No. 2 Arizona enters NCAA as the No. 1 seed in South Region
NO. 1 ARIZONA
Tucson, Arizona 31-3
The second-ranked Wildcats won the Pac-12 Conference Tournament championship in Tommy Lloyd’s first season as coach after taking over for the fired Sean Miller in the aftermath of a federal corruption investigation of college basketball. Bennedict Mathurin (17.4 points, 5.6 rebounds per game) leads a team that has won its past six in a row and 15 of 16. Not bad after starting the season unranked.
NO. 16 WRIGHT STATE
Dayton, Ohio 21-13
Trey Calvin’s jumper with 10.5 seconds left helped the Raiders edge Northern Kentucky 72-71 for the Horizon League tournament championship. Junior guard Tanner Holden leads the nation with 201 made free throws on 257 attempts, which rank second.
NO. 16 BRYANT
Smithfield, Rhode Island 22-9
Bryant routed Wagner 70-43 for the Northeast Conference Tournament title in a game marred by a brawl between spectators in the stand. The Bulldogs boast the nation’s highest-scoring tandem in senior guard Peter Kiss (25.1 points per game) and junior guard Charles Pride (18.0).
NO. 2 VILLANOVA
Villanova, Pennsylvania 26-7
The three-time national champions earned their fifth Big East Conference Tournament championship in seven years. Collin Gillespie (15.9 points per game) and Justin Moore (15.0) lead a lineup with six players averaging at least 9.1 points per contest. The No. 8 Wildcats are 14-0 against Delaware, including a 78-70 victory in the 2019-20 season.
NO. 15 DELAWARE
Newark, Delaware 22-12
The Fightin’ Blue Hens are making their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Colonial Athletic Association championship. They feature a balanced offense with six players averaging at least 9.7 points per game, led by Jameer Nelson Jr. (13.7).
NO. 3 TENNESSEE
Knoxville, Tennessee 26-7
The ninth-ranked Volunteers topped Texas A&M 65-50 for their first Southeastern Conference Tournament title since 1979. They enter having beaten No. 5 Kentucky, No. 4 Auburn and No. 14 Arkansas in league play. Guard Santiago Vescovi has sank 95 3-pointers this season and ranks in the top 45 nationally at 39% accuracy from behind the arc.
NO. 14 LONGWOOD
Farmville, Virginia 26-6
The Lancers earned their first NCAA Tournament bid after winning 19 of its past 20 games with a 21-point victory against two-time defending Big South champion Winthrop. Even better, their women’s squad also earned an automatic bid, just the third such occurrence in NCAA history.
NO. 4 ILLINOIS
Champaign, Illinois 22-9
The No. 16 Fighting Illini won the Big Ten Conference regular season championship but were upset by Indiana in the tournament. Seven-foot center Kofi Cockburn ranks 11th nationally in scoring (21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds per game), the only player to average at least 20 points and 10 boards per contest.
NO. 13 CHATTANOOGA
Chattanooga, Tennessee 27-7
The Mocs won the Southern Conference tournament championship on graduate David Jean-Baptiste’s buzzer-beating 30-foot jumper to beat Furman 64-63. They’ve won five in a row and are led by sophomore guard Malachi Smith, who raised his scoring average from 16.8 to 20.1 points per game this season.
NO. 5 HOUSTON
Houston, Texas 29-5
The No. 18 Cougars topped Memphis 71-53 for their second consecutive American Athletic Conference tournament title. They reached the Final Four last season and rank fourth nationally in scoring defense at 59.1 points allowed per game.
NO. 12 UAB
Birmingham, Alabama 27-7
The Blazers beat Louisiana Tech 82-73 for the Conference USA tournament championship and have set a single-season program record for wins. Junior guard Jordan Walker, who previously played at Seton Hall and Tulane, averages 20.4 points per game and was C-USA’s player of the year and tournament MVP.
NO. 6 COLORADO STATE
Fort Collins, Colorado 25-5
The No. 23 Rams fell in the Mountain West Conference tournament semifinals but are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013 and 11th overall. Their seeding is the highest in program history and they enter 4-11 lifetime in the tournament.
NO. 11 MICHIGAN
Ann Arbor, Michigan 17-14
The Wolverines earned an at-large bid and seek to reach their fifth consecutive Sweet 16. Coach Juwan Howard returned to the team before the Big Ten Tournament after a five-game suspension for hitting a Wisconsin assistant during a heated postgame handshake line.
NO. 7 OHIO STATE
Columbus, Ohio 19-11
The Buckeyes enter the tournament having lost four of five but went 8-6 against 11 teams in the field. They will be making their 31st NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth in a row.
NO. 10 LOYOLA CHICAGO
Chicago, Illinois 25-7
The Ramblers are making consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for their first time since 196-64 after reaching the Sweet 16 last season. They won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and are allowing opponents just 31% from 3-point range. Fifth-year guard Lucas Williamson averages 14.0 points per game.
NO. 8 SETON HALL
South Orange, New Jersey 21-10
The Pirates are dancing for the fifth time in seven seasons and are 16-13 in 13 appearances. They overcame a 3-6 start in Big East play to win eight of 10 games and feature a strong tandem in guards Jared Rhoden (15.9 points per game) and Bryce Aiken (14.5).
NO. 9 TCU
Fort Worth, Texas 20-12
The Horned Frogs enter the NCAA Tournament 3-7 but racked up some impressive wins down the stretch, topping then-No. 9 Texas Tech and then-No. 6 Kansas in consecutive games before beating No. 22 Texas 65-60 in the Big 12 Conference tournament.