Outlook: All eyes will be on Kansas. Because the Jayhawks, despite their Big 12 tourney flop, have been been a No. 1 seed candidate and serious national-championship threat all season. They’re in a region that suits them, until that potential 1-2 matchup with Louisville. Home-court advantage favors the Jayhawks. But the rugged ACC has left Louisville battle-tested.
In the first round, well-coached No. 12 Nevada has all the ingredients to surprise No. 5 Iowa State. And No. 11 Rhode Island promises to be a handful for No. 6 Creighton, which has gone 7-8 since Maurice Watson’s January knee injury.
Miami-Michigan State and Michigan-Oklahoma State are a pair of first-round squeakers that could go down to the last possession. The Wolverines, winners of the Big Ten tournament, are on a roll since their airport runway scare. And Tom Izzo doesn’t miss many tricks in March.
Upset Specials: Nevada over Iowa State, Rhode Island over Creighton.
Moving to Kansas City: Kansas, Purdue, Rhode Island, Louisville
Regional champ: Louisville