Duke Blue Devils (1) v. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions/Winthrop Eagles (16)
Duke won 13 and lost 3 to win the ACC outright and defeated Georgia Tech 65-61 for the tournament title. Ranked third in both polls, the Blue Devils will take their 29-4 overall record into the tournament against either the Winthrop Eagles or the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions before advancing the second round.
California Golden Bears (8) v. Louisville Cardinals (9)
California, which posted the best record in the PAC-10 at 13-5, lost the tournament final to Washington by the score of 79-75. The Golden Bears will enter the tournament with an overall record of 23-10 against Louisville. With a conference record of 11-7, the Cardinals finished fifth in the Big East, but lost to Cincinnati in the opening round of the tournament. Louisville brings an overall record of 20-12 in against California, which should advance to the second round.
Texas A&M Aggies (5) v. Utah State Aggies (12)
Ranked 23rd in both polls, Texas A&M posted a conference record of 11-5, to finish third in the Big 12. After losing to Kansas in the semifinals of the conference tournament, the Aggies bring an overall record of 23-9 into the NCAA tournament. Their opponent, Utah State, won the Western Athletic Conference with a record of 14-2, but lost the tournament final to New Mexico State University 69-63, to bring an overall record of 27-7 to the NCAA.
Purdue Boilermakers (4) v. Siena Saints (13)
Purdue finished third in the Big 10, posting a conference record of 14-4. The Boilermakers lost to Minnesota in the tournament. Ranked 10th by the AP and 11th by ESPN/USAToday, Purdue enters the NCAA with an overall record of 27-5. Its opponent, Siena, won the MAAC outright with a record of 17-1. The Saints also won the conference tournament, for a third time, downing Fairfield by the overtime score of 72-68. Don’t be surprised if Siena upsets Purdue.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6) v. Old Dominion Monarchs (11)
Notre Dame finished seventh in the Big East, posting a record of 10-8. Although the Irish lost to West Virginia in the semifinals, they will take an overall record of 23-11 into the tournament against Old Dominion. The Monarchs, who won the Colonial Conference, finished conference play in 15-3, and beat William and Mary for the conference tournament title. With an overall record of 26-8, don’t be surprised to see Old Dominion upend Notre Dame in the opening round.
Baylor Bears (3) v. Sam Houston State Bearkats (14)
Ranked 19th by the writers and 21 by the coaches, Baylor posted a record of 11-5 for fourth place in the Big 12. After losing to Kansas in the conference tournament semifinals, the Bears will move on to the NCAA tournament with an overall record of 25-7. Their opponent Sam Houston State won the Southland Conference with a record of 14-2. In the conference tournament final, the Bearkats crushed Stephen Austin by the score of 64-48. With an overall record of 25-7, don’t be surprised to see Sam Houston State advance to the second round.
Richmond Spiders (7) v. St. Mary’s Gaels (10)
Richmond finished third in the Atlantic 10 Conference, posting a conference record of 14-2. The Spiders, however, lost to Temple in the conference tournament. Rank 24th in the AP, Richmond advances to the NCAA tournament with an overall record of 29-5. The Spider will play the St. Mary’s Gaels, who posted a conference record of 11-3, to finish second in the West Coast Conference. St. Mary’s defeated Gonzaga 81-62 in the conference tournament.
Villanova Wildcats (2) v. Robert Morris Colonials (15)
Ranked ninth in both polls, Villanova finished fourth in the Big East, after finishing with a conference record of 13-5. Although defeated by Marquette, 80-76, in the conference tournament, Villanova enters the NCAA tournament, as the second seed in the South, with an overall record of 24-7. Their opponent, Robert Morris, finished second in the Northeast Conference, with a record of 15-3. The Colonials, however, defeated the outright conference champion, Quinnipac, for the Northeast tournament title. Robert Morris will put its overall record of 23-11 on the line against Villanova, which will probably win, and move on to the second round if not further.
ESPN, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website
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ESPN, Duke Blue Devils, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website
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ESPN, Purdue Boilermakers, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website
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ESPN, Siena Saints, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website
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