Tournament at a Glance

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Big Dance at a Glance: Selection Sunday

At the Water Cooler
What happened Sunday
As expected, Duke, UConn, Michigan St. and Auburn got No. 1 seeds ... The Huskies were surprisingly shipped out West ... New Mexico , under fire for a weak RPI rating, drew a No. 9 seed (West) ... Mississippi State or Xavier may have a case for feeling snubbed, but on the whole the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee did a fine job.

Name to know
Arizona G Jason Terry , Sports Illustrated and Pac-10 player of the year. This 22.2 ppg scorer is the type who can carry a team deep into the tournament on his own.

Top storyline
A No. 1 seed has never lost in the first round, but a few 4s and 5s surely will.

Random speculation
Siena is this year's Valpo.

Tourney trend
Army fatigues. George Mason's star sophomore center, George Evans, is a 28-year-old Gulf War veteran. Patriots -- appropriate nickname -- fans have taken to wearing camouflage gear at games to salute him.

Who's hot

  • Rhode Island F Lamar Odom: Averaged 23 ppg during Atlantic 10 tournament, carrying Rams from Bubble oblivion to bid.
  • Utah: On 22-game winning streak.
  • Duke's offense: Averaging 93.2 ppg, tops in the nation.

    Who's not

  • UCLA: Blown out by Arizona to end the regular season, missing C Dan Gadzuric (knee), star G Baron Davis hobbled by sprained toe.
  • New Mexico C Kenny Thomas: Adding insult to injury -- already hobbled with a groin pull, Thomas must reverse a trend of stinking up the NCAAs, where he has a career average of 8.5 ppg and 6.5 ppg for generally underachieving Lobos teams.
  • Purdue: Boilermakers have lost five of last six.
  • The Cinderella Bandwagon
    Siena Saintly
    Creighton Poppin' Jays
    Murray St. Oh, Buck!
    Samford Princetonesque
    Gonzaga Gopher broke
    Delaware Hang Tenn
    Evansville Ace up sleeves
    Valpo Bryce ain't right

    By Dan Shanoff, CNN/SI

    Read a new "Dance at a Glance" Thursday through Monday throughout the NCAA Tournament.

    What we know,
    what we don't

    We know Duke is the presumptive favorite to win it all.

    We don't know if Auburn, a top-seed novice, can handle the pressure.

    We know Rhode Island -- off the Bubble just days ago -- looks like a dangerous team.

    We don't know who to root for between College of Charleston and Tulsa. With Duke up next for the winner, does it matter?

    We know New Mexico had a pretty sorry RPI rating.

    We don't know how the Lobos ended up with a No. 9 seed.

    We know Ohio State -- led by former Boston College coach Jim O'Brien -- doesn't look like a classic Big Ten Big Dance underachiever.

    We don't know if there is a less appealing first-round matchup than the Midwest's Villanova-Ole Miss snoozer.

    We know there will be upsets galore on Thursday and Friday.

    We don't know if any of the top three seeds in each region can be beaten in the first round.

    We know Duke, Connecticut, Maryland and Utah would make a terrific Final Four.

    A few rules for bracket-picking

  • Choosing No. 1 seeds to make the Final Four may seem safe, but you won't impress anyone.

  • If Utah coach Rick Majerus has a few days to prepare, he can beat anyone.

  • At least one 12 seed will beat a 5 seed in the first round.

  • Don't sweat first-round picks if you just think the winner will lose in the second round. (See 8 vs. 9, which plays a 1 two days later.)

  • As Arizona '97 showed, even a slumping team with a tough seed and a history of tournament flops can get hot. This eliminates any chance of reasoning your way through bracket picks with anything resembling rules.


    Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall, on the recruiting disparity between his team and Cliff Ellis' Auburn:

    "We are both big fans of McDonald's. He gets his players from their All-American teams, and I get my coffee there every morning."

    First Round at a Glance
    Matchup to Watch: Kansas (6) vs. Evansville (11) , (Friday, New Orleans)
    Everyone already has KU facing Kentucky in Midwest second round. Not so fast -- Purple Aces will surprise. Good news for Jayhawks fans: At least there's no No. 1 seed to choke on.

    Under the Glare: Bobby Knight, Indiana
    Too many recent early-round exits make Thursday game vs. tough GW a must-win in Orlando.

    Key Games to Watch
    Region Matchup Site
    East (5) Wisconsin vs. (12) SW Missouri St. Charlotte
    Subplot: Bears want respect? Earn it against Wisconsin's awesome D.
    South (5) UCLA vs. (12) Detroit Indianapolis
    Subplot: Injured Bruins ripe for early upset.
    Midwest (5) UNC Charlotte vs. (12) Rhode Island Milwaukee
    Subplot: Two league tourney champs, two hard-earned bids.
    West (4) Arkansas vs. (13) Siena Denver
    Subplot: Both teams like to run and shoot threes. Giddyup!
    The Glance picks Thursday's games
    Matchup South West
    1 vs. 16 Auburn (1) d. Winthrop UConn (1) d. UT-San Antonio
    8 vs. 9 Syracuse (8) d. Okla. St. Missouri (8) d. N. Mexico
    5 vs. 12 Detroit (12) d. UCLA Iowa (5) d. UAB
    4 vs. 13 Ohio St. (4) d. Murray St. Siena (13) d. Arkansas
    6 vs. 11 G. Washington (11) d. Indiana Florida (6) d. Penn
    3 vs. 14 St. John's (3) d. Samford UNC (3) d. Weber St.
    7 vs. 10 Creighton (10) d. Louisville Minnesota (7) d. Gonzaga
    2 vs. 15 Maryland (2) d. Valparaiso Stanford (2) d. Alcorn St.

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