INDIANAPOLIS – The bracket is out and March Madness is finally underway.
The NCAA tournament selection committee went to work and unleashed the blue print for the annual madness on Sunday evening. 68 teams made the cut while others watched the proverbial bubble burst.
All roads lead to the Lonestar State this year as Dallas will host the 2014 Final Four on April 5 and 7.
This year’s top four seeds are Florida, Wichita State, Arizona and Virginia. The four regional sites for this year’s tournament are Memphis, TN (South), Anaheim, CA (West), New York City, NY (East) and Indianapolis, IN (Midwest). Next year the Final Four will come back home to the Hoosier State.
Headlining the selection show last night was last year’s national champion and current American Athletic Conference champion Louisville. The Cardinals were given the No. 4 seed in the Midwest region.
Florida was tabbed as the tournament’s number one overall seed and will play its way through to the Final Four in the South region. The past two top seeded teams, Kentucky and Louisville, both won the title. The Gators will play the winner of the Mount St. Mary’s v. Albany play-in game. Kansas was seeded second in the South region and will play the Jaspers of Manhattan. Other notable teams in the Memphis region are Ohio State, seeded sixth and UCLA, coached by former Indiana player and Manchester University coach, Steve Alford.
In the East it was the Virginia Cavaliers receiving the top seed. The Cavs will look to defeat Coastal Carolina in the first round and will face either Memphis or George Washington in the round of 32. George Washington is led by former Indiana University player Maurice Creek. Big East regular season champion Villanova will be the No. 2 seed for the New York region. Always competitive Michigan State (No. 4 seed) and popular 2014 Final Four pick Iowa State (No. 3) round out the mentionable teams in the East.
The Anaheim regional expects to have a visit from the Arizona Wildcats in the Sweet 16. The ‘Cats are led by NBA prospect Aaron Gordon and have a potential blockbuster matchup in the round of 32 with Oklahoma State and the Cowboys top prospect, Marcus Smart. Big Ten power Wisconsin was tabbed as the No. 2 in the region. Nebraska used its resurgent season to get itself in as the No. 11 seed in the West. The ever-popular Doug McDermott and his Creighton Blue Jays will represent the rest of Nebraska’s basketball fandom as the team from Omaha was seeded third in the region.
Indiana, “The Basketball State” will get geared up for next season’s Final Four by hosting the Midwest region this year. The Circle City will look to be the center of attention as undefeated Wichita State enters the region at the No. 1 seed. The Shockers will face either Cal Poly, a March Madness first-timer, or Texas Southern, coached by former Indiana head coach Mike Davis. But those games should not concern the Shockers as much as a highly anticipated matchup against Kentucky in the round of 32. Louisville will start its 2013 title defense in the Midwest as the Cardinals were seeded fourth in the region. Popular tournament pick Duke took the No. 3 seed while Michigan was honored with receiving the region’s No. 2 placement. Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds on March 28 and 30.
While fans in most states experienced the full effect of March Madness brings, here in the Hoosier State fans were experience the full effect of March sadness.
None of Indiana’s Division 1 programs found themselves with an invitation to the “Big Dance” for the only the second time since 1973. The last time Indiana did not get any teams into the NCAA Tournament was in 2005. That dismal season in ’05 was the first shutout for the Hoosier State since 1972, when the national tournament invited of only 25 teams.
Rubbing salt in the wound for the basketball crazy state was the National Invitational Tournament. Only the Indiana State Sycamores were able to receive an invite for the NIT. Upon being passed over for NIT invites, Notre Dame Indiana and Purdue all declined further postseason participation.
For those basketball crazies who are still interested, two other teams will be representing Indiana in the 2014 NCAA postseason. Both Valparaiso and IPFW will be participating in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament which will tip-off Monday evening. Valparaiso will host Columbia University on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Crusaders have a talented freshman class that includes former Triton star, Clay Yeo.
IPFW will play its first Division 1 postseason game when it hosts Akron on Wednesday night at the Gates Center in Fort Wayne with tip set for 7:00 p.m. Former Warsaw standout, Jared Bloom is a freshman reserve player for coach Tony Jasick’s Mastodons.
The final notable connection the Hoosier State hits home with former Warsaw standout Nic Moore. Moore is currently a starter for the Southern Methodist University Mustangs.
SMU caught national attention earlier this season by cracking the top 25 for the first time in decades. As the season wore on, however, the Mustangs lost critical games to inferior opponents before being ousted in the opening round of the conference tournament by an underachieving Houston team. A poor non-conference schedule would be the final nail in the coffin for the Mustangs tourney hopes as SMU was listed as one of the “first four out.”
The Mustangs are also coached by former Indiana Pacers head coach and basketball journeyman, Larry Brown. Brown has built the program back up after a down period and despite missing out on the NCAA tournament, the Mustangs id receive the number one overall seed in the NIT and will look to punch a ticket to the finals at Madison Square Garden.
The 2014 NCAA Tournament officially tips-off on Tuesday and Wednesday at the University of Dayton with the “First Four.” Tournament games can be seen on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.
A full bracket can be found here, courtesy of the NCAA.