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Everyone chasing Kentucky as NCAA field revealed



Undefeated, top-ranked Kentucky was selected the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, while Wisconsin, Duke and Villanova received the other No. 1 seeds in the tournament.

The seedings and matchups for the 68-team field were announced Sunday afternoon, with the Final Four set for April 4 and 6 in Indianapolis.

The selection committee made several controversial decisions regarding its choices of the 36 at-large teams, with UCLA, Indiana, Mississippi, BYU, Texas and Boise State making the field, while Temple, Colorado State, Miami (Fla.), Old Dominion, Tulsa and Texas A&M were among those left out.

There was no debate about Kentucky, however.

At 34-0, the Wildcats swept through the Southeastern Conference with a roster so talented that Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said the top five on the Wildcats’ bench could be the second-ranked team in the nation. Kentucky is No. 1 in the Midwest and plays its first two tournament games in Louisville, Ky.

“My concern right now is just making sure we’re in a great frame of mind, and this team right now is,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “We’ll take (Monday) completely off from basketball. We might watch some tape later (Monday) night, and that tape is going to be our Arkansas game. And it won’t even be with me. It’ll be with the staff. …

“You’ve got eight teams, and in my opinion, from that eight someone’s going to win the whole thing. After that, there’s some teams that have the chance to advance and do some stuff. But those eight teams? They’re really good.

The No. 2 seed in Midwest is Kansas, the Big 12 regular-season champ, and the Jayhawks would face Kentucky in the Elite Eight if both teams get that far. Notre Dame, the ACC tournament champ, is No. 3 in the Midwest, with Maryland at No. 4.

Wisconsin, which beat Michigan State in overtime in the Big Ten title game Sunday, is the No. 1 seed in the West, and selection committee chairman Scott Barnes said the Badgers would have been a No. 1 seed even if they had lost to the Spartans.

Wisconsin won a school-record 31 games in claiming the Big Ten championship in the regular season and the postseason tournament. Coach Bo Ryan guided the Badgers to the Final Four in Arlington, Texas, in 2014 behind All-America forward Frank Kaminsky. Now a senior, Kaminsky was the West Region Most Outstanding Player in 2014 before the Badgers lost to Kentucky in a national semifinal.

“It’s awesome. First No. 1 seed in program history,” Kaminsky said. “That’s an accomplishment in and of itself, but we have a lot of goals and aspirations in the NCAA Tournament. So we’re going to prepare for our first game and be ready we tip the ball up.”

Arizona, which received consideration for a No. 1 seed, according to Barnes, is the No. 2 seed in the West, and would face No. 3 seed Baylor if both teams reach the Sweet 16.

North Carolina is the No. 4 seed in that region.

Villanova received the top seed in the East, while Virginia, the ACC regular-season champ, is the second seed. The Cavaliers seemed to be in line for a No. 1 seed until they lost to North Carolina in the ACC tournament semifinals.

Even at 32-2, Villanova lacked the pristine resume of some of the competition for a top seed. The Big East regular-season and postseason champions went 5-1 against teams ranked in the RPI Top 25, with wins at Butler, at Providence and against VCU in Philadelphia. Arguably, Villanova’s victories don’t stack up in terms of pure cachet to several No. 2 seeds. The Wildcats mastered the tests they received, and the selection committee rewarded them.

Villanova’s opening opponent is Lafayette, coached by Fran O’ Hanlon, a Villanova graduate.

“In one way, this stinks,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright said according to the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. “In another way, I’ m sure it’s going to make a great story and all that.

“The other thing is, (Lafayette is) really good.”

Oklahoma of the Big 12 got the No. 3 seed in the East, and Louisville is No. 4.

Duke, which won neither the ACC regular-season nor tournament title, earned the No. 1 seed in the South

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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