Villanova Wildcats Shuffle Off To Buffalo Early For NCAA's

The First Round proper will then start on March 16 and 17, and after a insane schedule of dozens of games, the big championship game for March Madness 2017 will take place on April 3.

That could be a good match-up for Wichita State, which is no stranger to taking down top teams (beating Kansas in the NCAA Tournament two years ago). Not many are picking the Number-1 overall seeded Wildcats to repeat, but they will certainly be one of the biggest threats for the 2017 title in the nation.

Especially since some of the teams coming to SLC are already familiar to fans around here, namely BYU league-mates Gonzaga and Saint Mary's and Utah's conference foe, the Arizona Wildcats, as well as Weber State's Big Sky opponent, North Dakota. Top seeds have never lost an opening game, taking a 128-0 record into this year's tournament. Survive the most brutal obstacle course of this NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: North Carolina over UCLA. A junior, he is second in assists (84) and fourth in rebounds (4.7).

Kentucky G Malik Monk: The freshman standout averaged 21.2 points a game in the regular season, which ranks in the top 20 nationally.

The only argument against Vanderbilt is that the Commodores have 15 losses, which would set a new record for an at-large team, but even Jerry Palm has given up on that one. Ball is the engine for UCLA's offensive production with his court awareness, passing ability and athleticism. The defending champions were joined by Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga on the "1" line - a quartet that produced very little in the way of head scratching. He has 153 assists and only 39 turnovers. It's no doubt that this team will earn the overall No. 1 seed.

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It's a bracket so competitive, ACC tournament champion Duke got a No. 2 seed, Big Ten tournament MI received a No. 7 seed and Wichita State, which won 30 games, received a No. 10 seed.

No. 5 Iowa State vs.

Troy, the No. 6 seed in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, took down Texas State, 59-53, Sunday to claim the conference title.

Northwestern, the eight seed, plays No. 9 Vanderbilt.

No. 13 Winthrop vs. The Bears (21-12) are No. 54 in the RPI and fell to 1-8 against RPI top-50 teams. At least one team emerges from these "first round" games each year and I like either team to beat SMU here. They will be out to defend their 2016 NCAA Championship, and the road starts Thursday against the victor of Mount St. Mary's and New Orleans. The Shockers' worst loss came this season against Illinois State, which went 27-6 and really should have received more at-large consideration. Kansas has been at or near the top of the rankings for the majority of the season, which is why it was a shock to see them lose to TCU last week.

Kentucky is a talented No. 2 seed. It also was without senior forward Darryl Reynolds for a few games during Big East play, and fatigue started to show on those overworked Wildcats. Also, it turns out Wichita State wasn't as highly regarded as many suspected - the 20th-ranked team in the latest Associated Press poll only got a No. 10 seed.


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