Final Bracket: One hour to go…

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Depending on your viewpoint, it’s a 50-50 call on whether Indiana or Louisville will be the No. 1 overall seed and thus the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.  Early this morning, we had Indiana in that spot.  After a few more hours to think about it, the Hoosiers stay put.  An outright regular-season title in the Big Ten and the strength of road wins at Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan could be enough to keep IU close to home.  Ironically, back in November, we had Indiana and Louisville as the top two seeds on our pre-season bracket.  And here we are, back where we started.  If the Selection Committee tabs the Cardinals as the overall No. 1 seed, no argument here.  Both teams are very deserving.

We may never know if Ole Miss had a spot in the Field of 68 before winning the SEC tournament title today.  The Rebels took care of business, beat Florida, and secured a spot.  There are bound to be a few close calls, and we could see a surprise team in the bracket.  We’ll know soon.  It’s been a great season, and it’s going to be a great tournament.

UPDATED: March 17, 2013 | 4:30 p.m. ET

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Tennessee vs. Saint Mary’s | East Region
  • Boise State vs. La Salle | South Region
  • JAMES MADISON vs. NO CAROLINA AT | East Region
  • SOUTHERN vs. LIBERTY | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTWashington, DC MIDWESTIndianapolis            
Lexington Dayton
1) LOUISVILLE 1) Indiana
16) JAMES MADISON / NC A&T 16) LIBERTY / SOUTHERN
8) Illinois 8) NC State
9) Wichita State 9) San Diego State
San Jose Kansas City
5) UNLV 5) Marquette
12) Saint Mary’s / Tennessee 12) BELMONT
4) SAINT LOUIS 4) Kansas State
13) DAVIDSON 13) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Dayton Austin
6) Notre Dame 6) VCU
11) MISSISSIPPI 11) California
3) Ohio State 3) Florida
14) NORTHWESTERN STATE 14) HARVARD
Lexington Philadelphia
7) UCLA 7) CREIGHTON
10) Temple 10) Minnesota
2) MIAMI-FL 2) Georgetown
15) ALBANY 15) IONA
SOUTH – Dallas WEST – Los Angeles
Philadelphia Kansas City
1) Duke 1) KANSAS
16) LIU-BROOKLYN 16) WESTERN KENTUCKY
8) Missouri 8) Colorado State
9) MEMPHIS 9) Cincinnati
Austin San Jose
5) Oklahoma State 5) Arizona
12) Boise State / La Salle 12) BUCKNELL
4) Syracuse 4) Wisconsin
13) AKRON 13) NEW MEXICO STATE
Auburn Hills Auburn Hills
6) Butler 6) Pittsburgh
11) Oklahoma 11) Iowa State
3) Michigan State 3) Michigan
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) VALPARAISO
Salt Lake Salt Lake
7) OREGON 7) North Carolina
10) Villanova 10) Colorado
2) NEW MEXICO 2) GONZAGA
15) PACIFIC 15) MONTANA

NOTES on the BRACKET: Indiana is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Louisville, Duke, and Kansas. Next in line: Gonzaga, Georgetown, New Mexico, Miami-FL

Last Five teams in (at large): Oklahoma, Boise State, Tennessee, La Salle, Saint Mary’s

First Five teams out (at large): Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts

Next five teams out (at large): Iowa, Alabama, Southern Miss, Arizona State, Stephen F. Austin

Breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova

Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois

Mountain West (5): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise State

Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, California

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis

ACC (4): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL

SEC (4): Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi

Missouri Valley (2): CREIGHTON, Wichita State

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Conference USA (1): Memphis

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … BELMONT (Ohio Valley), WESTERN KENTUCKY (Sun Belt), BUCKNELL (Patriot), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit), VALPARAISO (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC), IONA (MAAC), NORTHWESTERN STATE (Southland), AKRON (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), PACIFIC (Big West), JAMES MADISON (Colonial), ALBANY (American East), MONTANA (Big Sky), NORTH CAROLINA A&T (MEAC), LIBERTY (Big South), LIU-BROOKLYN (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)

Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

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Regional Finals – Sunday, March 26

2:20 p.m.,CBS, New York
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Florida (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

5:05 p.m., CBS, Memphis
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Steve Alford: ‘I’m very happy at UCLA’

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UCLA head coach Steve Alford was still processing an 86-75 season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night when he had to answer questions about another blueblood program.

