April 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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March Madness arrives and Selection Day means it's time to fill out those brackets

March Madness arrives and Selection Day means it's time to fill out those brackets

Defending champion Connecticut, along with Houston, Purdue and North Carolina, are the top seeds in March Madness A category that began to decline even before the pairs showed up on Sunday.

Among the top four seeds only UConn heads to the tournament with the win. This earned the Huskies the No. 1 overall seed. The other three seeds lost in their conference tournaments.

Those weren't the only surprises during the final weekend of hoops before the sport's main event takes center stage.

The unexpected titles put teams like Oregon, North Carolina State and even Duquesne, none of whom were expected to make the field, in the field of 68 with the automatic bid that goes to the conference champions. Consequently, the teams they beat captured a handful of the 34 at-large bids Reducing the number of spots Available to teams on the so-called bubble.

Recent teams in Colorado and Virginia included, surprisingly, Boise State, which was not widely considered a bubble team. Those missing include Oklahoma, St. John's and Pittsburgh, all of which many expected to arrive on Friday.

The tournament begins Tuesday with two of the first four games, including a matchup between Virginia and a Colorado State team that few thought was on the bubble. The 32 first round matches will be held on Thursday and Friday. The Final Four is scheduled for April 6-8 in Glendale, Arizona.

UConn, which opens Friday against Stetson, is the favorite according to FanDuel Sportsbook He is trying to become the first repeat champion since Florida in 2006-07. The Huskies (31-3) are on a seven-game winning streak and are tied with James Madison for the most wins in the country.

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“We were the best team in college basketball,” coach Dan Hurley said. “Obviously next week for March Madness, who knows what's going on there, but obviously we've been the best program in the country this year.”

Best conference? The SEC and Big 12 placed eight teams each in the bracket, followed by the Big Ten and Mountain West with six each.

The shrinking bubble influenced the selection committee.

“This year is harder than all of my previous years combined. It hurts me to know that some very good teams won’t be able to,” Iowa State athletic director Jimmy Bullard, in his fifth year on the committee, said Saturday evening on social media. “Unfortunately you dance.”

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket And coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness