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Denzel Valentine finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead No. 2 Michigan State past No. 13 Purdue 66-62 in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game. And with that win plenty of speculation that the Spartans would get a No. 1 ranking in the NCAA Tournament – no so – Michigan State goes into the tournament with a No. 2 ranking – playing Middle Tennessee on Friday.
Michigan is in. The Wolverines are going to the First Four to play Tulsa, with Notre Dame then waiting for the winner in Brooklyn.
Remember Florida Gulf Coast? The Eagles made a surprising run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013 with then-coach Andy Enfield. They were Dunk City back then. FGCU won the Atlantic Sun again and will be in the First Four against Fairleigh Dickinson. The winner plays top seed North Carolina in the East.
Bubbles burst: Monmouth was left out despite wins against Notre Dame and Southern California. Unfortunately for the Hawks, wins against UCLA and Georgetown were not so impressive in the end.
Sharing the Atlantic 10 regular-season title did not get St. Bonaventure in the field.
South Carolina did not make it, despite starting 15-0 and finishing 24-8. The Gamecocks played a weak nonconference schedule. St. Mary’s was the West Coast Conference regular-season winner and beat Gonzaga twice, but got left out.
Teams that surprisingly got in: Tulsa and Syracuse.
It would be a better bowl game, but Texas and Texas A&M are lined up to meet in the second round of the West Region in Oklahoma City. The former Big 12 rivals broke off their regular meetings in football and basketball when the Aggies left for the Southeastern Conference four years ago. The divorce was messy with plenty of lingering animosity.
Texas is a sixth seed that opens with Northern Iowa. A&M has Green Bay in the first round.
Holy Cross, which won the Patriot League as the No. 9 seed and with an overall losing record, is headed to Dayton, Ohio – as expected. The Crusaders will face SWAC champion Southern in a First Four game with the winner getting Oregon in Spokane, Washington.
Wichita State is in, but the Shockers will have to play an extra game. The perennial power out of the Missouri Valley Conference was one of those top seeds that didn’t win their conference and was left to hope for an at-large bid.
Wichita State got it, but will start in Dayton, Ohio, in the First Four against Vanderbilt, another bubble team. Kentucky coach John Calipari touted his SEC rivals from Vandy, saying the Commodores were a tournament team when many thought they were not. Cal was right.
The first controversy in the brackets came quickly. Oregon, which won the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles, took the one seed that many experts though could go to Michigan State. The Spartans and coach Tom Izzo have been a constant Final Four threat, but they didn’t win the Big Ten regular season, just the tournament.
Two ACC teams – North Carolina and Virginia – on the one line could also be debated.
The No. 1 seeds are: North Carolina in the East, Kansas in the South, Virginia in the Midwest and Oregon in the West.
Playing on Sunday means teams and coaches have to make a decision about where to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show.
John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats chose to take the short flight home to Lexington after beating Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in overtime.
The Aggies have a longer flight home to College Station. So coach Billy Kennedy and his Aggies went back to the team hotel and ate a quick meal before the show started.
They hope to be in the first bracket announced so the Aggies can head to the airport faster.
– Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee
Michigan State holds off Purdue to win the Big Ten Tournament title. Now the question is: Will that give the Spartans a No. 1 seed. Kansas is a lock for a top seed. The other contenders: North Carolina, Virginia, Oregon and Villanova.
The brackets begin being revealed at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Yale has opened up Payne Whitney Gymnasium to the public and set up a movie screen at center court for fans to watch the Bulldogs receive their first invitation to the NCAA Tournament since 1962.
The team, which clinched the Ivy League championship on the road at Columbia, also planned to cut down the nets before the pairings are announced.
Yale finished the regular season with a 22-6 overall record and was 13-1 in the Ivy, matching the best league record in school history.
The team is 7-1 since captain Jack Montague was expelled from school in February.
The Bulldogs last week apologized for wearing T-shirts in support of Montague during warmups of their Feb. 26 win over Harvard, a move that upset many on campus. The school has not said why Montague was expelled.
– Pat Eaton-Robb in New Haven, Connecticut
For Kansas, a top seed seems inevitable. For bubble teams like Monmouth, St. Mary’s and Wichita State, Selection Sunday will be a long day.
The brackets come out for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night, closing out one of the most unpredictable seasons in memory.
Schools all over the country are tuning into a two-hour selection show that’s revealing the 68 teams invited to the tournament.
The contenders include 32 teams who automatically qualify by winning their conference title, and 36 at-large bids awarded by a selection committee.
The whole field is keenly interested in the subjective seeding battle, with bracket placement a big deal toward the path to a title.
But bubble teams were very much sweating the outcome of the American Athletic conference tournament, where Memphis tried but failed to beat UConn and squeeze out another bubble team.
The National Championship will be played in Houston, Texas on April 4.
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