Roy Williams is mighty mad at the NCAA seed committee right now. Well, not furious, but a little upset.
But the rest of us are awfully pleased.
The North Carolina coach, who spent the first 15 years of his career at Kansas and recruited all five starters for this year’s Jayhawks squad, wanted to avoid playing his old school unless it was for the NCAA title. But the Tar Heels and Jayhawks are in the same region for the men’s NCAA Tournament; UNC is No. 1., KU No. 3.
That makes the Syracuse Regional Final the target for those hoping to see Williams face his old team. It’s not a shoe-in — not with second-seeded Connecticut and fourth-seeded Florida as obstacles — but it’s a great storyline. Only a North Carolina-Duke matchup, a Final Four possibility, or Kansas coach Bill Self facing his ex-team and recruits in Illinois, which would be the title game, have the same cachet.
Still, it’s far from the only great NCAA matchup. Here’s nine more to love.
The 12-5 upset: Michigan State vs. Old Dominion
A No. 12 seed has beaten a No. 5 seed every year since 1989. Here’s my pick.
Make no mistake, I hate to pick against Tom Izzo. Few coaches have been better in the Big Dance the last few years, but the Spartans were upset last year in the first round, too. But after losing to Indiana and Iowa in the last two weeks, this is the upset to watch.
Run, run, run: Oklahoma vs. Niagara
The Purple Eagles love to run. They shoot a lot of three-pointers and forward Juan Mendez (23.6 ppg) is a handful. And this is the first time Niagara has been dancing in 35 years. They’ll be hungry.
Contrast the 14th-seeded Niagara with the No. 3 Sooners, who are one of the toughest, most physical teams in the tournament. Yet they’re also a team that can score with their mobile guards and a forward in Taj Gray who can match Mendez shot-for-shot. If you’re looking for an entertaining, up-and-down first-round game, look no further.
Battle of big men: Syracuse vs. Vermont
This game, on the other hand, could end up being 50-49.
The Orange’s 2-3 zone always gives tournament teams fits and Hakim Warrick was a monster in the Big East Tournament for fourth-seeded Syracuse. But the match-up against Vermont’s Taylor Coppenrath, a 6-foot-9 forward who is dominant down low, should be interesting.
The No. 13 Catamounts (24-6) have been one of the media darlings all year, with their high RPI and and the farewell tour or coach Tom Brennan. It may not be a fast-paced game, but should be close.
Duke coach said that after winning his second gold medal in men's basketball would be his Team USA finale. That may not be the case anymore.
CBT: Turning the page on the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers hired Louisville's Julie Hermann as athletic director on Wednesday. But, Hermann has a prior scandal of her own.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
Fellow student and fraternity brother charged with disorderly conduct in assault of Brown guard Joseph Sharkey3 hr 42 min ago
College basketball videos
Griner comfortable with coming out
DPS: Richard Deitsch from Sports Illustrated joins the show to discuss Brittney Griner coming out and explains why it wasn't seen as a big deal.
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.