Sine the dismal of Tom Crean at Indiana, Alford has been one of the names rumored to be in the mix for the coaching vacancy. A reporter in the press conference in Memphis didn’t even get a chance to finish his question before Alford cut him off and a publicly state that he was happy in Westwood.

“I said it last week, and I’ll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said. “To begin with, it’s a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I’ve got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he’s graduating from UCLA, so I’ve got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she’s going to in Thousand Oaks. I’m very happy. I’m at UCLA. I don’t know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.

“This is a pretty special place. We’ve worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We’ve got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We’re opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us.

“I’m very, very happy where I’m at, and hopefully, that’ll continue.”

Alford won a national championship with the Hoosiers in 1987, scoring more than 2,400 points in his career under head coach Bob Knight. He has been with UCLA since 2013, reaching the Sweet 16 in three of his four seasons with the Bruins.

Crean was fired on March 16 after nine season in Bloomington.

Lonzo Ball has officially declared for the 2017 NBA Draft

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Following a season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, UCLA freshman point guard unsurprisingly announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.

“That was my final game for UCLA. I appreciate the fans,” Ball told reporters.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has a strong case to be the No. 1 overall pick. It could be almost too enticing for the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on a Southern Cal product if the ping pong balls fall in their favor. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were in Memphis for Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

Ball, in an All-American freshman season with the Bruins, averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation’s best 7.6 assists per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

He ended his college career with an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats, scoring 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting, with eight assists.

VIDEO: Florida’s Chris Chiozza beats Wisconsin at the buzzer

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK — So you didn’t think the NCAA Tournament had enough excitement this year?

Wisconsin and Florida solved that problem for you.

The Badgers started things, as they erased a 12-point deficit in the final 4:15 to force overtime, a stretch that included an 8-0 run at the end of regulation that was capped by a Zak Showalter running three with 2.5 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 72.

Wisconsin jumped out to a lead in overtime, but the combination of an inability to make free throws and and this epic chasedown block from Canyon Barry left the door open for the Gators, who eventually won the game on this running three from Chris Chiozza:

What.

A.

Game.

If we get a better one than this, I just hope I’m courtside for it.

KeVaughn Allen led the way for the Gators with 35 points, and no one else on the Gators scored more than eight points, but it didn’t matter. The Gators are still headed to the Elite 8, and Mike White will have a chance to play for the right to go to the Final Four in his first NCAA Tournaments.

Replacing a legend like Billy Donovan was never going to be easy, but White is doing an admirable job.

The other subplot here: With the win, Florida becomes the third member of the SEC in the Elite 8, and with a regional final against South Carolina on Sunday afternoon, it guarantees that there will be at least one SEC team in the Final Four.

While there were celebrations in the Florida locker room, Wisconsin’s was one of devastation.

The Badgers started four seniors, including tournament stalwarts Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, who played in their 17th career NCAA Tournament games.

Hayes had 22 points, but he’s going to be haunted by the free throws he missed. He was 7-for-14 from the line on the night, including four missed freebies in overtime. The end was similarly heart-breaking for Koenig, as he was a non-factor in overtime due to an injury he suffered on the possession before Showalter’s game-tying three.

Both of them are going to spend years thinking ‘What if?’ That’s how the NCAA Tournament works.

Everyone leaves in tears, either because they’re cutting down the nets at the Final Four or because their season — their career — just came to an end.

Hayes and Koenig were no different.

VIDEO: Canyon Barry saves Florida with epic chase down block

Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Florida’s Canyon Berry had the best chase down block since LeBron James in the 2016 NBA Finals.

It kept Wisconsin’s lead at two points and gave the Gators a chance to tie and, eventually, win the game.

Look at this: