The Big East put up a big number Sunday: Three No. 1 seeds in
the NCAA tournament.
Louisville, Pittsburgh and Connecticut helped the Big East, a
group originally created for basketball only, become the first
conference to put three teams on the top line. North Carolina,
regular-season Atlantic Coast conference champions, was the other
Louisville was the top overall seed in the tournament and will
play in the Midwest. The Cardinals will open against the winner of
an opening-round game Tuesday between Alabama State and Morehead State. Pitt was tops in the East, Carolina in the South and UConn in the West.
Of the four top seeds, Rick Pitino's Cardinals were the only
team to win its conference tournament. Louisville entered the Big
East conference tournament as the top seed, though Pitt and UConn
were more highly regarded throughout the regular season, each
spending time at No. 1 in The Associated Press poll.
Memphis (31-3) got snubbed, taking the second seed in the West
despite a 25-game winning streak. The Tigers are often downgraded
for playing in the less-than-steller Conference USA, but John
Calipari's team proved people wrong last year, making it to the
national title game.
In the West, it's No. 2 seed Memphis vs. Cal State-Northridge;
Missouri vs. Cornell; Washington vs. Mississippi State; Purdue vs.
Northern Iowa; Marquette vs. Utah State; California vs. Maryland;
BYU vs. Texas A&M.
Last year's national champion, Kansas, is almost completely
revamped this year and was seeded third in the Midwest with an
opening game against North Dakota State.
Arizona extended its string of tournament appearances to a
quarter century, and the 25th bid will be among the most debated.
The Wildcats were thought by many to be off the bubble after an
early loss to Arizona State in the Pac-10 tournament, but made it
as 12th seed in the Midwest.
In the Midwest, No. 2 seed Michigan State will face No. 15 seed
Robert Morris. In other games: Kansas vs. N. Dakota State; Wake
Forest vs. Cleveland State; Utah vs. Arizona; West Virginia vs.
Dayton; Boston College vs. Southern California; Ohio State vs.
Tournament wins by Southern California in the Pac-10 and
Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference cost a couple of
bubble teams spots among in the 65. Among the last teams to make it
were Wisconsin, a 12th seed in the East, and Maryland, a
surprisingly high 10th seed in the Midwest.
In the East, it's No. 2 seed Duke vs. Binghamton; Villanova vs.
American; Xavier vs. Portland State; Florida State vs. Wisconsin;
UCLA vs. Virginia Commonwealth University; Texas vs. Minnesota; and
Oklahoma State vs. Tennessee.
In the South, it's No. 2 seed Oklahoma vs. Morgan State;
Syracuse vs. Stephen F. Austin; Gonzaga vs. Akron; Illinois vs.
Western Kentucky; Arizona State vs. Temple; Clemson vs. Michigan;
LSU vs. Butler.
Teams that were left out included San Diego State, Creighton,
Penn State and Saint Mary's.
The ACC, Big East and Big Ten all had seven teams, the Big 12
and Pac-10 six each while the A-10 and SEC had three. Florida
missed for the second straight year after winning two consecutive
titles, and Auburn also was left out after a strong finish.