Big Ten sets record with 8 teams dancin’
The Big Ten had sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament a number of times before, but never eight. Until Sunday. Michigan State and Michigan got 2 seeds, and six others followed. A rundown:
• Michigan State (2 seed): First round: vs. (15) Bradley.
• Michigan (2): Wolverines drew No. 15 Montana.
• Purdue (3): vs. 14th-seeded Old Dominion for openers.
• Wisconsin (5): vs. (12) Oregon.
• Maryland (6): Terps’ first-round game will be vs. the First Four winner of Temple vs. Belmont.
• Minnesota (10): Richard Pitino’s old program, Louisville, in Round 1.
• Iowa (10): vs. No. 7 Cincinnati.
• Ohio State (11): vs. No. 6 Iowa State in the first round.
Michigan State gets a tough draw
We were wondering if Michigan State, the regular-season and tournament champion of the Big Ten, would get a 1 seed. Not only did the Spartans not get the 1, but they got sent to the East Region ... also known as the Duke Region. Ouch.
No Indiana ... that’s always strange
The Indiana Hoosiers didn’t get in. They didn’t deserve to, finishing the season 17-15 and 8-12 in the Big Ten. They were seen as a tilting-the-wrong-way bubble team going into Sunday, having lost to Ohio State in their first Big Ten tourney game on Thursday. But still, the NCAA tournament always seems a little weird without Indiana, doesn’t it? Especially since the Big Ten got eight in.
8? 9? ... 10, actually
We were hearing a lot of 8s and 9s for predictions on what seed the Gophers would get during the Selection Show. Then it came: 10. A notch or two lower than expected. But before Gophers fans get too worked up against the slight dis, here’s this: If they would have received an 8 or 9 in the East, they’d be facing the possibility of Duke in the second round. Not that Michigan State is a whole heck of a lot less intimidating, but still: 10 seems like a slight victory.
Badgers’ path blocked by bigs
Wisconsin starts with Oregon, and the Badgers probably would get Kansas State if they win. If Wisconsin advances again, it would likely face Virginia or Oklahoma. Battle of the big schools.
They can’t have all the fun
Of ESPN’s projected top-five programs in college football this coming fall, only one made the tournament: No. 4 Ohio State — and barely, as an 11 seed. No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and No. 5 Notre Dame missed out.
Lovin’ both brackets
Monday is Selection Monday for the NCAA women’s tournament. Some schools that could enjoy following both tournaments:
• Baylor. No. 1-ranked women’s program, and the men are a 9 seed.
• Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are No. 4 in the women’s poll, and a 5 seed in the men’s East Region.
• Maryland and Iowa: Big Ten programs are top-10 in women, and a 6 and 10 seed, respectively.
Could this be the year for Duke vs. UNC for the title?
Superpowers Duke and North Carolina have met in men’s basketball 251 times, but never in the NCAA tournament. It if happens this season, it would be for the national title, at U.S. Bank Stadium. Two schools separated by 11 miles in North Carolina would travel 1,200 miles to Minneapolis to play one of the most memorable games in the storied rivalry.
Not many more fun things in sports than picking an NCAA sleeper team and watching it win. Some trendy picks this year could be: Wofford (a 7 seed), Nevada (7), St. Mary’s (11), Vermont (13), Murray State (12) and St. Louis (13). Roll the dice, pick a team, root like mad.