Bill Trocchi
Wednesday March 19th, 2008

Butler Bulldogs Seed, Region: No. 7, East Record: 29-3 (16-2 Horizon) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 17 Coach: Brad Stevens (First year at Butler, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Mike Green. A.J. Graves may be better known nationally, but Green has blossomed as a senior, leading Butler in points (14.6), rebounds (6.4) and assists (5.2) and becoming a Wooden finalist. Key stat: Butler held 10 opponents to 50 points or less and allows just 57.8 points per game, fifth best in the nation. Notable games: beat Michigan 79-65; beat Virginia Tech 84-78; beat Texas Tech 81-71; beat Ohio State 65-46; beat Florida State 79-68; lost to Drake 71-64 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: 2007, as a No. 5 seed, beat Old Dominion 57-46; beat Maryland 62-59; lost to Florida 65-57 in Sweet 16

South Alabama Jaguars Seed: No. 10 Record: 26-6 (16-2 Sun Belt) NCAA bid: At-large RPI: 38 Coach: Ronnie Arrow (First year of second stint with Jaguars, ninth year overall, 3rd NCAA tournament) Best Player: Demetric Bennett. A two-time first-team All-Sun Belt player, Bennett averaged 19.9 points and scored 39 in a loss at Ole Miss in December. Key stat: South Alabama has outrebounded or been even with opponents in 20 games this season and is 18-2 in those games. Notable games: lost at Ole Miss 81-78; lost at Vanderbilt 91-88; beat Mississippi State 71-67 Record in last 12 games: 9-3 Last NCAA appearance: 2006, as a No. 14 seed, lost to Florida 76-50

George Mason Seed: No. 12 Record: 23-10 (12-6 Colonial Athletic Association) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 61 Coach: Jim Larranaga (Eleventh year at George Mason, third NCAA tournament) Best player: Will Thomas. The burly senior forward started on the Final Four team two years ago and has improved his game since. Thomas averages 15.8 points and 10.9 rebounds and has a variety of nifty post moves. Key stat: Point guard Dre Smith went 10-for-10 from three-point range against James Madison, then went 4-for-31 in his next six games. Notable games: beat Kansas State 87-77; lost to Villanova 84-76; beat South Carolina 69-68 Record in last 12 games: 8-4 Last NCAA appearance: 2006, as a No. 11 seed; beat Michigan State 75-65, beat North Carolina 65-60; beat Wichita State 63-55; beat UConn 86-84; lost to Florida 73-58 in Final Four

Winthrop Eagles Seed: No. 13 Record: 22-11 (10-4 Big South) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 108 Coach: Randy Peele (First year at Winthrop, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Chris Gaynor. The senior guard leads the Winthrop attack. Gaynor averages 9.7 points, 4.2 assists and 2.9 steals, which is good for third in the nation. He also shoots 43 percent from three and hit five threes in a win at Miami. Key stat: Winthrop is shooting just 59.5 percent from the free-throw line, which ranks 325th out of 328 Division-I teams. Notable games: beat Georgia Tech 72-58; lost at Baylor 62-54; lost at West Virginia 70-53; lost at Ole Miss 76-71; won at Miami 76-70; lost to Davidson 60-47 Record in last 12 games: 8-4 Last NCAA appearance: 2007, as No. 11 seed, beat Notre Dame 74-64, lost to Oregon 75-61 in second round

American Eagles Seed: No. 15 Record: 21-11 (10-4 Patriot) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 91 Coach: Jeff Jones (Seventh year at American, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Garrison Carr. The 5-foot-11 junior was the MVP of the Patriot League tourney and averaged 18.1 points per game and shot 45 percent from three for the season. Key stat: American shoots 40.9 percent from three, good for sixth in the nation. Notable games: won at Maryland 67-59; lost at Georgetown 78-51 Record in last 12 games: 10-2 Last NCAA appearance: This is American's first NCAA tournament

Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers Seed: No. 16 Record: 19-14 (11-7 Northeast) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 159 Coach: Milan Brown (Fifth year at Mt. St. Mary's, first NCAA tournament) Best Player: Jeremy Goode. The 5-9 sophomore averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 assists and scored 21 points in the play-in game win over Coppin State. Key stat: The Mountaineers were outrebounded 17 times this season, going 6-11 in those games. Notable games: lost at Oregon 81-73; lost at Oklahoma 81-57 Record in last 12 games: 9-3 Last NCAA appearance: 1999, as a No. 16 seed; lost to Michigan State 76-53

Gonzaga Bulldogs Seed: No. 7 Record: 25-7 (13-1 West Coast) NCAA bid: At-large RPI: 30 Coach: Mark Few (Ninth year at Gonzaga, ninth NCAA tournament) Best Player: Jeremy Pargo. The West Coast player of the year averaged 11.9 points and 6.0 assists and became the eighth-straight Bulldog to win the award. The junior has started 66 straight games over the past two seasons. Key stat: With a career .800 winning percentage, Few is second in the nation to Roy Williams among coaches with five-years experience. Notable games: lost to Texas Tech 73-63; beat Virginia Tech 82-64; beat UConn 85-82; lost to Washington St. 51-47; lost to Oklahoma 72-68; lost to Tennessee 82-72; beat Georgia 75-67; lost at Memphis 81-73; lost at St. Mary's 89-85; beat St. Mary's 88-76 Record in last 12 games: 10-2 Last NCAA appearance: 2007, as a No. 10 seed, lost to Indiana 70-57 in the first round

Kent State Golden Flashes Seed: No. 9 Record: 28-6 (13-3 Mid-American) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 21 Coach: Jim Christian (Sixth year at Kent State, second NCAA tournament) Best player: Al Fisher. The junior college transfer was the MAC player of the year, scoring 14.3 points to go along with 4.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds as he spearheaded the Flashes run to the MAC regular-season and tournament titles. Key stat: Kent State is one of six programs to win 20 games or more for 10 straight years. Notable games: lost to Xavier 78-65, lost at North Carolina 90-61, beat St. Mary's 75-67 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: 2006, as a No. 12 seed, lost to Pittsburgh 79-64 in the first round

Davidson Wildcats Seed: No. 10 Record: 26-6 (16-0 Southern) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 35 Coach: Bob McKillop (Eighteenth year at Davidson, fifth NCAA tournament) Best player: Stephen Curry. The sophomore guard is the best mid-major player in the nation and can win a game by himself. He scored 30 points or more eight times and averaged 25.1 points per game while shooting 90 percent at the foul line. Key stat: With some help from Curry, point guard Jason Richards led the nation with 8.0 assists per game. Notable games: lost to North Carolina 72-68; lost to Duke 79-73; lost to UCLA 75-63; lost to NC State 66-65 Record in last 12 games: 12-0 Last NCAA appearance: 2007; as a No. 13 seed, lost to Maryland 82-70 in the first round

Siena Saints Seed: No. 13 Record: 22-10 (13-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 66 Coach: Fran McCaffery (Third year at Siena, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Kenny Hasbrouck. The junior guard is second on the team in scoring with 15.6 points and shoots 39 percent from three. The first-team All-MAAC selection leads the league in steals with 2.3. Key stat: Siena ranks ninth in the nation in steals with 9.4 per game, but is 299th in rebounding margin at (-4.5). Notable games: lost at Syracuse 87-79; beat Stanford 79-67; lost at Memphis 102-58 Record in last 12 games: 9-3 Last NCAA appearance: 2002 as a No. 16 seed; beat Alcorn State 81-77 in play-in game; lost to Maryland 85-70 in first round

Cal-State Fullerton Titans Seed: No. 14 Record: 24-8 (12-4 Big West) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 80 Coach: Bob Burton (Fifth year at Cal-State Fullerton, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Scott Cutley. The Big West co-player of the year averages 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor. He tallied more than 20 points six times. Key stat: The Titans average 82.6 points per game, the sixth highest in the nation. Notable games: lost at Arizona 91-65; lost at St. Mary's 69-59 Record in last 12 games: 10-2 Last NCAA appearance: 1978, beat New Mexico 90-85; beat San Francisco 75-72; lost to Arkansas 61-58 in Elite Eight

UMBC Retrievers Seed: No. 15 Record: 24-8 (13-3 America East) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 88 Coach: Randy Monroe (Fourth year at UMBC, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Jay Greene. The diminutive junior point guard (5-8, 160) is second in the nation in assists with 7.3 per game. Key stat: UMBC leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.62. Notable games: lost at West Virginia 80-62; lost at Ohio State 92-83 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: This is UMBC's first NCAA tournament.

