NCAA on the bubble: Virginia gets top billing for March

  • NCAA on the bubble: Virginia gets top billing for March

NCAA on the bubble: Virginia gets top billing for March

Virginia's first game is against No. 16 UMBC.

The Tar Heel state produces more Division I talent each year than most every other state in the country.

Duke (26-7), the No. 2 seed that plays Iona on Thursday, could face a potential Sweet 16 matchup against Michigan State.

The Big Ten has not won a national championship since No. 3 Michigan State won in 2000.

On Sunday, brackets for the 2018 NCAA Tournament were released and North Carolina's influence on the sport was evident. The Retrievers upset Vermont in the America East Conference title game Saturday 65-62 on a late 3-pointer.

Outlook against UNC: While obviously the toughest challenge for the Tar Heels on the way to the Final Four, Xavier has been billed by most of the sport's top analysts as the weakest No. 1 seed. North Carolina and UCLA were the other No. 1 seeds in San Antonio.

Marshall won the Conference USA Tournament for an automatic NCAA berth, ending a 31-year drought.

In the East, Villanova's toughest competition figures to be fifth-seeded West Virginia (24-10), whose pressing style can fluster even the most poised opponent; fourth-seeded Wichita State (25-7); and, should both arrive in the regional round in Boston, No. 2-seeded Purdue, which has had its best season in years.

Several area local teams made it to the Big Dance with eyes on reaching the Final Four. "That's why we play the games". Ray Hagley, the team physician who was on the plane with his wife. "It didn't look I was going to get the chance".

For the players, they've been watching selection Sunday their whole lives and now they finally get to be involved in it.

De Sousa held his own against physical Mountaineers big man Sagaba Konate, giving the Jayhawks a certain toughness they might have lacked without Azubuike in the lineup. Looking at those teams in this year's tournament, there are a few that aren't really considered title contenders. The Fighting Irish finished the year 20-14, and nearly managed to make the tournament, even with its best player, Bonzie Colson, missing 15 games with a broken foot.

Four teams of Wildcats are in the South Regional. "But they still play because they're just a little sore".

From the top seed in the NCAA Tournament - Virginia - to those that barely made it into the bracket - Arizona State and Syracuse - it feels as though everyone involved in March Madness is on the bubble this year.

"I don't know that he can be 100 percent", Self said after learning the Jayhawks' seed, "but there are a lot of guys who sprain an ankle and they're not 100 percent and you still play because there's not a risk of hurting it more".

The Wildcats - who lost to eventual champion North Carolina on a last-second shot in last year's Elite Eight - face 12-seed Davidson (21-11) in Boise on Thursday.