[1] Kentucky vs. [16] Manhattan/Hampton

Thursday in Louisville, Ky.


Coach: John Calipari.

Entry: SEC champion.

Key player: Karl Anthony-Towns (9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg)

Notable: The unbeaten Wildcats have trailed for just 178:56 of 1,375 minutes this season; 11 opponents have shot 30 percent or lower, including six ranked teams.

JASPERS (19/13)

Coach: Steve Masiello.

Entry: MAAC champion.

Key player: Emmy Andujar (16.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg).

PIRATES (16-17)

Coach: Edward Joyner.

Entry: MEAC champion.

Key player: Dwight Meikle (13.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

[8] Cincinnati vs. [9] Purdue

Thursday in Louisville, Ky.

BEARCATS (22-10)

Coach: Larry Davis.

Entry: American Athletic at-large.

Key player: Octavius Ellis (10.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg).

Notable: Davis is filling in for Mick Cronin, who took the rest of the season off after discovering he had an unruptured aneurysm in December.


Coach: Matt Painter.

Entry: Big Ten at-large.

Key player: A.J. Hammons (11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg).

Notable: A year ago, Purdue finished last in the Big Ten. With two capable 7-footers in Hammons and Isaac Hass, the Boilermakers have enough size to be dangerous.

[5] West Virginia vs. [12] Buffalo

Friday in Columbus, Ohio


Coach: Bob Huggins.

Entry: Big 12 at-large.

Key player: Juwan Staten (14.5 ppg, 4.6 apg).

Notable: The health of injured starting guards Staten (left knee) and Gary Browne (left ankle) might determine whether the Mountaineers can make a deep run.

BULLS (23-9)

Coach: Bobby Hurley.

Entry: Mid-American champion.

Key player: Justin Moss (17.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg).

Notable: Hurley, a two-time NCAA champion at Duke, has Buffalo in its first NCAA tournament. Moss, the MAC Player of the Year, has been dealing with an ankle injury.

[4] Maryland vs. [13] Valparaiso

Friday in Columbus, Ohio


Coach: Mark Turgeon.

Entry: Big Ten at-large.

Key player: Dez Wells (15.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg).

Notable: In the Terrapins’ first year in the Big Ten, Turgeon finished second — and in his first NCAA tournament — despite losing five players to transfer.


Coach: Bryce Drew.

Entry: Horizon League champion.

Key player: Alec Peters (16.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg).

Notable: Despite having the most inexperienced roster in its league, Valpo won 10 of its past 11 games to claim its second NCAA tournament bid in three years.

[2] Kansas vs. [15] New Mexico State

Friday in Omaha


Coach: Bill Self.

Entry: Big 12 at-large.

Key player: Perry Ellis (13.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg).

Notable: The Jayhawks won their 11th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title. Ellis is expected to be close to 100 percent after missing games because of a knee injury.

AGGIES (23-10)

Coach: Marvin Menzies.

Entry: WAC champion.

Key player: Remi Barry (13.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

Notable: The Aggies were in a class by themselves in the WAC, outscoring conference foes by 14 points a game. Opponents have made only 29 percent of their three-pointers.

[7] Wichita State vs. [10] Indiana

Friday in Omaha


Coach: Gregg Marshall.

Entry: Missouri Valley at-large.

Key player: Fred VanVleet (12.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.3 apg).

Notable: The Shockers have one of the best backcourts in the country with VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton, but can they handle bigger foes in the NCAA tournament?

HOOSIERS (20-13)

Coach: Tom Crean.

Entry: Big Ten at-large.

Key player: Yogi Ferrell (16.1 ppg, 4.9 apg)

Notable: The Hoosiers are back after a one-year absence despite losing nine of 14, and F Hanner Mosquera-Perea aggravated a knee injury in the Big Ten tournament.

[6] Butler vs. [11] Texas

Thursday at Pittsburgh

BULLDOGS (22-10)

Coach: Chris Holtmann.

Entry: Big East at-large.

Key player: Roosevelt Jones (12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.7 apg).

Notable: With Jones out because of injury last season, the Bulldogs finished under .500 for the first time since 2004-05. His return got Butler back on track.


Coach: Rick Barnes.

Entry: Big 12 at-large.

Key player: Isaiah Taylor (13.0 ppg, 4.7 apg).

Notable: The Longhorns started the season ranked in the top 10 but struggled badly the second half of the season, and they haven’t made it to the Sweet Sixteen since 2008.

[3] Notre Dame vs. [14] Northeastern

Thursday at Pittsburgh


Coach: Mike Brey.

Entry: ACC champion.

Key player: Jerian Grant (16.8 ppg, 6.6 apg).

Notable: The Irish have 14 more wins than a season ago; now they will look to make it to the NCAA tournament’s second weekend for the first time since 2003.

HUSKIES (23-11)

Coach: Bill Coen.

Entry: Colonial Athletic champion.

Key player: Scott Eatherton (14.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg).

Notable: The Huskies are in the tournament for the first time since 1991, when they lost to North Carolina; they went five times in six years under Jim Calhoun in the 1980s.