Overall: 32-2 | Southeastern: 16-0 | Last 10: 9-1
Star power: Freshman Anthony Davis is a force inside, averaging 14.3 points and 10.0 rebounds. He blocked 157 shots.
The young Wildcats are likely the most talented team in the tournament, but they were just as young and talented the past two years and didn’t reach the title game. Not expecting them to get there this year either.
16 W. Kent./Miss. Valley St.
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Miss. Valley State 21-12, 17-1 Southwestern Ath.
Star power: Hilltoppers freshman guard Derrick Gordon averages 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds; senior center Paul Crosby averages 13.5 points for MVS.
The Hilltoppers were 9-18 after a Feb. 18 loss. Mississippi Valley State, NFL great Jerry Rice’s school, started 1-11. Their matchup should be entertaining, but neither has a chance vs. Kentucky.
Overall: 27-6 | Atlantic Coast: 13-3 | Last 10: 8-2
Star power: Freshman Austin Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, lived up to the hype by averaging a team-high 15.4 points.
Coach K has won four titles at Duke, but the Blue Devils have underperformed in the tournament more often than not in the past decade. Enough talent to reach the Final Four, but likely will fall a win or two short.
Overall: 26-7 | Patriot: 11-3 | Last 10: 9-1
Star power: C.J. McCollum, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, averages 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
The Hawks were competitive at Iowa State and Michigan State in nonconference play, so they likely won’t be intimidated. A good three-point shooting team. A very slim chance to advance.
Overall: 27-7 | Big 12: 12-6 | Last 10: 6-4
Star power: Sophomore forward Perry Jones III leads a balanced attack, averaging 14.0 points per game.
The Bears play an entertaining, up-tempo style and began the season 17-0. They were rather ordinary until a good Big 12 tourney. A talented team, but not expecting the Bears to win more than a game or two.
14 South Dakota St.
Overall: 27-7 | Summit: 15-3 | Last 10: 9-1
Star power: Junior guard Nate Wolters, who torched Washington in December, averages 21.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.2 rebounds, all team-highs.
First trip to the tournament for the Jackrabbits, who dominated the Huskies at Hec Ed. They do a good job of controlling tempo and won’t be an easy out.
Overall: 25-8 | Big Ten: 11-7 | Last 10: 8-2
Star power: Six-foot-11 freshman forward Cody Zeller (6-11) averages 15.5 points and shoots 62.6 percent from the field.
Storied program returns to tournament for the first time since 2008 and has just three tourney wins since 2002. After a 15-1 start, Indiana cooled, but you have to respect a team that beat Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan State.
13 New Mexico St.
Overall: 26-9 | Western Athletic: 10-4 | Last 10:9-1
Star power: Senior forward Wendell McKines is a force inside, despite being just 6-6, averaging 18.8 points and 10.8 rebounds.
The Aggies had a nice early-season win at New Mexico, and rolled through their conference tournament to earn a bid. This team won’t be intimidated, but it would still be a minor surprise if the Aggies won their opener.
5 Wichita State
Overall: 27-5 | Missouri Valley: 16-2 | Last 10: 9-1
Star power: Garrett Stutz, a 7-foot senior center, averages 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds for a well-balanced team.
The Shockers shoot a strong 48.5 percent (opponents were held to 39.2 percent). This is a deep team with good guards and good size. A great chance to win a couple of games, and capable of reaching the Final Four, but drew a tough opener.
12 Virginia Commonwealth
Overall: 28-6 | Colonial Athletic: 15-3 | Last 10: 9-1
Star power: Senior guard/forward Bradford Burgess averages 13.3 points.
The Rams have won 16 of their past 17 games, and they can handle the pressure of the tournament, having reached last year’s Final Four. Hard to imagine another run like that, but then again, who would have predicted Butler playing in two straight title games.
Overall: 26-8 | Mountain West: 9-5 | Last 10: 5-5
Star power: Sophomore forward Mike Moser, a UCLA transfer, is tough inside, averaging a team-high 14.1 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Rebels knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina in November. Coach Dave Rice did a nice job replacing Lon Kruger. Moser is helped by another UCLA transfer, Chace Stanback. A couple of wins are possible, but the 5-5 finish is troubling.
Overall: 23-11 | Pac-12: 11-7 | Last 10: 7-3
Star power: Senior guard Carlon Brown averages a team-high 12.6 points.
Colorado wasn’t supposed to be much of a factor in its new conference, but it won the conference tournament title. This team won’t win any style points, but it plays hard. The Buffs will likely lose in first round, but they should keep it close.
7 Notre Dame
Overall: 22-10 | Big East: 13-5 | Last 10: 7-3
Star power: Sophomore guard Jerian Grant averages 12.3 points and a team-high 4.9 assists.
Some bad losses in nonconference play, including a 20-point loss to Gonzaga, but Irish rebounded nicely. Team has six tournament wins in the past 20 years and hasn’t advanced past the Sweet 16 in 34 years. They won’t be around long.
Overall: 21-12 | Atlantic 10: 10-6 | Last 10: 6-4
Star power: Senior guard Tu Holloway averages 17.0 points and 5.1 assists.
Might have needed one win in conference tournament to get a bid, and the Musketeers got two. They were in the top 10 after starting 8-0. They are good enough to make a run, but inconsistent enough that a first-round loss also is quite possible. Slight edge vs. Notre Dame.
8 Iowa State
Overall: 22-10 | Big 12: 12-6 | Last 10: 6-4
Star power: Sophomore forward Royce White does it all, averaging 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists, all team -highs.
The Cyclones were good enough to beat Kansas and they won at Kansas State. Just one tournament bid since 2001. They’ve only been past the Sweet 16 once (the final eight in 2000). Not predicting a breakthrough.
Overall: 20-13 | Big East: 8-10 | Last 10: 5-5
Star power: Sophomore guard/forward Jeremy Lamb averages 17.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Defending champions weren’t the same without star Kemba Walker, who left early for the NBA. Lamb is a top talent and the Huskies can be competitive with anyone on their best day, but not expecting more than one win.