The NCAA field of 68 is out and there are plenty of storylines. Let’s take a snapshot look at some of the most interesting nuggets that we compiled today.
Big 12 and Atlantic 10 stand out
The Big 12 got the most bids with seven, one more than the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten and Pac-12. The Big 12’s seven bids match its most in any season (it also had seven in 2010).
It’s notable that the Atlantic 10 has twice as many bids as the SEC and the same number as the ACC. The six bids were the most for the Atlantic 10 in conference history, surpassing the previous high of five, done three times, most recently last season.
The top seed
Florida enters the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. The only other time it was the No. 1 overall seed was in 2007, when it won the national title.
It’s been a long time
Virginia is a No. 1 seed for the fourth time in school history, but the first time since 1983. Virginia is the first No. 1 seed from the ACC not named Duke or North Carolina since Maryland in 2002.
Traditional powers seeded a little low
Kentucky is seeded No. 8, the lowest-ever for a John Calipari-coached tournament team.
Duke has never won the National Championship when seeded No. 3 or lower. The Blue Devils have only reached the Final Four once in nine tries as a 3 seed or lower, since seeding began in 1979, in 1990 when it was runner-up.
Quest for a title
Of the 35 national champions since seeding began, 31 of them were 1, 2 or 3 seeds. The other four championships were two by No. 6 seeds, and one each for No. 4 and No. 8 seeds. Villanova was that No. 8, the lowest to win the national title, in 1985.
The last time a team seeded worse than third won the national title was fourth-seeded Arizona in 1997.
The biggest snub from a statistical perspective was SMU. The Mustangs were hurt by only having four wins against teams in the RPIs top 100 and by their non-conference strength of schedule ranking (303rd).
The state of Indiana also went without a team being selected. This is only the second time in the last 40 seasons that a team from Indiana hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament.
Thanks to Wildcats, Panthers, and Tigers, the cat family has 11 entries in the tournament. The bird family (Blue Hens, Bluejays, Ducks, Cardinals, and variations on Hawks) has nine. The dog family includes the Bulldogs, Great Danes, Huskies, and Terriers.
Three states put all their eligible Division I teams in the tournament—Kansas (3), Nebraska (2—note that Nebraska-Omaha is still provisional Division I) and New Mexico (2).
There will be at least four games in which teams with the same nickname will face each other. Mercer and Baylor will meet in the battle of the Bears. The American-North Carolina Central matchup pits a pair of Eagles head-to-head. The Pittsburgh-Milwaukee game is the Panthers versus the Panthers. And Memphis faces Texas Southern in a battle of the Tigers.