We finally have a March with NCAA Tournament games without crowd restrictions, after the pandemic in 2020 shut down the event.
These were just a few examples of what you can expect from conference tournaments this week. Now that has announced the 68-team field , here are some things you should know before filling in your bracket.
GONZAGA ON TOP AGAIN
Gonzaga (26-3), is the No. The No. 1 seed will take on Sun Belt champion Georgia State (18-10) in Portland, Oregon.
Gonzaga is a No. 1 seed for the third consecutive tournament. 1 seed. Gonzaga lost to Texas Tech as a No. 1 seed in the regional final. It was the No. 1 seed in 2019, and reached its first Final Four appearance last season before losing to Baylor in a national championship game.
Gonzaga was ranked 2nd when the 2020 season was halted. It could very well have been No. If the tournament had continued as planned, Gonzaga would have been ranked second.
WHO’S NO. 1?
As national champion Baylor, Kansas, and Arizona joined Gonzaga as the No. 1 seeds.
This is the first time that the Big 12 has had two No. Since 2003, both Oklahoma and Texas were seeded first, this is the first time that the Big 12 has two No. Oklahoma and Texas reached the regional finals before losing to eventual national champion Syracuse. Texas was not in the Final Four that year.
This is the second consecutive year that a team has been awarded a No. After going several years without a bid, this is the second consecutive year that a team has been ranked as the No. 1 seed.
Illinois was ranked No. In its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2013, Illinois was a No. 1 seed. Arizona now ranks No. It was the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament under its new coach Tommy Lloyd.
The Wildcats finished 17-15, but didn’t get a bid for 2019. Arizona was not eligible for the 2020 tournament after the pandemic. The NCAA investigated Arizona and it imposed a ban on the season following the event.
Who’s going to be first?
On Tuesday, Indiana will face Wyoming and on Wednesday, Notre Dame will meet Rutgers in Dayton (Ohio). These were the four last teams to win at-large bids.
Other matchups in Dayton include Texas A&M Corpus Christi facing Texas Southern Tuesday, and Division I scoring leader Peter Kiss leading Bryant to Wright State Wednesday.
They will follow UCLA’s lead, which moved from the First Four to Final Four in the last season.
JUST MISSING OUT
Dayton almost ended up in Dayton. The Flyers were one of four teams that left the 68-team bracket, along with Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
KRZYZEWSKI’S LAST DANCE
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke coach) announced last year that this would be his last season. He will try to win a sixth national championship and a 13th appearance in the Final Four. He is just two wins away of 1,200 career victories.
Duke is the No. Duke is a No. 2 seed in West Region. He faces Cal State Fullerton in Greenville, South Florida on Friday. Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils may face Tom Izzo or Michigan State in an exciting second round matchup.
All of the national championships won by Duke under Krzyzewski were in 1991, 1992 and 2001. They also took place in 2010 and 2015. Since 2015, the Blue Devils have not reached the Final Four.
BIG TEN’S TITLE CHAASE
With nine bids, the Big Ten is leading all conferences. However, none of its teams were seeded in a region. This could make it more difficult for the Big Ten in its quest to win its first title after Michigan State’s 2000 championship.
Purdue and Wisconsin are the highest-seeded Big Ten team, while Wisconsin is third in their respective regions.
The Big Ten hopes to rebound from its disappointing 2021 tournament performance. The Big Ten received nine bids last season, but did not send any players to the Final Four.
J-STATE’S UNUSUAL ROUTE
Jacksonville State is the only one-bid team to receive an NCAA invitation. It has not won its conference tournament. Bellarmine won Bellarmine’s Atlantic Sun Tournament, but it was not eligible for the NCAA Tournament due to its second-year transition from Division II into Division I.
Jacksonville State won the regular-season title and received an automatic bid for Atlantic Sun. The Gamecocks lost in the conference semifinals and are making their first NCAA appearance since 2017.
With 21 consecutive wins, South Dakota State, the Summit League champion, has the longest active winning streak among Division I teams. Murray State University of the Ohio Valley Conference won 20 consecutive games.
Arizona won 15 out of 16 power conferences. Tennessee won 12 of 13, and Iowa won 9 of 10.
PLAYING YOUR WAY IN
Virginia Tech was not included in the ACC Tournament brackets and had to use Darius Maddox’s buzzer beating 3-pointer in overtime in order to beat Clemson in its first round match. The seventh-seeded Hokies won the automatic bid to the ACC by beating Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Duke.
Richmond defeated Davidson in Sunday’s Atlantic 10 tourney final to make its way into the field.
Texas A&M (23-12), almost made it in when it reached the final of the SEC Tournament as a No. It was a 9 seed, but it lost out to Tennessee in the championship.