Virginia won the ACC regular season and tournament championship and finished the season 31-2.
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
ACC champions Virginia received the No. 1 overall seed in the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament Sunday night, cementing the Cavaliers as favorites to reach their first Final Four in 34 years.
Virginia, who defeated North Carolina 71-63 Saturday to win the ACC Tournament and run their record to 31-2, was joined on the one line by Big East tournament champions Villanova; Big 12 regular season and tournament champions Kansas; and Big East regular season champions Xavier.
The seedings and matchups were unveiled during a two-hour selection show broadcast for the first time on TBS after moving from its longtime home, CBS. As part of a format overhaul, all 68 teams in the field were announced in the show’s first 15 minutes, dispensing with any drama about who would be left on the bubble.
In went Arizona State, Syracuse, and Oklahoma. Out went Baylor, Louisville, and Oklahoma State.
Notre Dame received the unkindest cut. Creighton University athletic director Bruce Rasmussen, the chair of the Division I men’s basketball committee, told TBS that the Fighting Irish were the last team left out of the field.
Notre Dame can blame Davidson for not getting an invite to the Big Dance. The Wildcats almost certainly wouldn’t have gotten an at-large bid, but it got into the field by upsetting Rhode Island in the A-10 final. Rhode Island wound up getting the at-large bid that would have gone to Bonzie Colson and the Fighting Irish.
St. Mary’s also missed out despite boasting a 28-5 record, while Louisville was frozen out despite having an RPI of 39 — the highest-rated team in that index to miss the tournament.
Defending national champion North Carolina received a No. 2 seed in the West region and will open against tournament debutantes Lipscomb in Charlotte on Friday. The Tar Heels are 33-1 in NCAA tournament games in North Carolina, with the one loss coming in 1979.
The tournament begins Tuesday with opening-round games in Dayton that feature two matchups involving a pair of bubble teams. UCLA will face St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, with Arizona State and Syracuse squaring off on Wednesday.
The tournament kicks into full swing Thursday and Friday at eight sites around the country. The region to watch is the Midwest, which features No. 1 seed Kansas, No. 2 seed Duke, and No. 3 seed Michigan State — all of whom who were ranked in the top 4 in the Associated Press preseason poll.
The Midwest bracket also features arguably the nation’s most electric player in Trae Young, who led Oklahoma in as a No. 10 seed despite going 2-8 down the stretch. Questioned by Charles Barkley during the selection show about the Sooners, Rasmussen said: “Games in November and December count the same as games in February and March.”
The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 in San Antonio. Shortly after that, a commission led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to deliver recommendations from an investigation triggered by an FBI probe that led to charges last fall against assistant coaches, agents, employees of apparel companies and others.
In September, the Justice Department arrested 10 people, including four assistant coaches from Arizona, Southern California, Auburn and Oklahoma State. Payments of up to $150,000, supplied by Adidas, were promised to at least three top high school recruits to attend two schools sponsored by the shoe company, according to federal prosecutors.
Two of the teams implicated in the scandal — Arizona and Auburn — received high seeds, with the Wildcats given the No. 4 seed in the South bracket and the Tigers seeded fourth in the Midwest region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.