The Norman Transcript

March 27, 2014

A guide to the NCAA’s regionals

By John Marshall
The Associated Press

NORMAN — Just when you think the first weekend of the NCAA tournament couldn’t possibly top itself, it happened again.

Last year’s ride was a wild one, filled with massive upsets that blew up brackets and spectacular performances that made it one of the most entertaining starts in tournament history.

This year’s version was even better, the best weekend on the sports calendar starting with most of the brackets blown out on the first game of the first full day and including a four-point play to send a game to overtime.

Now that we’ve had time to catch our breath, it’s time to hold on tight again with the regional rounds up next.

Here’s some of what to keep an eye on:

The big boys: Florida. Gators were the No. 1 overall seed and did nothing to diminish that.

Arizona. That defensive performance against Gonzaga has to be causing some sweaty palms among the other 15 teams still left.

Michigan State. Izzo and the Spartans Storm the Sweet 16, Part XII.

Louisville. Defending national champs on another roll.

Virginia. Cavaliers have proven the ACC sweep and No. 1 seeding were deserved.

The upstarts: Dayton. Archie Miller has the Flyers flying high, just like big brother Sean’s Arizona Wildcats.

Tennessee. Vols aren’t exactly a mid-major, but they are a bit of a surprise to get this deep after having to sweat out Selection Sunday.

Stanford. See above.

San Diego State. Aztecs appear to be on the verge of a huge breakthrough.

The players: Nick Johnson, Arizona. Great two-way player and leader who’s already pulling down All-America honors.

Russ Smith, Louisville. Like Johnson, he’s a finalist for the Naismith Award.

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State. Kane has been the king through the first two rounds of the bracket.

Kyle Anderson, UCLA. A 6-foot-9 point guard who can rebound, score and facilitate.

Shabazz Napier, UConn. A shorter version of Anderson from the East.

Nik Stauskas, Michigan. Best pure shooter left in the bracket.

Top matchups: Kentucky-Louisville, Friday in Indianapolis. The Bluegrass rivals have had some great games in the past. This one could be epic.

Florida-UCLA, today in Memphis. Two power programs at the top of their games.

Baylor-Wisconsin, today in Anaheim, Calif. The clash of styles is going to be fun to watch.

Arizona-San Diego State, today in Anaheim. The Wildcats won an earlier meeting this season. Both teams may be better now.

Numbers: .850—Baylor’s postseason winning percentage (17-3) over the past six seasons, best in Division I among schools with multiple NCAA tournaments in that span.

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