NCAA's Midwest Regional is loaded

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: March 17, 2014 - 12:02 AM

Top seed Wichita State will be running with the blue bloods. Say hello, Shockers, to Michigan, Louisville, Duke, Kentucky.

hide

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said of the Midwest lineup: “It’s a stacked bracket, but we didn’t anticipate an easy task.”

Photo: Jaime Green • Wichita Eagle,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Wichita State’s reward for a perfect regular season is a loaded Midwest Region, where the top-seeded Shockers will be joined by fellow Final Four participants Michigan and Louisville from a year ago and two of the titans of college hoops.

Now that’s something for the Shockers to be angry about.

Coach Gregg Marshall’s team landed the first No. 1 seed in school history on Sunday night and will begin play Friday in St. Louis, where it ran its record to 34-0 by winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title last weekend. The Shockers will open against the winner of a First Four game between Cal Poly and Texas Southern.

Also inhabiting the Midwest are the second-seeded Wolverines and fourth-seeded Cardinals, who played each other in last year’s title game won by Louisville. Then there’s No. 3 seed Duke and No. 8 seed Kentucky, two programs with March pedigrees that match up with anybody.

Not much of a prize for Wichita State, the first school to reach the NCAA tournament with a perfect record since UNLV in 1991. In fact, the minefield might just give the Shockers a good reason to keep “playing angry,” that mantra they’ve adopted over the past couple of years.

“I feel like I have something to prove, and my teammates have something to prove,” Shockers star Cleanthony Early said. “And when you will be facing programs that people think you can’t beat, those are the types of challenges you need to prove yourself.”

Assuming the Shockers don’t become the first top seed to lose to a No. 16, a fascinating round-of-32 game awaits.

Kentucky takes on ninth-seeded Kansas State, which means the Shockers will either meet one of the game’s bluest bloods or a home-state program that it hasn’t played in more than a decade.

“It’s a stacked bracket, but we didn’t anticipate an easy task,” Marshall said.

The seeding of Louisville may have been the biggest surprise of the bracket, though, and the biggest reason why coaches were calling the Midwest the toughest of the four regions.

Many people thought the Cardinals had earned a second or third seed, and coach Rick Pitino — admittedly biased — thought his team had done enough to warrant a No. 1. After all, his team has won five straight and 12 of its last 13, including the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The NCAA selection committee thought differently.

“You look at the number four line and we have some great teams,” committee chairman Ron Wellman said. “We look at the total résumé, though. Right now, if you ask anybody, Louisville is playing as well as anyone, and the committee certainly agrees with that. However, we look at the total body of work, comparing everything they did from November through March.”

Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said that Pitino wouldn’t comment on the seeding.

Regardless, the Cardinals aren’t the only hot team placed in the Midwest Region.

Michigan had won seven straight before falling to No. 22 Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, while Duke advanced to the ACC title game, where it lost to No. 6 Virginia.

Then there’s Kentucky, which is starting to play like the team that began the season No. 1 in the nation. The Wildcats pounded LSU and Georgia in the SEC tournament, then came within a breath of knocking off Florida — the NCAA tournament’s overall No. 1 seed — in Sunday’s title game.

  • related content

  • Michigan coach John Beilein gave directions to guard Nik Stauskas during the first half of Sunday’s Big Ten title game against Michigan State.

  • Montrezl Harrell was part of Louisville’s national championship team in 2013. Three of last year’s Final Four teams landed in the Midwest Region.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
Chicago WSox 0 FINAL
San Diego 5
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Cleveland 9
Seattle 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 7 FINAL
Arizona 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Chicago 84 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 114 FINAL
Orlando 119
Utah 89 FINAL
Philadelphia 83
Miami 97 FINAL
Washington 99
Toronto 94 FINAL
Charlotte 103
Cleveland 97 FINAL
Atlanta 106
Boston 104 FINAL
New Orleans 98
Detroit 93 FINAL
Houston 103
LA Lakers 90 FINAL
Memphis 97
Phoenix 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 100
Denver 111 FINAL
San Antonio 120
Dallas 47 3rd Qtr 8:23
Golden State 58
Columbus 3 FINAL
New Jersey 2
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Carolina 1
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Calgary 5 FINAL
Detroit 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL(SO)
Chicago 2
Pittsburgh 4 3rd Prd 14:26
Anaheim 0
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 69 FINAL
Elon 74
Gardner-Webb 72 FINAL
High Point 71
Samford 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Northern Ill 71 FINAL
Ball State 67
Bowling Green 75 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Brown 69 FINAL
Dartmouth 75
Toledo 59 FINAL
Eastern Mich 85
Akron 77 FINAL
Kent State 79
Ill-Chicago 72 FINAL
Oakland 69
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Ohio 95
Columbia 46 FINAL
Penn 54
Cornell 53 FINAL
Princeton 66
Central Mich 62 FINAL
Western Mich 74
Bradley 46 FINAL
Northern Iowa 71
Morehead State 77 FINAL
Murray State 80
Yale 62 FINAL
Harvard 52
Furman 73 FINAL
Citadel 56
Coll of Charleston 56 FINAL
Drexel 48
UNC-Asheville 57 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 74
Texas Tech 74 FINAL
Baylor 77
Pacific 58 FINAL
San Francisco 62
Loyola-Chicago 81 FINAL
Indiana State 53
Detroit 53 FINAL
Cleveland State 70
Belmont 53 2nd Half 0:05
Eastern Ky 52
Loyola Marymount 17 1st Half 6:22
Santa Clara 26
Chicago 0 2nd Half 7:00
Los Angeles 2
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
UCLA 62 FINAL
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 43 FINAL
(7) Florida State 82
SMU 59 FINAL
Memphis 71
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Rhode Island 53 FINAL
Duquesne 66
North Florida 35 FINAL
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 74
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
Jacksonville 55
USC Upstate 45 FINAL
Northern Ky 64
Lipscomb 69 FINAL
Stetson 92
Nebraska 65 FINAL
(14) Iowa 74
Saint Peters 57 FINAL
Marist 62
Navy 60 FINAL
Bucknell 49
Lafayette 56 FINAL
American Univ 79
Colgate 45 FINAL
Army 48
Georgia 41 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 75
Dartmouth 71 FINAL
Brown 53
Penn 50 FINAL
Columbia 36
(13) Princeton 70 FINAL
Cornell 37
Kansas 49 FINAL
Kansas State 57
Harvard 68 FINAL
Yale 63
(15) North Carolina 75 FINAL
(10) Louisville 77
San Jose St 99 FINAL
UNLV 97
Houston 39 FINAL
Tulane 64
Utah State 58 FINAL
Colorado State 76
Colorado 68 FINAL
(8) Oregon State 65
New Mexico 66 FINAL
Wyoming 55
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Ohio State 83
(12) Kentucky 76 FINAL
(11) Miss State 67
San Diego State 44 FINAL
Nevada 50
Niagara 57 FINAL
Fairfield 65
Texas Tech 40 FINAL
West Virginia 59
Boise State 52 1st OT 3:13
Fresno State 50
Washington 21 1st Half 5:26
California 24
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close