A look at the 16 matchups, with each school’s likely starters and analysis from Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan.
Regional: Midwest. Time: 12:15 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 2. Duke (27-5/7-3); 15. Albany (24-10/7-3).
Analysis: The Dookies were upset by Maryland in the ACC tournament but they’ll shake that off and move on easily. Albany has no one who can contend with Plumlee, a rugged individual who’s had an All-America season. The Blue Devils are well-balanced with five players in double figures. Albany can’t guard them all. The Great Danes will have to make this a half-court game and hope their leading scorers, Black and Iati have big afternoons.
Regional: West. Time: 12:40 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 5. Wisconsin (23-11/6-4); 12. Mississippi (26-8/8-2).
Analysis: Wisconsin’s plan never changes under coach Bo Ryan. The Badgers will run their patient swing offense and try to make it a physical, half-court game. Speeding them up is the key to beating them. Mississippi has one of the most flamboyant players in college basketball in Henderson, who will work hard to get open shots, hit them, then openly celebrate. Ole Miss won its first SEC tournament championship since 1981 to force its way into the Tournament.
Regional: East. Time: 1:40 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 8. N.C. State (24-10/7-3); 9. Temple (23-9/8-2).
Analysis: N.C. State has been maligned all season; the Wolfpack lack chemistry but they’re tremendously talented, especially Leslie. For all their troubles, this is a balanced team with five players averaging in double figures. Temple might have the coaching advantage with Fran Dunphy, but his Owls have failed to win an NCAA Tournament game while he’s been on the bench. The steady, clutch Wyatt might change that himself.
Regional: East. Time: 2:10 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 2. Miami (27-6/7-3); 15. Pacific (22-12/8-2).
|4||T. McKinney Jones||6-5||9.4||3.3|
Analysis: Miami is the first team to win the ACC regular season and the tournament to not get a No. 1 seed. The Hurricanes lost to Florida Gulf Coast early in the season and Wake Forest late in the season, so they’re capable of a dud, but it’s been a sensational season. The team is well-coached by Jim Larranaga (he’s a really loud whistler so listen for it on TV) and the team plays together cohesively on both ends of the floor. Pacific coach Bob Thomason is in his 25th and final season; he’s been here before and will rely on his usual methods: patient offense, tight man-to-man defense.
Regional: Midwest. Time: 2:45 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 7. Creighton (27-7/7-3); 10. Cincinnati (22-11; 4-6).
Analysis: Quite a contrast because Creighton, led by All-America forward Doug McDermott (second in the country in scoring), is one of the most skilled offensive teams in the tournament. The Bluejays plan to push the pace and get up shots quickly. Cincinnati, on the other hand, can be almost painful to watch on offense; the Bearcats make only 40 percent of their shots (Creighton leads the nation with 50 percent shooting). Cincinnati has to turn this into a taffy-pull, a half-court game where defense matters most.
Regional: West. Time: 3:10 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 4. Kansas St. (27-7/8-2); 13. La Salle (22-9/7-3).
Analysis: Kansas State coach Bruce Weber was unfairly fired at Illinois and he’s proven his value by coaxing Kansas State to a co-regular season championship in the Big 12 with Kansas, which had at least double the talent. K-State is guard-oriented with the manic Rodriquez (5.2 asssists per game) and McGruder, who can jump over any defender to get his shot. La Salle has a quartet of great guards, led by Galloway, which will pose a defensive challenge for the Wildcats.
Regional: East. Time: 4:10 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 1. Indiana (27-6/7-3); 16. James Madison (21-14/7-3).
Analysis: Indiana might not be the overall No. 1 team, but the Hoosiers should be the favorite to win the national championship. They’ve got it all: one of the best big men in Zeller and one of the hardest-playing guards in Oladipo, plus ball-handlers and shooters. Maybe they’re not that deep, and that could derail them. It won’t pose a problem against James Madison.
Regional: East. Time: 4:40 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 7. Illinois (22-12/6-4); 10. Colorado (21-11/6-4).
Analysis: These teams are really similar. Both had quick starts: Illinois was 12-0 with a win over Gonzaga and Colorado started 10-2; both leveled off during the conference season, and both rely on a pair of good guards. Neither team has a great inside game. Illinois’s Paul has played like an All-American at times. Paul and Richardson are a potent unit. A pair of sophomore guards, Booker and Dinwiddie, are the difference-makers for the Buffs. It might be too simple, but it could be the team with the most points in the paint wins.
