NCAA Tournament Preview
March 12, 2000
INDIANAPOLIS - Duke and Michigan State, top seeds last season, and Stanford and Arizona, both from the Pac-10, were selected Sunday as the No. 1 seeds for the NCAA tournament.
Cincinnati, which had been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll for 12 weeks but lost center Kenyon Martin to a broken leg last week, was seeded second.
Duke, seeded No. 1 for the third straight year and the national runner-up last season, was the top team in the East. The Blue Devils (27-4) will play 16th-seeded Lamar, the only team in the field with a .500 record, on Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Michigan State (26-7), which reached the Final Four last season, was No. 1 in the Midwest and will play No. 16 Valparaiso on Thursday in Cleveland.
Arizona (26-6), the Pac-10 champion, was No. 1 in the West and will play No. 16 Jackson State on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Stanford (26-3), which lost twice to Arizona this season, was selected as a No. 1 seed for the first time and will play in the South, opening against No. 16 South Carolina State on Friday in Birmingham, Ala.
Temple, a team considered by many as a possible No. 1 seed, was No. 2 in the East and will play Lafayette on Friday in Buffalo, N.Y.
The other No. 2 seeds were Cincinnati in the South, Iowa State in the Midwest and St. John's in the West.
Three conferences had six teams selected - Big 10, Big 12 and Southeastern - and the Big East had five. Conference USA and the Pac-10 had four teams each, while the Atlantic Coast Conference had only three teams selected for the second straight year.
The other games in Winston-Salem will be No. 4 Illinois against No. 13 Pennsylvania, No. 5 Florida against No. 12 Butler, and No. 8 Kansas against No. 9 DePaul.
The rest of the schedule in Buffalo will be: No. 3 Oklahoma State-No. 14 Hofstra, No. 6 Indiana-No. 11 Pepperdine, and No. 7 Oregon-No. 10 Seton Hall.
In addition to Stanford-South Carolina State, the rest of the games in Birmingham will be: No. 4 Tennessee-No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 5 Connecticut-No. 12 Utah State, and No. 8 North Carolina-No. 9 Missouri.
The other South bracket will be in Nashville, Tenn., where Cincinnati plays No. 15 North Carolina-Wilmington, No. 3 Ohio State faces No. 14 Appalachian State, No. 6 Miami goes against No. 11 Arkansas, and No. 7 Tulsa plays No. 10 UNLV.
In Salt Lake City, No. 4 LSU plays No. 13 Southeast Missouri State, No. 5 Texas faces No. 12 Indiana State, and No. 8 Wisconsin goes against No. 9 Fresno State.
The other West bracket, in Tucson, Ariz., features St. John's against No. 15 Northern Arizona, No. 3 Oklahoma-No. 14 Winthrop, No. 6 Purdue-No. 11 Dayton, and No. 7 Louisville-No. 10 Gonzaga.
In addition to the Michigan State-Valparaiso game in Cleveland, No. 4 Syracuse faces No. 13 Samford, No. 5 Kentucky goes against No. 12 St. Bonaventure, and No. 8 Utah plays No. 9 Saint Louis.
Iowa State plays No. 15 Central Connecticut State in Minneapolis, No. 3 Maryland faces No. 14 Iona, No. 6 UCLA goes against No. 11 Ball State, and No. 7 Auburn plays No. 10 Creighton.
On March 23 and 25 the West Regional will be in Albuquerque and the Midwest will be in Auburn Hills, Mich. On March 24 and 26 the East Regional will be in Syracuse, N.Y., while the South will be in Austin, Texas.
The Final Four is April 1 and 3 in Indianapolis.
For the first time in many years North Carolina was a team on the bubble. The Tar Heels' selection extended their record of consecutive tournament appearances to 26 years. The second longest streak also continued, with Arizona making its 16 consecutive appearance.
Three schools - Central Connecticut State, North Carolina-Wilmington and Southeast Missouri State - are making their first appearances in the tournament.
The longest wait that ended Sunday belonged to Hofstra, which had not been in the field since 1977. The other waits of over 20 years that ended belonged to St. Bonaventure (1978) and Appalachian State and Indiana State, which made their last appearances in 1979.
That Appalachian State team was coached by Bobby Cremins, who retired earlier this season at Georgia Tech, while the Indiana State team was led by Larry Bird and lost in the championship game to Michigan State and Magic Johnson.
Fresno State is in for the first time since 1984, and coach Jerry Tarkanian hasn't been in the tournament since leading UNLV to the Final Four in 1991 as the Runnin' Rebels tried to repeat as national champions.
Tulsa and Iowa State, both with 29-4 records, have the most victories of those in the field, while Lamar (15-15) and Jackson State (17-15) have the most losses.
The at-large teams with highest seeds were St. Bonaventure, which lost to Temple in the Atlantic 10 championship game, and Indiana State, the regular-season champions of the Missouri Valley Conference, both No. 12 seeds.
Among the teams which did not get at-large bids but were under consideration were: Vanderbilt, which would have given the SEC seven teams and might have been knocked out when Arkansas went on a surprise run to the conference tournament title, Villanova and Notre Dame of the Big East, Brigham Young of the Mountain West, and Southwest Missouri State of the Missouri Valley Conference.
By STEVE HERMAN
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