NCAA Tournament Field Announced
March 11, 2001
By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
The Blue Devils and Spartans, along with Stanford and Illinois, took the top spots Sunday for the NCAA tournament.
Duke has been a No. 1 seed in each of the last four years, while defending national champion Michigan State earned its third straight.
"This is the time to do it. This is why I came back" to school, Duke senior Shane Battier said.
The first-ever 65-team field starts play Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, when Northwestern State faces Winthrop in the opening-round game. The winner between the two lowest-ranked teams plays Illinois (24-7) in the Midwest's first round in Dayton on Friday.
The Blue Devils (29-4), who beat North Carolina 79-53 Sunday in the ACC title game, will play in the East, opening against No. 16 Monmouth on Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.
Stanford (28-2), a unanimous choice last week as the nation's top team, earned its second straight top spot in the West and plays No. 16 North Carolina-Greensboro in San Diego on Thursday.
Michigan State (24-4) begins defense of its title Friday in the South, playing No. 16 Alabama State in Memphis, Tenn.
"We're excited to say the least," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I didn't know where we would end up. To have three straight NCAA seeds is something our program can be proud of. Going to the South is fine with me."
Even that was not an easy decision for the selection committee.
Illinois and Michigan State shared the regular-season Big Ten title, and the committee had trouble deciding where the teams should play. Both teams were knocked out in the conference tournament.
"Illinois played Michigan State only once, at Illinois," committee chairman Mike Tranghese said. "But Illinois won and Illinois went farther in the Big Ten tournament."
That was only the beginning of the tough choices for the committee.
Left out of the field were Alabama (21-10), Utah (19-11), Connecticut (19-11), Villanova (18-12), Richmond (21-6) and Mississippi State (16-12) - the team with the highest RPI without a bid. They were replaced by teams such as Xavier (21-7), Missouri (19-12), Creighton (24-7) and Georgia (16-14).
The Bulldogs became the fifth team, and first since Villanova in 1991, to be chosen as an at-large team with 14 losses. They are the 11th team, and first since Texas in 1997, to be picked with just 16 wins.
The reasoning, Tranghese said, was the non-conference schedule ratings.
"When we looked at Georgia they were 16-14 and 9-7 in the No. 1 conference in the country," Tranghese said, referring to the SEC. "They played the toughest non-conference schedule in the country, and we just thought it would be unfair not to take that into account."
The No. 2 seeds also are no strangers to the tournament: Kentucky, North Carolina, Arizona and Iowa State.
Kentucky, North Carolina and Arizona all won national championships in the 1990s and rank among the top teams with consecutive appearances. Iowa State reached the Elite Eight last year before being losing to Michigan State.
Some teams, such as North Carolina, were hurt by the way they finished.
"It got down to Michigan State and Carolina, and what that came down to was North Carolina went 4-4 over its last eight games," Tranghese said.
Again, the top six conferences dominated the field, receiving 29 of the 34 at-large berths. The Big Ten's seven teams matched the record for the most in the tournament.
Following the Big Ten were the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference with six selections each. The Big East and Pacific-10 each had five teams chosen.
Five schools - Alabama State, Cal State-Northridge, Hampton, Northwestern State and Southern Utah - are making their first NCAA tournament appearances. Holy Cross, which hasn't been in the field since 1983, ended the longest drought.
Oklahoma State (20-9) will be a sentimental choice for many fans. The 11th-seeded Cowboys had to play the final month of the season after a plane crash that killed 10 people, including two players. They open Thursday against No. 6 Southern Cal in Uniondale, N.Y.
"We know they will be playing with a lot of emotion," Trojans center Sam Clancy said. "We can't let ourselves get caught up in those emotions."
With Louisville failing to make the field in Denny Crum's final season, Arizona's Lute Olson takes over as the active coach with the most appearances at 23. Olson's run of 17 in a row is also the longest current streak, with Temple's John Chaney and Kansas' Roy Williams second, each at 12.
The longest current streak to end was Gene Keady of Purdue, who had been in the last eight tournaments.
Princeton made the field under first-year coach John Thompson III, who is now 19 appearances behind his father, John, who resigned from Georgetown in 1999.
In other games in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday, it's No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Utah State, No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Hofstra, and No. 9 Missouri vs. No. 8 Georgia.
In addition to Illinois' matchup with the winner of the opening-round game, the games in Dayton on Friday are: No. 8 Tennessee vs. No. 9 Charlotte, No. 5 Syracuse vs. No. 12 Hawaii, and No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Cal State-Northridge.
The other Midwest first-round games will be in Kansas City, Mo., with No. 6 Notre Dame facing No. 11 Xavier, No. 3 Mississippi against No. 14 Iona, No. 7 Wake Forest playing No. 10 Butler, and No. 2 Arizona, the other No. 1 seed last season, against No. 15 Eastern Illinois.
In the other games in Memphis on Friday, No. 8 California plays No. 9 Fresno State, No. 5 Virginia faces No. 12 Gonzaga, and No. 4 Oklahoma plays No. 13 Indiana State.
The other South first-round games will be played Friday in New Orleans, with No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Temple, No. 3 Florida vs. No. 14 Western Kentucky, No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 10 Providence, and No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Princeton.
In other games Thursday in Uniondale, N.Y., No. 3 Boston College plays No. 14 Southern Utah, No. 7 Iowa faces No. 10 Creighton, and No. 2 Kentucky plays No. 15 Holy Cross.
In the other games in San Diego, No. 8 Georgia Tech faces No. 9 St. Joseph's, No. 5 Cincinnati plays No. 12 Brigham Young, and No. 4 Indiana faces No. 13 Kent State.
In Boise, Idaho, on Thursday, it's No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 11 Georgia State, No. 3 Maryland vs. No. 14 George Mason, No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 10 Georgetown, and No. 2 Iowa State vs. No. 15 Hampton.
The East Regional will be in Philadelphia on March 22 and 24, the same days the West Regional will be held in Anaheim, Calif.
The Midwest Regional will be in San Antonio on March 23 and 25, the same days the South Regional will be held in Atlanta.
The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 at Minneapolis.