Regional: South. Time: 6:50 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 2. Georgetown (25-6/8-2); 15. Florida Gulf Coast (24-10/8-2).
|No.||Florida Gulf Coast||Ht.||PPG||RPG|
|22||Otto Porter Jr.||6-8||16.3||7.4|
Analysis: A mismatch on paper. Gulf Coast has no one who can deal with Porter, one of the top 10 players in America. Porter has a tremendous all-around game; he will be able to overpower Gulf Coast inside but he’s also unselfish, a great decision-maker (he averages 1.5 turnovers per game), and he can shoot it from outside (42 percent on 3-pointers, so he only takes good ones). Gulf Coast did beat Miami in November, so an upset is not impossible.
Regional: West. Time: 7:15 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 2. Ohio State (26-7/9-1); 15. Iona (20-13/6-4).
|32||Lenzelle Smith Jr.||6-4||9.5||4.9|
Analysis: This has a chance to be a fun game. Iona disdains defense, so Ohio State should score a lot of points. That’s just the way the Gaels like it because they’re second in the nation at 80.7 points per game. It’s pedal to the metal behind two skilled guards in “Momo” Jones (116 assists and 110 turnovers) and Armand. On a really good night, the Gaels are capable of pulling off the upset. Most likely, Ohio State should use its tough man-to-man defense, led by Craft, to control the game.
Regional: South. Time: 7:20 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 8. N. Carolina (24-10/8-2); 9. Villanova (20-13/6-4).
Analysis: For Carolina, this is a bad season but the Tar Heels still have plenty of talent, half their losses were to Duke and Miami, and another two were to Butler and Indiana. Roy Williams uses as many as 11 players and three of them, McAdoo, Bullock, and Hairston, average about 14 points per game. The Heels will try to wear down Villanova, which isn’t deep, and try to force some turnovers on what can be a shaky backcourt.
Regional: South. Time: 7:27 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 3. Florida (26-7/ 6-4); 14. Northwestern St. (23-8/8-2).
Analysis: Northwestern State is the highest-scoring team in the country at 81 points per game. Florida doesn’t score as much but the Gators will be willing to run up and down. They’re going to get the chance. Northwestern presses full-court for 40 minutes. Florida’s outstanding guards Rosario, Boynton and Wilbekin should be able to deal with the pressure. Northwestern’s chance for an upset is to hope Florida’s guards aren’t focused and turn the ball over.
Regional: South. Time: 9:20 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 7. San Diego St. (22-10/5-5); 10. Oklahoma (20-11/6-4).
|San Diego St.|
Analysis: I hate to think ahead but it sure will be an interesting second-round game if San Diego State’s Jamal Franklin matches up with Georgetown’s Otto Porter. Both of their teams are reliant on their best player. Franklin is a tough forward who does most of his damage inside the arc. Franklin leads the Aztecs in scoring, rebounding, assists (3.2) and steals. His weakness: He only makes 27 percent of his threes. Oklahoma will try to jam things inside to Osby and get to the foul line; the Sooners shot more than 100 free throws than their opponents.
Regional: West. Time: 9:45 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 7. Notre Dame (25-9/6-4); 10. Iowa St. (22-11/6-4).
Analysis: Iowa State leads the nation in 3-point field goals per game, so the Irish will need to guard the arc. The Cyclones are a perimeter-oriented team because they lack size and consistent inside play. Notre Dame has Cooley, one of the most underrated players in the country, and Knight. It could be a big night under the hoop for the Irish.
Regional: South. Time: 9:50 Seed, record/last 10: 1. Kansas (29-5/9-1); 16. W. Kentucky (20-15/7-3).
Analysis: For the second straight season, Western is in the tournament almost by accident. The Hilltoppers were in the opposite bracket of the Sun Belt tournament from top-seeded Middle Tennessee, which was upset both years. They’ll be no match for the Jayhawks, who lead the nation in field goal percentage defense and will try to turn this into a track meet.
Regional: South. Time: 9:57 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 6. UCLA (25-9/7-3); 11. Minnesota (20-12/3-7).
|10||Larry Drew II||6-2||7.6||2.5|
Analysis: To call UCLA enigmatic is accurate; you just never know how well the Bruins are going to play. The bookies in Las Vegas have no faith, making Minnesota a 3-point favorite. The LA Times is writing about the future of coach Ben Howland and it sounds like it’s in jeopardy. The Bruins just don’t have any chemistry and the best example of is leading scorer Muhammad, who has 26 assists in 31 games. He loves to hold the ball. Minnesota, meanwhile, is an experienced group and will try to win the physical battle.