Cavs, Gators, ‘Cats, Shockers named NCAA’s top seeds


First Posted: 3/16/2014

NEW YORK (AP) — The surprises start right at the top of the NCAA tournament bracket: Virginia is a No. 1 seed.

They keep going throughout the matchups. Last year’s national champion, Louisville, was seeded fourth in the Midwest despite playing well enough to be considered a No. 1 by many.

And speaking of that Midwest region — Wichita State and Michigan are there, as well, making it three of last year’s Final Four participants all vying for one spot this year.

SMU, the team led on a renaissance by coaching lifer Larry Brown — nowhere to be found. And Michigan State, the team that geared things up in time to win the Big Ten tournament, is only a No. 4 seed.

Four North Carolina teams made the bracket. Duke picked up the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region and will play Mercer, North Carolina got a No. 6 seed and will play Big East champion Providence. N.C. State snuck in and will play Xavier in a play-in game, and North Carolina Central will take on Iowa State.

The tournament begins Tuesday with a pair of First Four games, and things get going in earnest Thursday when 32 of the 64 teams in the main draw take to the floor.

As expected, Florida earned the top overall seed and is No. 1 in the South. Undefeated Wichita State is on top in the brutal Midwest, and Arizona took top billing in the West despite losing to UCLA in the Pac-12 final.

In the end, the individual matchups mean much more than the seeding details. Still, some of the numbers the selection committee came up with this year were head-scratchers — yet another reason Warren Buffett felt perfectly comfortable fronting the insurance money to pay a $1 billion prize to anyone who can fill out a perfect bracket.

Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman, the chairman of the selection committee, said Virginia’s twin ACC championships — regular season and tournament — made the Cavaliers (28-6) the choice for a 1 seed over Michigan and Villanova, despite an RPI rating of 11.

“Virginia’s total resume was very impressive,” Wellman said. “They continued to impress us throughout the year.”

Michigan is a ‘2’ in the Midwest and could need to get through Duke, among others, simply to reach the regional final. The top half of the bracket includes Wichita State, Kentucky and Louisville.

The last bubble teams in were Iowa, which plays Tennessee in the First Four on Wednesday; and North Carolina State, which plays Xavier on Tuesday.

Sitting out was SMU — a team almost all the experts had securely in the bracket. Not the folks in the conference room, who couldn’t overcome the Mustangs’ strength of schedule: 129.

“When I saw Louisville (was a 4 seed), I kind of figured that they didn’t have a lot of respect for our conference,” Brown said. “But we only can blame ourselves, that’s the way I look at it.”

Led by Rick Pitino’s Cardinals, the new American Athletic Conference placed four teams in the tournament.

And while the committee didn’t show much love for the AAC, it did dole out plenty of at-large spots to the big conferences, while only seven spots went to the mid-majors. The so-called small schools took 11 slots in each of the last two seasons.

FIRST ROUND

At UD Arena

Dayton, Ohio

Tuesday

Albany (N.Y.) (18-14) vs. Mount St. Mary’s (16-16)

N.C. State (21-13) vs. Xavier (21-12)

Wednesday

Cal Poly (13-19) vs. Texas Southern (19-14)

Iowa (20-12) vs. Tennessee (21-12)

EAST REGIONAL

Second Round

Thursday, March 20

At First Niagara Center

Buffalo, N.Y.

Villanova (28-4) vs. Milwaukee (21-13)

UConn (26-8) vs. Saint Joseph’s (24-9)

At Spokane Arena

Spokane, Wash.

Michigan State (26-8) vs. Delaware (25-9)

Cincinnati (27-6) vs. Harvard (26-4)

Friday, March 21

At PNC Arena

Raleigh, N.C.

Virginia (28-6) vs. Coastal Carolina (21-12)

Memphis (23-9) vs. George Washington (24-8)

At The AT&T Center

San Antonio

Iowa State (26-7) vs. North Carolina Central (28-5)

North Carolina (23-9) vs. Providence (23-11)

SOUTH REGIONAL

Second Round

Thursday, March 20

At First Niagara Center

Buffalo, N.Y.

Syracuse (27-5) vs. Western Michigan (23-9)

Ohio State (25-9) vs. Dayton (23-10)

At The Amway Center

Orlando, Fla.

Florida (32-2) vs. Albany-Mount St. Mary’s winner

Colorado (23-11) vs. Pittsburgh (25-9)

Friday, March 21

At Scottrade Center

St. Louis

Kansas (24-9) vs. Eastern Kentucky (24-9)

New Mexico (27-6) vs. Stanford (21-12)

At Viejas Arena

San Diego

UCLA (26-8) vs. Tulsa (21-12)

VCU (26-8) vs. Stephen F. Austin (31-2)

MIDWEST REGIONAL

Second Round

Thursday, March 20

At The Amway Center

Orlando, Fla.

Louisville (29-5) vs. Manhattan (25-7)

Saint Louis (26-6) vs. N.C. State-Xavier winner

At BMO Harris Bradley Center

Milwaukee

Michigan (25-8) vs. Wofford (20-12)

Texas (23-10) vs. Arizona State (21-11)

Friday, March 21

At PNC Arena

Raleigh, N.C.

Duke (26-8) vs. Mercer (26-8)

UMass (24-8) vs. Iowa-Tennessee winner

At Scottrade Center

St. Louis

Wichita State (34-0) vs. Cal Poly-Texas Southern winner

Kentucky (24-10) vs. Kansas State (20-12)

WEST REGIONAL

Second Round

Thursday, March 20

At BMO Harris Bradley Center

Milwaukee

Wisconsin (26-7) vs. American (20-12)

Oregon (23-9) vs. BYU (23-11)

At Spokane Arena

Spokane, Wash.

San Diego State (29-4) vs. New Mexico State (26-9)

Oklahoma (23-9) vs. North Dakota State (25-6)

Friday, March 21

At The AT&T Center

San Antonio

Creighton (26-7) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (23-11)

Baylor (24-11) vs. Nebraska (19-12)

At Viejas Arena

San Diego

Arizona (30-4) vs. Weber State (19-11)

Gonzaga (28-6) vs. Oklahoma State (21-12)

FINAL FOUR

At AT&T Stadium

Arlington, Texas

National Semifinals

Saturday, April 5

East champion vs. South champion

Midwest champion vs. West champion

National Championship

Monday, April 7

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