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THE BRACKETS

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Having two unfamiliar entrants to the Final Four is exciting, but a familiar team will raise the trophy

EAST

1 VILLANOVA

16 MT. SAINT MARY'S /NEW ORLEANS

8 WISCONSIN

9 VIRGINIA TECH

5 VIRGINIA

12 UNC WILMINGTON

4 FLORIDA

13 EAST TENNESSEE STATE

6 SMU

11 PROVIDENCE/USC

3 BAYLOR

14 NEW MEXICO STATE

7 SOUTH CAROLINA

10 MARQUETTE

2 DUKE

15 TROY

VILLANOVA

No way 'Nova becomes the first No. 1 to lose an opener.

WISCONSIN

The Big Ten co-runner-up deserved a higher seed.

VIRGINIA

UVa has the best efficiency-based win odds for a 5 seed.

EAST TENNESSEE STATE

Pressure on turnover-prone Gators PG Kasey Hill will be key.

SMU

Streaking Mustangs haven't lost since Jan. 12 at Cincinnati.

BAYLOR

The Aggies are no match for their first top 50 opponent.

MARQUETTE

Coach Steve Wojciechowski moves on to face his mentor.

DUKE

First-round upsets are no longer a thing for the Devils.

VILLANOVA

Free throw woes—they struggle to draw fouls and make foul shots—catch up to the Badgers.

VIRGINIA

Senior floor general London Perrantes won't get flustered by the Bucs' pressure defense.

SMU

Only a mild upset here: Mustangs are underseeded and 6'7" Semi Ojeleye has breakout potential.

DUKE

The Golden Eagles don't have the D to ice super frosh Jayson Tatum and a scorching offense.

VILLANOVA

A buzzer-beating tip-in from Wildcats shooting guard Donte DeVincenzo beat the Cavs on Jan. 29. This won't be as stressful.

DUKE

Ojeleye, who started his career in Durham, and the nation's No. 3 scoring defense can only give the Blue Devils a scare.

FIRST ROUND

SWEET 16

ELITE EIGHT

FINAL FOUR

WEST

1 GONZAGA

16 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

8 NORTHWESTERN

9 VANDERBILT

5 NOTRE DAME

12 PRINCETON

4 WEST VIRGINIA

13 BUCKNELL

6 MARYLAND

11 XAVIER

3 FLORIDA STATE

14 FLORIDA GULF COAST

7 ST. MARY'S

10 VCU

2 ARIZONA

15 NORTH DAKOTA

GONZAGA

Zags survive Mike Daum, the best unknown forward in D-I.

NORTHWESTERN

After a 78-year drought, the Cats won't fall in their debut.

PRINCETON

Unbeaten since Dec. 20, the Tigers have a Cinderella feel.

WEST VIRGINIA

The Mountaineers are by far the strongest No. 4 seed.

MARYLAND

Banged-up Musketeers have lost seven of their last 10.

FLORIDA STATE

Luckily for the Seminoles, Orlando is not Dunk City.

ST. MARY'S

The Gaels tend to thrive when not facing Gonzaga.

ARIZONA

The Wildcats haven't had a bad loss, and won't here.

GONZAGA

The jumbo frontcourt is a problem for Northwestern, whose tallest starter is 6'8" Dererk Pardon.

PRINCETON

Navigating "Press Virginia," Princeton is the first Ivy champ to reach the Sweet 16 since 2010.

FLORIDA STATE

The overseeded Terps—a better No. 10 or 11 according to advanced analytics—are overwhelmed.

ARIZONA

The Zona defense excels at defending long-range shots, negating the Gaelstorm of threes.

GONZAGA

The Tigers' stingy interior D is no match for 7'1" Przemek Karnowski, who lefty-hooks them into submission.

ARIZONA

Allonzo Trier and his fellow Cats guards thrive on drawing fouls. Too bad the Seminoles are whistle prone.

DUKE

Vintage Grayson Allen: He scores in droves while soaking up boos from the pro-Nova crowd at Madison Square Garden.

GONZAGA

To break through to their first Final Four, the Zags prevail in a tighter game with Zona, whom they beat 69--62 on Dec. 3.

