Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

NCAA Tournament 2014: Field Is Set for 'March Madness'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

NCAA Tournament 2014: Field Is Set for 'March Madness'

Article excerpt

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has selected 68 Division 1 schools to participate in its annual "March Madness" basketball tournament and this year's field could produce a champion from almost anywhere.

And that's one reason why Nebraska billionaire Warren Buffet felt comfortable offering $1 billion to anyone getting all the bracket predictions correct.

The University of Florida is the tournament's overall - and South region - No. 1 seed, as decided by the NCAA's men's basketball tournament committee, made up of college athletic directors from across the country. The Gators are scheduled to play the winner of the Albany-Mt. St. Mary's play-in game Thursday afternoon in Orlando.

"It's kind of what we expected," said guard Scottie Wilbekin, the SEC's player of the year and tournament MVP. "It feels good. Obviously, it doesn't matter when the games start playing."

Arizona finds itself as the No. 1 seed in the West region and will take on Weber State in a second round matchup Friday afternoon in San Diego.

Wichita State, which finished the season with a perfect 34-0 record, is the Midwest region's No. 1 seed. Friday night in St. Louis, the Wheatshockers get the winner of the Cal Poly-Texas Southern play-in game.

In the East, Virginia - winner of both the ACC regular season and tournament championships - is the region's No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers will meet Coastal Carolina in a second-round game Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Some observations about interesting first- and second-round matchups set by the tournament committee: Two of the play-in games beginning Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, feature major conference teams.

In the past, champions from non-power conferences like the Sun Belt or Metro Atlantic might play one another to become cannon fodder for the Dukes or Kentuckys of the NCAA basketball world. …

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