Eddie Pells, Associated Press

From the familiar names at the top of the bracket – Gonzaga, Kansas, Baylor – to the fierce debate over everything – why was Coach K sent to the West? someone did Dayton wrong? – this version of Selection Sunday felt as comfortable as the worn-out Air Jordan.

The March Madness is back to normal or as close to normal as possible, and that means all these stunning upheavals and once-in-a-lifetime game winners will be playing in front of a rabid crowd for the first time in three years.

“It was a really special year because we all realized what we missed,” said Wilan coach Jay Wright, whose second team won the Grand East title in front of a crowded home in Madison Square Garden.

Gonzaga is the first seed, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor joined them on line “1” for this NCAA tournament, “it seems old times”. This is the first game from 2019 in various cities and time zones across America. The party lands in New Orleans for the Final Four and the Championship match on April 2-4.

It’s a return to how it was before the pandemic completely wiped out the tournament from the 2020 calendar and then turned the 2021 event into a one-city affair – all games held in a makeshift bubble in front of a limited crowd in and around Indianapolis.

Michigan and Michigan scored 64 points.

The Spartans are ranked 7th in the Western Region and ranked 10th in Davidson, featuring Clarkston graduate and former Michigan State Guard Foster Loyer, on Friday in Greenville, SC.

Wolverines are the number 11 seed in the Southern region and face number 6. On Thursday, Colorado in Indianapolis.

“It’s about staying in the moment and having more fun than anyone in the tournament,” said John Calipari, coach of second-seeded Kentucky.

The best way to have fun, of course, is to win everything. Baylor did it last year in the championship with Gonzaga. Like last year, both are again No. 1, and Zags is the 15-4 favorite to win the championship, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Next was Arizona 6-1, followed by Kentucky (15-2) and Baylor (11-1).

“Great learning experience,” Drew Tim of Hansa said in an interview with ESPN last year. “Obviously, things didn’t go the way we wanted. But this allowed the program to develop significantly. We are glad to be called. “

Some players to watch over the next three weeks include Oscar Tibwe of Kentucky, one of dozens who went through school through an expanded “transfer portal” that in the blink of an eye shows a tendency to change college hoops.

Kofi Cockburn leads No. 4 Illinois in the first-round match against Chattanooga, and freshman Jabari Smith leads in the fall of № 2 Auburn in the Midwest region, where a potential match against LSU conference rival, who fired coach Will Wieley earlier this time .

At the last tournament of coach Mike Krzyzewski before his retirement Duke played at number 2 seeded in the West. His path to the 13th Final Four could include a second-round match against Tom Iza and Michigan. And while some thought the qualifying committee could send Coach K to his hometown of Chicago and the Midwest for Sweet 16 as a farewell gift, instead it would be a trip to San Francisco and a potential encounter with Mark Fue’s bulldogs.

It’s one thing to face a hard cage, it’s quite another not to be in it at all. Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas A&M were the “top four”, which means there is still a glimmer of hope for them if the team is forced to retire because of COVID-19.

Xavier was not even on that list, which was among the biggest claims of the evening. It was according to Dick Vitaly, a national treasurer who was forced to write things on a white board – not shout about it – while he rested his vocal cords after cancer treatment. Wild V also believed that Tennessee, like 3, and Iowa, like 5, got worse seedlings than they deserved after winning their conference tournaments.

Dayton would have been there had it not been for the upset at his Atlantic 10 tournament tournament. Richmond slipped past Davidson for the title, and while Davidson was still out on the field, Dayton did not.

“Our committee really liked Dayton,” said selection chairman Tom Burnett. “They deserved attention, but unfortunately they ended up on the top four.”

The teams that just advanced included the numbers of 12 “seeded” Wyoming and Indiana to meet in the top four. The second last teams were Rutgers and Notre Dame, seeded No. 11, while Michigan was also seeded No. 11.

Fighting Irish, Hoosiers and Wolverines are among the nine leading teams in the country that have come out of the Big Ten. It’s the same as last season, but the conference moved only one team to another weekend. The Greater East, Greater 12 and Southeast Conference hosted six teams each.

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