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Villanova earns top seed in NCAA Tournament East Region

12 March 2018

It is common for people to place bets on the teams they think will win, and many even fill out entire brackets that indicate which teams they see beating which. One came in 2016, when the Wildcats won the national championship.

"I told our players, everybody can play if they're in there", Bennett said.

It's pretty insane to look back now to De'Andre Hunter's buzzer-beater at Louisville and see how much it changed the outlook of the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies (21-11) will play as the East Region's No. 8 seed against No. 9 Alabama Thursday in Pittsburgh. The Wildcats are a 4-seed in the South Region and will take on 13-seed Buffalo.

Kansas has dominated the Big 12 overall with 10 tournament titles since 1997, but Iowa State has won three of the previous four conference tournament titles. They were booted from their conference tournament in their first game by Oklahoma State. The Sun Devils beat two possible No. 1 seeds, winning at Kansas - a herculean task for a non-conference opponent - and beat Xavier on a neutral court, and they also topped Kansas State and St. John's, before injuries derailed the Johnnies.

Jeff Walz's daughter Lucy plays with the Louisville mascot while her dad gets ready to go on ESPN
Jeff Walz's daughter Lucy plays with the Louisville mascot while her dad gets ready to go on ESPN

The 14-time regular-season Big 12 champs added the league's tournament championship (beating West Virginia in the title game) to its list of accolades for a season that looked shaky early. Auburn and Miami made it as at-large teams. If Louisville got in, it's entirely possible that Syracuse wouldn't have gotten in the Big Dance. The new twist comes in the first 10 minutes when first the automatic bids will be announced in alphabetical order by conference.

The fun begins March 11, when the NCAA makes its announcement on the 68 teams that will have a chance to play for glory this year.

SURPRISE: You didn't have to look hard to find someone saying Oklahoma didn't belong in the NCAA Tournament.

There are always sleepers, mid-major surprises, and bubble teams that sneak in and go from the First Four to possibly the Final Four. Villanova lost opening weekend as a No. 1 seed in 2015, and as a No. 2 seed in 2014 and 2010. The South Region does not get easier from there: Cincinnati, Tennessee, Arizona and Kentucky are the No. 2 through 5 seeds, respectively. The Cyclones enter this year's tournament as the No. 10 seed and will need to prevail again to keep playing next week.

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Villanova earns top seed in NCAA Tournament East Region