News from the Tennessee Valley Sports
MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2007

NCAA Men’s Tournament Notebook

Low seeds not around

There won’t be any little guys to pull for on the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

For just the second time since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, no double-digit seed advanced to the round of 16.

Winthrop was the last of the teams seeded 10th or lower to have a chance to reach the third round, but the 11th-seeded Eagles lost 75-61 to Oregon on Sunday. The only other double-digit seed to advance to the second round, No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth, lost 84-79 in overtime to Pittsburgh on Saturday.

No double-digit seed reached the third round in 1995, and only five times since 1985 had only one moved on. The most to reach the round of 16 was five in 1999. Last year, No. 11 George Mason, which went on to the Final Four, and No. 13 Bradley reached the third round.

No 1-2 punch

Second-seeded Wisconsin’s 74-68 loss to UNLV on Sunday meant yet another year when at least one of the top two seeds in each of the four regions failed to reach the third round.

Since 1985, the top two from each region moved on to the round of 16 only twice, in 1989 and 1995.

Wisconsin is the only one of the 1 and 2 seeds not to advance to the third round. The West Regional, with Kansas, UCLA, Pittsburgh and Southern Illinois, is the only one with the top four seeds still alive.

Conference call

The Atlantic Coast Conference had the most teams in the field of 65 with seven. The Big Ten was one of three leagues with six. They both have just one team left in the third round.

North Carolina, the top seed in the East Regional, is the lone ACC team remaining after Virginia Tech and Virginia lost Sunday in the second round, joining Maryland and Boston College, which lost Saturday, on the sideline. Duke and Georgia Tech didn’t make it out of the first round.

Ohio State, the top seed in the South Regional, is the only Big Ten remaining after Purdue and Wisconsin lost Sunday in the second round, joining Michigan State and Indiana, which lost Saturday, on the sideline. Illinois lost in the first round.

The SEC, which started with five teams, and the Pac-10, which started with six, each have three teams still alive.

Defender run

Florida matched the last six defending national champions by advancing to the third round with its 74-67 victory over Purdue.

The last two — North Carolina and Connecticut — both had their runs at a second straight title end in the round of 16.

The three before that — Syracuse, Maryland and Duke — all had their defenses end in the regional finals.

Michigan State, in 2001, was the last national champion to return to the Final Four. The Spartans lost there to Arizona.

The last team to repeat was Duke in 1992.

“This is fun right now,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “They should enjoy winning. I know they wouldn’t enjoy the other side of it if we were going home and this was over, so we need to enjoy this.

“They need to be kids and have fun and enjoy this experience because they’ve worked hard to get to this point.”

Illini connection

Two former Illinois coaches won second-round games Sunday in Chicago’s United Center.

Lon Kruger, who led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA tournament in 1997, 1998 and 2000, advanced to the Midwest Regional semifinals with UNLV’s 74-68 victory over second-seeded Wisconsin.

Bill Self, who led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA tournament in 2001, 2002 and 2003, advanced to West Regional semifinals with top-seeded Kansas’ 88-76 victory over Kentucky.

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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