[1] Villanova vs. [16] Lafayette

Thursday in Pittsburgh

WILDCATS (32-2)

Coach: Jay Wright

Entry: Big East champion.

Key player: Darrun Hilliard II (14.0 ppg, 2.2 apg).

Notable: Villanova won its first Big East tournament since 1995, part of a 15-game winning streak — with 11 of those victories coming by double digits.

LEOPARDS (20-12)

Coach: Fran O’Hanlon

Entry: Patriot League champion.

Key player: Dan Trist (17.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg).

Notable: It’s Lafayette’s third NCAA tournament appearance, all coming in 20 seasons under O’Hanlon, who was a guard at Villanova from 1967 to 1970.

[8] North Carolina State vs. [9] Louisiana State

Thursday in Pittsburgh

WOLFPACK (20-13)

Coach: Mark Gottfried.

Entry: ACC at-large.

Key player: Trevor Lacey (15.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.4 apg).

Notable: The backcourt of Lacey, Anthony “Cat” Barber and Ralston Turner guided the Wolfpack to marquee victories over Duke, Louisville and North Carolina.

TIGERS (22-10)

Coach: Johnny Jones.

Entry: SEC at-large.

Key player: Jordan Mickey (15.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg).

Notable: The Tigers gave Kentucky one of its toughest games, but they also nearly missed out on its first NCAA tournament berth in six years because of wild inconsistency.

[5] Northern Iowa vs. [12] Wyoming

Friday in Seattle

PANTHERS (30-3)

Coach: Ben Jacobson.

Entry: Missouri Valley champion.

Key player: Seth Tuttle (15.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg).

Notable: The Panthers stunned top-seeded Kansas five years ago. They were a No. 9 seed then, but they won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this time.

COWBOYS (25-9)

Coach: Larry Shyatt.

Entry: Mountain West champion.

Key player: Larry Nance Jr. (16.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg).

Notable: Earned an automatic bid after a pair of two-point victories and an overtime victory. The final, 45-43 over San Diego State, is indicative of Wyoming’s tempo.

[4] Louisville vs. [13] California-Irvine

Friday in Seattle •

CARDINALS (24-8)

Coach: Rick Pitino.

Entry: ACC at-large.

Key player: Montrezl Harrell (15.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg).

Notable: Including conference tournaments, the Cardinals are 22-3 in the postseason since 2012. Harrell, a preseason All-America, is the program’s career leader in dunks.

ANTEATERS (21-12)

Coach: Russell Turner.

Entry: Big West champion.

Key player: Will Davis II (12.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg).

Notable: The Anteaters had lost in their previous four trips to the Big West title game. Mamadou Ndiaye, their 7-6 sophomore, missed significant time because of a foot injury.

[2] Virginia vs. [15] Belmont

Friday in Charlotte, N.C.

CAVALIERS (29-3)

Coach: Tony Bennett.

Entry: ACC at-large.

Key player: Justin Anderson (12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

Notable: The Cavs scoring defense (50.7 ppg) easily leads the nation. Anderson just returned from a broken finger and an appendectomy, but he was ineffective.

BRUINS (22-10)

Coach: Rick Byrd.

Entry: Ohio Valley champion.

Key player: Craig Bradshaw (18.1 ppg, 3.2 apg).

Notable: This was somewhat unexpected, as the team starts only one senior. Belmont has made the second-most three-pointers in the nation since 1996-97, trailing only Duke.

[7] Michigan State vs. [10] Georgia

Friday in Charlotte, N.C.

SPARTANS (23-11)

Coach: Tom Izzo.

Entry: Big Ten at-large.

Key player: Branden Dawson (11.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg).

Notable: Seniors Dawson and Travis Trice hope to fuel another March run for Izzo. The Spartans shoot only 63 percent on free throws, which could be a problem.

BULLDOGS (21-11)

Coach: Mark Fox.

Entry: SEC at-large.

Key player: Marcus Thornton (12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg).

Notable: The Bulldogs are trying for their first NCAA tournament victory since 2002. They have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1996-98.

[6] Providence vs. [11] Boise State/Dayton

Friday in Columbus, Ohio

FRIARS (22-11)

Coach: Ed Cooley.

Entry: Big East at-large.

Key player: Kris Dunn (15.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 7.6 apg).

Notable: Dunn, who shared the Big East’s Player of the Year award, is the first player to lead the conference in assists and steals in the same season.

BRONCOS (25-8)

Coach: Leon Rice.

Entry: Mountain West at-large.

Key player: Derrick Marks (19.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg)

FLYERS (25-8)

Coach: Archie Miller.

Entry: Atlantic 10 at-large.

Key player: Kendall Pollard (12.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg).

[3] Oklahoma vs. [14] Albany

Friday in Columbus, Ohio

SOONERS (22-10)

Coach: Lon Kruger.

Entry: Big 12 at-large.

Key player: Buddy Hield (17.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg).

Notable: Led by Big 12 Player of the Year Hield, the Sooners have seven victories over teams that were ranked in the top 25 at the time they played, the most in school history.

GREAT DANES (24-8)

Coach: Will Brown.

Entry: America East champion.

Key player: Sam Rowley (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg).

Notable: Peter Hooley’s three-pointer in the final seconds against Stony Brook gave the Great Danes their third consecutive America East tournament title.