Vitale: Surprises, snubs launch tourney

Vitale: VBDI's 65-team field

Vitale: Sluggish Tar Heels survive

Vitale: Special Dance stories galore

Vitale: All-Rolls Royce Teams (plus)

Vitale: All-conference teams (plus)

Vitale: Upset shouldn't derail Illini

Vitale: Chaney should keep job

Dick Vitale Archive

 Cardinal Question
Mike and Mike: Louisville finished No. 4 in the nation but got a No. 4 seed in the tourney, and Dickie V wonders why.

 Up: Huskies
Dickie V gives Washington a big Stock Up in his Stock Watch report for March 14.

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EKU's Travis Ford to face alma mater UK


Eastern Kentucky coach Travis Ford gets a chance to coach against his alma mater in the Big Dance.

Eastern Kentucky, the No. 15 seed in the Austin Region, faces an uphill climb in the first round versus Kentucky, the No. 2 seed.

Ford's EKU teams have lost to Kentucky in their two meetings during his five seasons at the helm (the Wildcats won by 15 and 29). Eastern Kentucky is 0-8 against its in-state rival.

Eastern Kentucky (22-8, 11-5 Ohio Valley) is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1979. The school is 0-5 all-time in the Big Dance.

Ford was the starting point guard on Rick Pitino's 1993 Final Four team at Kentucky.

Wow, the Syracuse Region bracket is really loaded, baby!

Look at the top three seeds: North Carolina, Connecticut and Kansas. Combined they have a record of 72-17! Think about the expectations for these programs: All three were ranked among the top seven in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.

Wouldn't it be something if UNC coach Roy Williams had to face his former employer, Kansas, in the Elite Eight?

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels could also face Duke in the national semifinals in St. Louis. These two ACC powers have never met in the NCAA Tournament.

In looking over the brackets, I feel that there's a lot of parity. Is there really a great deal of difference between the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds?

The bottom line is that this field has lots of talented teams. There isn't a team that can be called unbeatable (even though Illinois came close).

There is pride in getting a higher seed, but whatever your seed, you still have to go out and win six games to cut down the nets at the Final Four.

To me, there are about a dozen teams capable of winning it all. Many are capable of getting to the Sweet 16, but going on to win six in a row against top-flight competition is difficult.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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