The top seed, Alabama, was on the alert despite being involved in a murder case. The other top seed, defending national champion Kansas, is losing badly and has a coach discharged from the hospital. Another, Houston, just watched the team’s MVP fall into a heap Frightening injury.
March mad this year The top leaderboards aren’t perfect, but having these teams and all of their quests at the top of the bracket can make for exactly what the NCAA wants the tournament to be – a totally unpredictable mess.
Most of the drama in this year’s slide selection was resolved long before Selection Sunday.
Arizona and Nevada made it out of the bubble to 68 teams. Rutgers and Oklahoma State have not. Purdue, with 7-foot-4 Zack Eddy leading the way, It edged out UCLA as the fourth and final #1 seed.
And in a decision everyone saw coming, the selection committee left North Carolina, last year’s national runner-up, from the tournament. He made the Tar Heels the first team since expanding the bracket to 64 teams in 1985 to start the season ranked #1 in the Associated Press poll and finish it by not doing the Big Dance.
The team they lost to, Kansas, is trying to become the first back-to-back NCAA champion since Florida in 2007.
The Jayhawks earned the top seed in the Western Conference, but only got third, behind the Crimson Tide and Cougars. JHook is awaiting the return of trainer Bill Self, who went to the hospital last week complaining of chest tightness and concerns about his balance. He’s been laid off He is expected to return this week.
Selection committee chairman Chris Reynolds said it took into account every injury and every absence.
“It’s definitely something the committee has talked about during the year, and it certainly played a factor in seeding and selection,” said Reynolds, Bradley’s athletic director.
The panel didn’t ignore lopsided losses, he said: Two of Kansas’ March seven came to second seed Texas, by 16 and 20 points.
“They’ve flagged how they feel and we’re just going to do what we need to do to get to where we want to be,” said Kansas forward KG Adams.
The tournament starts Tuesday with the first four matches. The complete insanity begins on Thursday with 16 first-round games, then another 16 the next day.
Kansas’ loss to Texas in the Big 12 Semifinals on Saturday likely played into it FanDuel Sportsbook The Jayhawks placed at 10-1 to win the title, behind both Alabama in the South (8-1 odds) and the overall favorite, Houston (5-1 odds), who would play the Final Four in their hometown if they win the Midwest Region. The semifinals and finals at NRG Stadium are scheduled for April 1 and 3.
The Cougars lost their conference title game on Sunday, in large part because they were without Marcus Sasser, The scorer who left the previous day’s match early after slipping awkwardly and hurting his thigh.
Purdue likely found its way to the “1” streak when it won the program’s second Big Ten championship title Sunday, less than 24 hours after UCLA, also battered this season, fell by two to Arizona in the Pac-12 game.
For Alabama, the SEC championship has been a relative breeze—no one has stayed within double digits of the tide—unlike the past two months, which have been met with an almost constant stream of headlines. About a former player, Darius Miles, who is accused of the January 15 murder of 23-year-old Jama Harris.
“I’m not sure we were expecting that,” said first-time Tide coach Nate Oates of the Tide. “Being the No. 1 seed overall is cool. It says what an incredible regular season it has been. You still have to win games.”
The SEC and the Big Ten led the way by placing eight teams each in a 68-team field. Duke won the ACC title for the 22nd time and was one of five teams from that conference to have a relatively poor year.
But this tournament is always about more than just great schools with great pedigree.
Some of the teams to watch include 13th seed Iona, coached by legend Rick Pitino, who introduced the gale on the show for the second time in three years — and some people are wondering if he’ll be headed to a vacancy at St. John’s soon. Iona had a hard-fought tie-breaker in the first round against fourth-seeded UConn.
There’s Southern Conference champion Furman, who’s back in the tournament for the first time since 1980, and MEAC champion Howard, who’s back in the tournament for the first time since 1992.
There’s Kennesaw State, a program that went 1-28 in 2019-20 and now finds itself in the brackets. For the rest of the Dreamers, there’s Texas Southern – a team that won its conference tournament as the No. 8 seed and comes into March Madness at 14-20 to play a game against Fairleigh Dickinson.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top -25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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