Xavier is the top seed in the West region, and the Musketeers are clearly a tough team that knows how to compete. South Dakota State gave #1 seed Gonzaga fits for a half past year before losing. "And you can't possibly sit here and tell me that we're not one of the best 68 teams in the country". Healthy and hot, the Aztecs have won nine in a row, including two wins over Nevada in the last 10 days.
Thirty-two teams earn entry into the field through automatic bids by winning their conference championship. This might be his most talented team, with All-Americas Ayton and Alonzo Trier, but will the distractions be too much to handle?
Oklahoma State is another NCAA tournament bubble team that Lunardi had among his "First Four Out", so this win is huge for its resume. The Irish played without their top two scorers (Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell) and still found a way to win on a last-second putback by Rex Pflueger.
Northern Iowa 70, Missouri State 58 - At Moline, Ill.: Ellie Howell scored 20 points and Karli Rucker added 10 as Northern Iowa rolled past Missouri State in a Missouri Valley Conference tournament semifinal. That doesn't even look like an NIT team. Villanova, under Coach Jay Wright, is displaying consistent excellence. They improved to 17-14 the following year and have won at least 25 games each of the past two seasons.
Bubble teams Syracuse, St. Bonaventure, Oklahoma and Arizona State made the field of 68. All of those teams should play close to home.
The Florida Gators are dancing in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
To finish the bracket, the NCAA uses an application program to place teams in the proper regions based on mileage from campus, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Davidson beating Rhode Island in today's Atlantic 10 title game would take another. The Bonnies are an extremely balanced team, with a top 100 offensive (59) and defensive (94) efficiency.
According to Sports Illustrated, it marks the first time the show has not been broadcast on CBS in 36 years. If the Spartans can get to the regional final, they may face a Kansas team that beat them by 20 points in the second round previous year. That website says there is a 77 percent chance Nebraska gets in and has them listed as an 11 seed. Opponents are 38.4 percent of their points from deep and are rebounding almost a third of their misses. Both figures are the highest since the line was moved back a foot in 2008. The Spartans finished the regular season with a 29-4 overall record, winning the Big Ten regular season and reaching the quarterfinal before losing to MI in the conference tourney. "I had to ask my guys, 'How many of you know what state Boise is in?'" coach John Calipari said of the long trip his team faces.