State lands spot in NCAA Tournament

Madness level in March to be determined by this week's games

Madness level in March to be determined by this week's games

The only other real threats in a solid but not overly impressive East Region are No. 3 Baylor and No. 5 Virginia, but most of the other higher seeds face some hard lower-seeded teams like UNC Wilmington (No. 12 facing Virginia) or Eastern Tennessee State (No. 13 facing No. 4 Florida) and could perhaps offer a respite for the Cats if they take care of business.

As we can clearly see, UO has their work cut out for them. The Ducks cannot afford to look ahead with at least one Cinderella poised to break out from the Midwest.

UofL gets a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region and will play Jacksonville State, of the Ohio Valley Conference, Friday in Indianapolis. While I believe it's pretty much a coin flip on avoiding Dayton, I'll officially predict that the Deacs are forced to make an early week trip to OH to take on USC.

The upstart Michigan Wolverines are NOT this good.

If the Jacks win, they will play the victor of No. 8 Northwestern and No. 9 Vanderbilt.

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In the tournament, they will open play as the West Region's No. 8 seed against Vanderbilt (19-15, 10-8 SEC) in Salt Lake City on Thursday. They looked to be comfortably set up for a conference tournament title too until just before things got underway in St. Louis on Wednesday. They ended up facing number-one seed North Carolina in the first round, losing 83-67. In 2006, the Wildcats went 3-1 with wins over #16 seed Monmouth, #8 seed Arizona and #4 seed Boston College before falling to #3 seed and eventual national champion Florida.

Villanova still has five players who had key roles last March and April - Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Darryl Reynolds, Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges. A Duke vs Nova showdown would certainly make the east coast ecstatic. If they win, they draw the victor of a matchup between first-seeded Gonzaga and South Dakota State on Saturday.

What it means: North Carolina is a controversial choice as a one seed because the Tar Heels' resume has clear holes in it (seven losses, worse in some areas than Duke's or even Kentucky's). 3 seed while Butler is the the fourth seed. Kentucky is the No. 2 seed in their own backyard, but lost to UCLA in their non-conference battle earlier this season.

USC is a No. 11 seed and will have to play their way in against No. 11 Providence. At the end of the tournament the victor of our NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge will receive an interview. Around the clock, wall to wall, because many of us will do the talking, there will be as much Northwestern talk as anything else in college basketball's biggest week. At the very least, our golf swing is better.

"You're going to come back 20 years from now", head coach John Beilein said to CBS on the court.

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