Monday, March 14, 2011

The 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament kicks off Tuesday and Wednesday with the First Four

The Field of 68 was announced on Sunday for the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

  • Ohio State

  • Kansas

  • Pittsburgh

  • Duke... as the four #1 seeds

The First Four will open up on Tuesday and Wednesday with the following match ups from Dayton...

  • 16 Texas-San Antonio vs. Alabama State with the winner facing #1 Ohio State in the East Region

  • 12 UAB vs. Clemson with the winner facing #5 West Virginia in the East Region

  • 16 UNC-Ashville vs. Arkansas-Little Rock with the winner facing #1 Pittsburgh in the Southeast Region

  • 11 USC vs. Virginia Commonwealth with the winner facing #6 Georgetown in the Southwest Region

It should be an interesting first year with the expanded field, with the four First Four games. The NCAA Tournament was first expanded to 64 teams in 1985. This year, thirty-seven teams now are awarded at-large bids, with 31 teams again receiving automatic berths.

Back before the Internet, picking up the USA Today was a ritual the day after selection day. Now days, we will link the information we used to take a close look at.

CAPSULES: East West Southeast Southwest likes UNC-Ashville and Clemson for the Tuesday winners moving on Tuesday night. On Wednesday night, Texas-San Antonio and USC are the picks. Who do you like in the First Four? Here who we will be rooting for in the First Four games (the underdogs)...

  • UNC-Ashville (11-7, 19-13) from the Big South beat Auburn to open the 2010-11 season and enter the Tournament on a six game winning streak. Arkansas-Little Rock (7-9, 19-16) opened the season with a win over SMU, but lost final three regular season games in the Sun Belt, but got together with four straight to win the NCAA bid. Root for: Arkansas-Little Rock
  • UAB (12-4, 22-8) played Arizona State, Georgia and Duke on the road in the OOC and despite the losses, the committee appears to have awarded the C-USA regular season champs. Clemson (9-7, 21-10) from the ACC lost to Michigan at home in this year's ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Root for: UAB
  • Texas-San Antonio (9-7, 19-13) won the Southland Tournament to win a trip to the NCAAs and enters with a five game winning streak. Alabama State (11-7, 17-17) won the Southwestern Athletic Tournament and enters the NCAAs winning 11 of last 12. Root for: Texas-San Antonio
  • Virginia Commonwealth (12-6, 23-11) beat UCLA in the OOC and is lead by three key seniors out of the Colonial Athletic. USC (10-8, 19-14) is one of four Pac 10 teams in the NCAAs this year. Root for: VCU

USA TODAY'S PICKS: Tim Gardner Eddie Timanus

In other tournament news, on Tuesday night, both UNI and Creighton will host games in this year's CIT. The Panthers and Bluejays finished tied for fourth in The Valley this season.


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