Portland State Vikings Seed: No. 16 Record: 23-9 (14-2 Big Sky) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 90 Coach: Ken Bone (3rd year at Portland State, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Jeremiah Dominguez. The 5-6 guard (yes, he's 5-6) was the Big Sky player of the year in his first season with the Vikings, averaging 14.4 points per game. He was among the top three in the league in points (third), steals (first), three-pointers (first), free-throw percentage (first), assists (third) and three-point field-goal percentage (third). Dominguez is a fourth-year junior who transferred after two years at Portland. Key stat: After losing to Weber State, Portland State won its final 16 Big Sky games, including the Big Sky tournament. Notable games: lost at Washington State 72-60; lost at UCLA 69-48 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: This is Portland State's first NCAA tournament.

St. Mary's Gaels Seed: No. 10 Record: 25-6 (12-2 West Coast) NCAA bid: At-large RPI: 36 Coach: Randy Bennett (Seventh year at St. Mary's, second NCAA tournament) Best player: Patrick Mills. The Aussie native freshman guard led the Gaels in points (14.5), assists (3.4) and steals (1.8) and was the WCC newcomer of the year. Mills had 37 in a win over Oregon and scored 20 or more points eight times. Key stat: Mills had two turnovers or less in 21-of-31 games this year from his point-guard position. Notable games: beat Drake 72-66, beat Oregon 99-87; beat Seton Hall 85-70, lost at Texas 81-62; beat Gonzaga 89-85; lost at Gonzaga 88-76 Record in last 12 games: 8-4 Last NCAA appearance: 2005, as a No. 10 seed; lost to S. Illinois 65-56 in the first round

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Seed: No. 13 Record: 24-8 (16-2 Summit) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 53 Coach: Scott Sutton (Ninth year at Oral Roberts, third NCAA tournament) Best player: Robert Jarvis. He may not start, but the junior is the Golden Eagles' top scorer and best three-point shooter. Jarvis, a first-team All-Summit selection, scores 16.1 points per game and is shooting 41 percent from three. Key stat: Oral Roberts allows opponents to shoot just 39.7 percent from the field, which ranks 26th in the nation. Notable games: lost at Texas A&M 67-63; lost at Arkansas 62-51; lost at Texas 66-56; beat Oklahoma St. 74-59 Record in last 12 games: 9-3 Last NCAA appearance: 2007, as a No. 14 seed; lost to Washington State 70-54 in first round Cornell Big Red Seed: No. 14 Record: 22-5 (14-0 Ivy) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 65 Coach: Steve Donahue (Eighth year at Cornell, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Ryan Wittman. The sophomore forward is averaging 15.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 47 percent from three-point range. The son of Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman, Ryan was named Ivy League player of the year. Key stat: Point guard Louis Dale leads the nation in free-throw shooting at 94.6 percent. Notable games: lost at Syracuse 80-64; lost at Duke 81-67 Record in last 12 games: 12-0 Last NCAA appearance: 1988, as No. 16 seed; lost to Arizona 90-50 in first round

Austin Peay Governors Seed: No. 15 Record: 24-10 (16-4 Ohio Valley) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 84 Coach: Dave Loos (Eighteenth year at Austin Peay, third NCAA tournament) Best player: Drake Reed. The junior forward was OVC player of the year as a sophomore, but was beat out by UT-Martin's Lester Hudson this season. Nevertheless, Reed led the Govs with 14.8 points per game and had six double-double efforts. Key stat: Austin Peay averages 9.7 steals per game, the fourth most in the nation. Notable games: lost at Vanderbilt 81-67; lost at Memphis 104-82 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: 2003, as a No. 13 seed, lost to Louisville 86-64 in the first round

Texas-Arlington Mavericks Seed: No. 16 Record: 21-11 (7-9 Southland) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 147 Coach: Scott Cross (Second year at Texas-Arlington, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Rog'er Guignard. The sophomore followed up Southland freshman of the year honors by being named second-team all-league. Guignard averaged 38 minutes a game in the Southland tournament and had 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Key stat: Big man Jermaine Griffin is fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage at 64.9. Notable games: lost at Oklahoma State 69-64 Record in last 12 games: 7-5 Last NCAA appearance:This is Texas-Arlington's first NCAA tournament.

