South and West regional previews today, East and Midwest tomorrow.
(1) Kentucky (32-2) vs. (16) TBA -- TBA stands for "To Be Annihilated."
(8) Iowa St. (22-10) vs. (9) Connecticut (20-13) -- UConn hasn't been seeded this low since 1992. The defending National Champions have lost more than half their games by five points or less this year. And Iowa State hasn't been to the Big Dance since 2005. Advantage: UConn.
(5) Wichita St. (27-5) vs. (12) VCU (28-6) -- Don't you hate it when the committee seeds a pair of mid-majors against each other? Last year's Cinderella (VCU) will attempt to wear the glass slipper yet again this year. Standing in its way: a gritty Wichita State team that has won 17 of 19 games since the new year.
(4) Indiana (25-8) vs. (13) New Mexico St. (26-9) -- Wait, there's a New Mexico? The Hoosiers haven't been to an NCAA Tournament since 2008. The Aggies are led by senior big man Wendell McKines, a 6-foot-6 double-double machine. Could be a trendy upset pick.
(6) UNLV (26-8) vs. (11) Colorado (23-11) -- The Runnin' Rebels have three wins over top 25 teams this year. Colorado hasn't even played a top 25 team all year. Plus, the Buffaloes' gas tank may be running on empty after winning the Pac-12 Tournament.
(3) Baylor (27-7) vs. (14) South Dakota St. (27-7) -- Most of the country is just finding out that South Dakota is big enough to have at least two colleges in it. Take that for what it's worth.
(7) Notre Dame (22-11) vs. (10) Xavier (21-12) -- Notre Dame started the season 10-7 before putting together a nine-game win streak that included No. 1 Syracuse, No. 24 UConn and No. 15 Marquette as victims. Xavier has had an up-and-down year and will have its hands full with the Fighting Irish.
(2) Duke (27-6) vs. (15) Lehigh (26-7) -- Duke will beat Lehigh, but could go down as early as the second round to a feisty Notre Dame team or a Xavier team that likes to hit people in the face a lot.
(1) Michigan St. (27-7) vs. (16) Long Island (25-8) -- Long Island could give Michigan St. a scare, but in the end, the NEC champs don't have the depth to pull off the first No. 16-over-No. 1 upset in March Madness history.
(8) Memphis (26-8) vs. (9) St. Louis (25-7) -- What the hell is a billiken, anyway? Memphis absolutely cruised to a Conference USA Tournament title, while St. Louis reaches its first NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Rick Majerus. Memphis holds the slight advantage according to Vegas.
(5) New Mexico (27-6) vs. (12) Long Beach St. (25-8) -- Long Beach State is dangerous, especially if Larry Anderson, the team's second-best offensive player, can come back. The 49ers are a different team with Anderson. Without him, their odds go down significantly.
(4) Louisville (26-9) vs. (13) Davidson (25-7) -- Both teams won their respective conference tournaments and both teams would like to make an Elite Eight like they each did in 2008. But Rick Pitino's Cardinals hold the advantage from a significantly tougher conference slate.
(6) Murray St. (30-1) vs. (11) Colorado St. (20-11) -- Both teams are led by a star backcourt, and Murray State gets to play in front of a quasi-hometown crowd in Louisville. Look for the Racers to eke a close one out.
(3) Marquette (25-7) vs. (14) BYU/Iona -- The toughest 14 seeds out there, BYU and Iona could present a stumbling block for Marquette. Iona point guard Scott Machado is as good a distributor as anyone in the country. Still, it's difficult to predict a first-round loss for Marquette, which lost just one regular season game to a team not in the field of 68 this year.
(7) Florida (23-10) vs. (10) Virginia (22-9) -- Virginia is sputtering due to a lack of depth through injuries and transfers. Florida is sputtering, too, winning just four of its last 10 games. From top to bottom, the Gators hold
(2) Missouri (30-4) vs. (15) Norfolk St. (25-9) -- Mizzou may never trail all game. Poor Norfolk State. It never had a chance.