UNC

Lack of interior depth finally catches up with Oregon, while high-volume-shooting wing Justin Jackson leads the Heels to their second straight title game.

CHAMPION

UNC

The Tar Heels get over the devastating loss in last year's final by keeping the battle in the frontcourt and away from the arc. The duel between Meeks and Karnowski is a wash, but UNC's relentless effort on the offensive boards proves the difference.

GONZAGA

Duke made it to the Final Four without a true point guard, but its journey ends with the ball in the hands of the Zags' stellar floor general, Nigel Williams-Goss.

MIDWEST

OREGON

Practically a home game for the Jayhawks, but OU will return to the Final Four—78 years after winning the first.

KANSAS

Swanigan outplays center Landen Lucas, but Kansas's 6'8" freshman sensation, Josh Jackson, makes his star turn.

OREGON

The Ducks struggle with the Cardinals' long, physical D inside, but Brooks and surging point guard Tyler Dorsey take over.

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

FIRST ROUND

KANSAS

The Jayhawks' guard-heavy lineup, led by Devonte' Graham, proves to be too explosive.

PURDUE

Big Ten POY Caleb (Biggie) Swanigan muscles Purdue to its first Sweet 16 since 2010.

OREGON

Smooth-shooting 6'7" wing Dillon Brooks, OU's leading scorer, buries Rhody early and often.

LOUISVILLE

The Pokes' porous D helps mask the Cardinals' iffy O, allowing Donovan Mitchell to score at will.

KANSAS

National POY favorite Frank Mason III stars for KU.

MIAMI

ACC's second-best D shuts down freshman Miles Bridges.

IOWA STATE

Guard Naz Mitrou-Long drops long-range bombs in the win.

PURDUE

Boilers hit from outside to avoid third straight early exit.

RHODE ISLAND

It's the Rams' first opening-round win since '98.

OREGON

Ducks advance even without injured PF Chris Boucher.

OKLAHOMA STATE

Feel-good run ends thanks to D-I's most efficient offense.

LOUISVILLE

'Ville's four-forward lineup grounds the Gamecocks.

KANSAS 1

N.C. CENTRAL/UC DAVIS 16

MIAMI 8

MICHIGAN STATE 9

IOWA STATE 5

NEVADA 12

PURDUE 4

VERMONT 13

CREIGHTON 6

RHODE ISLAND 11

OREGON 3

IONA 14

MICHIGAN 7

OKLAHOMA STATE 10

LOUISVILLE 2

JACKSONVILLE STATE 15

SOUTH

UNC

Both teams love to run, but the Tar Heels' superior defense slows down Ball & Co. just enough.

UNC

The Blue Raiders meet their match with this burly blue blood, led by Kennedy Meeks on the blocks.

UCLA

The Bruins beat the Cats in Lexington on Dec. 3, and they do it again in Memphis in a clash packed with lottery picks.

UNC

The nation's best offensive rebounding team cleans the Razorbacks off the glass.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

Butler yields to a new March upstart, and Giddy Potts enhances his tournament legend.

UCLA

Cincy can do little to slow down maestro Lonzo Ball or keep Bryce Alford from draining threes.

KENTUCKY

The faces are different from the 2014 second-round instant classic, but the result is the same.

UNC

Coach Mike Davis's SWAC attack is no match for UNC.

ARKANSAS

Veteran Hogs exploit the Pirates' turnover tendencies.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

The Blue Raiders' versatile frontline does it again.

BUTLER

Super reserve Kelan Martin (16.1 ppg) leads the Bulldogs.

CINCINNATI

Known for their tough D, the Bearcats win with efficient O.

UCLA

Even Golden Flashes aren't quick enough for the Bruins.

WICHITA STATE

Vastly underseeded, the Shockers' win is unsurprising.

KENTUCKY

The Norse get vanquished in a Bluegrass State battle.

UNC 1

TEXAS SOUTHERN 16

ARKANSAS 8

SETON HALL 9

MINNESOTA 5

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE 12

BUTLER 4

WINTHROP 13

CINCINNATI 6

KANSAS ST./WAKE FOREST 11

UCLA 3

KENT STATE 14

DAYTON 7

WICHITA STATE 10

KENTUCKY 2

NORTHERN KENTUCKY 15