Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

March 18, 2014

NCAA tournament promises plenty of excitement

Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart a player to watch in an NCAA tournament with plenty of storylines

(Continued)

Top opening matchups

• Oregon vs. BYU, West Regional, Friday in San Diego. Ducks and Cougars combined to score nearly 200 points in their first meeting this season.

• Kansas State vs. Kentucky, Midwest Regional, Friday in St. Louis. The Wildcats from Kentucky are peaking at the right time. The Wildcats from the Little Apple have a score to settle — they're 0-8 all-time against Kentucky.

• Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State, West Regional, Friday in San Diego. The Zags are underrated. The Cowboys have Marcus Smart

• Arizona State vs. Texas, Midwest Regional, Thursday in Milwaukee. The Longhorns average more than 15 offensive rebounds per game and the Sun Devils have 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski in the middle.

Potential upsets

• Harvard over Cincinnati, East Regional. The 12th Crimson pulled off an upset by knocking off New Mexico last season and have pretty much everyone back. This is has been the most popular upset pick of the bracket.

• Providence over North Carolina, East Regional. The Friars, the 11th seed, took themselves off the NCAA bubble by winning the Big East, one of the toughest tournaments in the game. The sixth-seeded Tar Heels have been inconsistent most of the year, following big wins with disappointing losses.

• Saint Joseph's over UConn, East Regional. The Hawks won nine of their last 11 games and have big man Halil Kanacevic. UConn won 26 games but could be vulnerable.

• N.C. State or Xavier over Saint Louis, Midwest Regional. The Billikens limped down the stretch, losing four of five after a 25-2 start.

• Iowa or Tennessee over UMass, Midwest Regional. The selection committee raised a few eyebrows by making the Minutemen a No. 6 seed after they lost seven of their final 15 games.

Numbers

• 3: Straight years a team with a losing record has made the field of 68. Cal Poly, at 13-19, got in by winning the Big West tournament as the No. 7 seed.

• 9: Years since a preseason No. 1 didn't get a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky is 8 in the Midwest.

• 16: Years since UMass had made the NCAA tournament before getting in this season.

• 18: Teams that have entered the NCAA tournament undefeated. Seven went on to win the title, the last one Indiana in 1976.

• 26: Straight wins by top overall seed Florida.

• 38: Years since Virginia had won the ACC tournament before this season. The Cavs also won the regular-season title for the first time since 1981.

• 133: Games of scoring in double figures by Creighton's Doug McDermott, an NCAA record.

• 355: Weight of Sim Bhullar, New Mexico State's 7-foot-5 center.

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