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bracket talk

NCAA Tournament: Bracket talk for the Midwest Region

Antonya English, Brian Landman, Greg Auman, Izzy Gould and Bob Putnam, Times staff writers

Why is Louisville the overall No. 1 seed?

Pittsburgh and Connecticut were ranked No. 1 during the season, but Louisville has the biggest No. 1 of all. What do we like about the Cardinals? It starts with defense, both inside and out, as they rank in the top 10 nationally in steals and blocks. And if you're looking for well-rounded players, able to score, rebound and assist with equal comfort, you won't find many to rival 6-9 Earl Clark and 6-6 Terrence Williams.

Did Arizona deserve to get in?

Arizona's streak is alive at 25 years in the NCAA Tournament, despite the Wildcats losing five of their last six and having a lackluster 19-13 record and a woeful RPI. Two top-10 wins — over then-No. 4 Gonzaga and then-No. 6 UCLA — helped Arizona's case, but the Wildcats will have something to prove against fifth-seeded Utah.

How many Fargo references will we hear?

Yes, North Dakota State made the NCAA Tournament in its first year eligible after transitioning from Division II. Did you know the Bison made the Division II tournament eight times, most recently in '97, but never made it past the region final?

The second-round matchup we like best

Opening weekend showdowns don't get much better than third-seeded Kansas and sixth-seeded West Virginia, two well-coached teams who lost to Syracuse in overtime. Kansas lost two of its last three and probably dropped in the seedings because of it; West Virginia took four losses to Louisville and Connecticut, none by more than six points. Watch out for the Mountaineers and freshman forward Devin Ebanks.

NCAA Tournament: Bracket talk for the Midwest Region

03/15/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 15, 2009 11:38pm]

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