.

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