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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ohio St. enters NCAA tourney as top seed

NEW YORK (AP) Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh and defending champion Duke have been awarded the top seeds in this year's NCAA tournament, an expanded version of March Madness that will include 68 teams.

News photo
Getting their due: Nolan Smith and Duke won the ACC title and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. AP PHOTO

The Buckeyes defeated Penn State 71-60 in the Big Ten tournament final on Sunday and were named the top seed in the entire field. They'll play in the East region.

The tournament — and America's most-celebrated office pool — starts Tuesday with the first of four first-round games — the "First Four," as it's being called by the NCAA.

Kansas is the Big 12 champion and will play in the Southwest, while Pitt earned a top seed despite losing in the quarters of the Big East tournament and will play in the Southeast.

Duke beat North Carolina to win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to claim a No. 1 seed.

The tournament concludes with the Final Four in Houston on April 2 and 4.

In the East region, Ohio State will open against the winner of an opening-round game between 16th seeds Texas-San Antonio and Alabama State. No. 8 George Mason will play No. 9 Villanova. No. 4 Kentucky will play No. 13 Princeton and No. 5 West Virginia will play the winner of a First Four matchup between No. 12 seeds UAB and Clemson.

No. 2 North Carolina will play No. 15 Long Island and No. 7 Washington will play No. 10 Georgia, a bubble team. No. 3 Syracuse will play Larry Bird's alma mater, No. 14 Indiana State and No. 6 Xavier will play No. 11 Marquette.

In the West, Duke will start its journey near home in Charlotte, with a second-round game against No. 16 Hampton, while No. 8 Michigan will play No. 9 Tennessee. No. 5 Arizona will play No. 12 Memphis, the Conference USA champion, and No. 4 Texas plays No. 13 Oakland.

No. 2 San Diego State plays No. 15 Northern Colorado and No. 7 Temple meets No. 10 Penn State, which made the tournament despite 14 losses. Rounding out that part of the bracket, No. 3 Connecticut, plays No. 14 Bucknell and No. 6 Cincinnati plays No. 11 Missouri.

In the Southwest, No. 1 Kansas will open play against No. 16 Boston University and Lon Kruger will lead No. 8 UNLV against a team he used to coach, No. 9 Illinois. No. 5 Vanderbilt will play No. 12 Richmond and No. 4 Louisville will play No. 13 Morehead State.

Second-seeded Notre Dame will play 15th-seeded Akron and No. 7 Texas A&M faces No. 10 Florida State; No. 3 Purdue, winner of 10 of its last 12 games, will play the 14th-seeded St. Peter's Peacocks, while No. 6 Georgetown will play the winner of a First Four matchup between 11th-seeded Southern Cal and Virginia Commonwealth.

As always on Selection Sunday, there were plenty of head-scratchers.

There were teams that surprised some people by getting in: VCU, UAB and Clemson.

There were teams that surprised some people by getting passed over: Colorado, Virginia Tech, Harvard, Alabama and St. Mary's.

The St. Mary's snub may have produced a first: A coach who prefers college football's widely derided way of determining a champion.

"As a coach, as players, all you want to know is that you're given a fair deal," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said. "You need to go by the numbers, exactly like they do in the BCS" — the Bowl Championship Series.

Speaking of complaints, there were plenty of those directed at the Blazers.

"I don't listen to those guys," Davis said Sunday night. "They can put the numbers up that they want to put up, but you put every number up our numbers are better. Whatever personal issues they have, we're in and they can't vote us out. We're in."



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