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NCAA D-I Men's Basketball Tournament: Orange in, Irish out

Field Level Media
March 11. 2018 8:51PM
Kansas Jayhawks forward Silvio De Sousa dunks as West Virginia Mountaineers forward Sagaba Konate looks on during the second half of the Big 12 Tournament Championship game at Sprint Center on Saturday. (William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports)

Syracuse, Arizona State, UCLA and St. Bonaventure received the final four at-large bids for the 2018 NCAA Tournament, while Baylor, Saint Mary’s, Southern California and Notre Dame were left out when the 68-team bracket was revealed on Sunday.

Virginia garnered the top overall seed of the bracket, but the Cavaliers’ path won’t be easy, as Arizona (a No. 4 seed) or Kentucky (a No. 5 seed) could well be waiting in the Sweet 16, not to mention Cincinnati (No. 2) and Tennessee (No. 3) also in the region. 

Villanova, Kansas and Xavier round out the No. 1 seeds, with Cincinnati, Purdue, North Carolina and Duke claiming No. 2 seeds. The Atlantic Coast Conference led the way overall with nine teams in the field.

Teams that just missed out can blame Davidson, which claimed an automatic bid by knocking off No. 25 Rhode Island on Sunday for the Atlantic 10 title. The Rams’ resume was plenty strong enough to get them in the field (a No. 7 seed), denying one other team – perhaps the Fighting Irish — an at-large bid.

Notre Dame did its best to strengthen its case late in the season after forward Bonzie Colson returned from injury, going 3-2 with a close loss to Virginia, but it wasn’t enough.

The Fighting Irish’s RPI of 33 was the third-highest RPI of teams that were left out, behind Saint Mary’s (26) and Louisville (30).

The Gaels were ranked 20th in the country when they fell to BYU on Monday in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament, ending a 28-5 season in disappointment.

Among the intriguing Round of 64 matchups will be eighth-seeded Creighton against ninth-seeded Kansas State, with Bluejays star Marcus Foster going up against his former team, and upstart Davidson (No. 12) facing off with Kentucky.

Oklahoma and star point guard Trae Young garnered a No. 10 seed in the Midwest region and will take on URI, with the winner likely facing Duke in the Round of 32. The Midwest could be in for some fireworks, with three of college basketball’s longtime powers — Kansas (No. 1), Duke (No. 2) and Michigan State (No. 3) — landing in the region.

Tournament action will kick off with the First Four on Tuesday and Wednesday before the rest of the field tips off on Thursday and Friday. The Sun Devils and Orange will battle for the right to face TCU, and the Bruins will face the Bonnies with Florida awaiting the winner. Also in the First Four will be LIU Brooklyn against Radford and North Carolina Central against Texas Southern.

The complete bracket can be viewed below or by clicking here.