suntimes
GRACIOUS
Weather Updates

Michigan State earns a No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament

Michigan State forward Draymond Green (23) guard AustThornt(13) celebrate after an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State final Big

Michigan State forward Draymond Green (23) and guard Austin Thornton (13) celebrate after an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State in the final of the Big Ten Conference men's tournament in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 11, 2012. Michigan State won 68-64. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

storyidforme: 27189724
tmspicid: 9820802
fileheaderid: 4524523

Updated: March 11, 2012 7:12PM



The madness in March Madness began before the brackets even came out. Kentucky, Syracuse and North Carolina all earned top seeding for the NCAA tournament Sunday despite weekend losses that brought even more intrigue to the three-week, 67-game tournament.

Michigan State earned the other No. 1 seed and was the only one of the four top-billed teams to win its conference tournament. The Spartans defeated Ohio State 68-64 in the Big Ten title game — a contest widely viewed as the game for the last No. 1 seed.

Next up, the NCAA tournament — March Madness — a 68-team free-for-all that starts with first-round games Tuesday. That’s the first step en route to the Final Four, which begins March 31 in New Orleans.

Kentucky and Syracuse each enter the tournament with only two losses. Both were shoo-ins for top seeds — selection committee chair Jeff Hathaway all but said so last week — though their recent losses certainly will add more guesswork to those millions of brackets being filled out at spring training sites, corporate board rooms and everywhere else across America.

Syracuse fell to Cincinnati in the Big East semifinals on Friday; Kentucky lost to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference title game, and the Tar Heels lost to Florida State in the ACC finals Sunday. Combined with Kansas’ loss to Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals, this marked only the second time since 2003 that the top four teams in The Associated Press poll all lost in the same week.

Kentucky, placed in the South region, earned the overall No. 1 seed and will open the tournament against the winner of a first-round game between Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky. No. 8 seed Iowa State will play defending champion Connecticut. Elsewhere in the South, No. 5 Wichita State plays No. 12 VCU, a Final Four team last year, while No. 4 Indiana plays No. 13 New Mexico State.

On the bottom of that bracket, No. 2 Duke plays No. 15 Lehigh, and No. 7 Notre Dame plays No. 10 Xavier, while No. 3 Baylor plays No. 14 South Dakota State and sixth-seeded UNLV plays 11th-seeded Colorado, which won its way into the bracket by winning the Pac-12 tournament.

In the West, top-seeded Michigan State will begin its quest for its seventh Final Four since 1999 against No. 16 LIU. No. 8 Memphis plays No. 9 St. Louis, as Rick Majerus takes his third team to the NCAA tournament. No. 5 New Mexico plays No. 12 Long Beach State, and No. 4 Louisville plays No. 13 Davidson.

The bottom of the bracket features No. 2 Missouri against No. 15 Norfolk State and No. 7 Florida against No. 10 Virginia. No. 6 Murray State plays No. 11 Colorado State, and No. 3 Marquette will play the winner of a first-round game between 14 seeds BYU and bubble team Iona.

In the East region, No. 1 Syracuse plays No. 16 UNC Asheville and No. 8 Kansas State plays No. 9 Southern Mississippi. No. 5 Vanderbilt plays No. 12 Harvard, and No. 4 Wisconsin plays No. 13 Montana.

On the bottom, No. 2 Ohio State plays No. 15 Loyola (Md.), No. 7 Gonzaga plays No. 10 West Virginia, No. 3 Florida State plays No. 14 St. Bonaventure and No. 6 Cincinnati plays No. 11 Texas, which made it off the bubble.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.