Drake Bulldogs Seed: No. 5 Record: 28-4 (15-3 Missouri Valley) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 10 Coach: Keno Davis (First year at Drake, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Adam Emmenecker. The former walk-on was the unlikely Missouri Valley player of the year after directing Drake's Cinderella season from the point. He averaged 6.2 assists (12th in the nation), 8.3 points and shot 83 percent from the foul line. Key stat: Drake averages 25 three-point attempts per game, yet Emmenecker, who plays 33 minutes a game, shot just two all season (and missed both). Notable games: lost at St. Mary's 72-66; beat Iowa State 79-44; won at Iowa 56-51; won at Butler 71-64 Record in last 12 games: 9-3 Last NCAA appearance: 1971, beat Notre Dame 79-72; lost to Kansas 73-71 in Elite Eight

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Seed: No. 12 Record: 26-6 (16-2 Sun Belt) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 39 Coach: Darrin Horn (Fifth year at Western Kentucky, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Courtney Lee. An NBA prospect, this four-year starter is a three-time first-team Sun Belt selection and this year's Sun Belt player of the year. Lee averages 20.6 points and has scored more than 2,000 in his career. Key stat: Western Kentucky is 23-0 when leading at the half. Notable games: lost to Gonzaga 74-71; beat Michigan 73-69; lost to Tennessee 88-82; lost at South Alabama 65-61; lost to South Alabama 69-64 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: 2003, as a No. 13 seed; lost to Illinois 65-60 in the first round

San Diego Toreros Seed: No. 13 Record: 21-13 (11-3 West Coast Conference) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 94 Coach: Bill Grier (First year at San Diego, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Brandon Johnson. The junior is a capable scorer and good long-range shooter who scored at least 20 eight times, including a 27-point game at Kentucky. Key stat: San Diego averages 15.1 turnovers per game, which ranks 215th in the nation. Notable games: lost at USC 60-50; won at Kentucky 81-72; lost at Gonzaga 80-70; beat St. Mary's 63-55; lost to Gonzaga 59-55; lost at St. Mary's 61-54; beat St. Mary's 75-69; beat Gonzaga 69-6 Record in last 12 games: 10-2 Last NCAA appearance: 2003, as No. 13 seed; lost to Stanford 77-69 in first round

Belmont Bruins Seed: No. 15 Record: 25-8 (14-2 Atlantic Sun) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 79 Coach: Rick Byrd (Eighth year at Belmont -- since it became a D-I program, third NCAA tournament) Best player: Justin Hare. One of several lights-out shooters on the Bruins, Hare averaged 15 ppg and shot 90 percent from the foul line. Key stat: 47 percent of Belmont's field-goal attempts are three-pointers. Notable games: beat Cincinnati 86-75; won at Alabama 85-83; lost at Xavier 90-49 Record in last 12 games: 12-0 Last NCAA appearance: 2007, as a No. 15 seed; lost to Georgetown 80-55

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils Seed: No. 16 Record: 17-15 (12-6 Southwestern Athletic) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 223 Coach: James Green (First year at Mississippi Valley St., first NCAA tournament) Best player: Carl Lucas. The SWAC tournament MVP led the Devils with 12.7 points and he also grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game. Lucas hit two free throws with one second left in the SWAC final to propel MVSU to the NCAA tournament. Key stat: In its four games vs. BCS teams, MVSU lost by an average of 36 points. Notable games: lost at Ole Miss 97-63, lost at Pittsburgh 78-45, lost at Washington St. 71-26, lost at Baylor 82-50 Record in last 12 games: 10-2 Last NCAA appearance: 1996, as a No 15 seed; lost to Georgetown 93-56 in the first round

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