Field Is Set For NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
Kentucky leads the way
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The work of the NCAA Division 1 tournament selection committee is over and the field is set for the tournament.
As expected Kentucky is the top overall seed and No. 1 in the Midwest Region. The unbeaten Wildcats will open play Thursday in Louisville against either Manhattan or Hampton.
The top-seed in the East is Villanova of the Big East. This is the second time 'Nova has been a No. 1 seed. The Wildcats will face Lafayette Thursday in Pittsburgh.
In the South Duke is the top seed. This marks the 13th time the Blue Devils have been a No. 1 seed. They open play Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, against the winner of the North Florida and Robert Morris game in Dayton, Ohio.
And the top-seed in the West is Wisconsin. The Badgers are the top team from the Big Ten and will play Friday in Omaha, Nebraska against Coastal Carolina. This is the first time Wisconsin has been a top seed.
The 68 team field is comprised of 32 teams that won automatic berths by winning a conference championship and 36 at-large schools.
And with that the quest for a spot in the Final Four begins. The first games in the NCAA Tournament are Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, in what the NCAA now calls the First Four.
Wildcats win again
UNDATED (AP) — Kentucky is headed to the NCAA Tournament with 34 wins in 34 games. The Wildcats won the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 78-63 win over 21st-ranked Arkansas. Willie Cauley-Stein scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Kentucky never trailed in the game.
Kentucky, the top team in the AP poll, is all but assured the top overall seed in the tournament, which starts this coming Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. The Wildcats are only the fourth team to go into the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana finished off the last perfect season with a title in 1976.
In the Big Ten title game in Chicago sixth-ranked Wisconsin needed overtime to beat Michigan State 80-69. The Badgers dominated the overtime session as the game was tied at 69 at the end of regulation. Wisconsin was both regular season and tournament champion in the Big Ten. The Badgers were led by Nigel Hayes and his 25 points along with Frank Kaminsky's 19. They roared back to get the win as they trailed by 11 points in the second half.
And in Hartford, Connecticut, defending national champion UConn lost in the American Athletic Conference championship game to 20th-ranked SMU 62-54. The Mustangs head to the NCAA Tournament with a record of 27-6.
— Georgia State clinched an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament with its 38-36 win over Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game. R.J. Hunter, the coach's son, made two free throws with 21.6 seconds left to secure the win. Georgia State, in its second season in the Sun Belt, will make its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2001.
— In the Atlantic 10 Tournament title game Treveon Graham scored 20 points and Doug Brooks made a huge steal in the final minute to help VCU beat Dayton 71-65 to win its first A10 tournament championship. The VCU Rams are headed to the NCAA's as the conference tournament champ
Tide fires coach
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has fired men's basketball coach Anthony Grant, who led the Crimson Tide to just one NCAA Tournament berth in six seasons. The Tide is 18-14 after losing on Thursday to Florida in the Southeastern Conference tournament. Grant was 117-85 in six seasons at Alabama with two NIT appearances and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
Hall of Fame coach has surgery
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. had intestinal surgery less than two weeks ago, and the school says he is recovering "beautifully." The school said in a statement the 74-year-old Hall of Famer, who led the Hoyas to the 1984 national title, had corrective surgery for a benign twisted intestine.
Thompson had a record of 596-239 in 27 seasons at Georgetown, reaching the NCAA Tournament 20 times. He retired during the 1998-99 season and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2006.