The 68-team NCAA Tournament field is now finalised, with Rick Pitino’s Louisville named as the top overall seed ahead of Tuesday’s start. And millions have been drawing up their brackets, including the American president.
The Cardinals secured the top spot after winning the Big East tournament on Saturday, and will compete in the Midwest region. Indiana, Kansas and Gonzaga were named as the No.1 seeds for the other three regions.
British interest comes in the form of VCU and Davidson, featuring Londoner Teddy Okereafor (above) and North Berwick native Ali Mackay.
After causing several upsets over the past couple of years, VCU will be in the unusual position of being favourites in their first round game, against Mid-American Conference champion Akron. If VCU’s high-pressure ‘Havoc’ defense is able to overcome the Zips, the reward would likely be a mouth-watering second round matchup with Michigan.
Okereafor has appeared in 30 games for VCU this season, but will likely play only a bit-part role in the tournament as the Rams have a number of experienced guards.
Davidson (seeded 14th in the East region) have a tough draw against Big East powerhouse Marquette. The Wildcats rolled through the Southern Conference with a 17-1 record, easily defeating Andrew Lawrence’s College of Charleston in the conference championship game.
Davidson retained most of its key players from last year’s SoCon champion roster, so Mackay has had few opportunities to get on the court, playing just 55 total minutes this season.
While the Big Dance is sure to spring plenty of surprises, one thing is certain – there will be a new national champion, after last year’s winner Kentucky were not invited to the tournament. UK’s form was patchy all season, particularly after star player Nerlens Noel went down injured, and an early exit in the SEC Tournament confirmed their fate.
The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday with the preliminary ‘First Four’ round, while the first round proper tips off on Thursday.
Here’s who United States President Barack Obama picked in his bracket.
Follow the whole of March Madness on ESPN America.
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