LOCATION: Gainesville. ENROLLMENT: 49,000
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won SEC tourney
RECORD: 29-5. RPI: 6th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 8-3.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 14th appearance, and ninth in a row. The Gators are the defending NCAA champs, and they also had a runner-up finish in 2000. Their first NCAA bid came in 1987.
KEY PLAYERS: F Corey Brewer (6-9/Jr., 12.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 spg); G Taurean Green (6-0/Jr., 13.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 40.3 3-pft FG%, 86.7 FT%); F/C Al Horford (6-10/Jr., 13.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 60.2 FG%).
THE BUZZ: When the Gators are clicking, they're one of the two or three best teams in the nation. Horford and C/F Joakim Noah are good defenders in the paint, and Noah's emotion sparks the team. But when Green, who can be extremely sloppy with the ball, and senior G Lee Humphrey aren't hitting 3-pointers, the offense can bog down. Brewer is a lockdown defender and is the team's only slasher on offense.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: UF has the fourth-largest enrollment in the nation, and the freshmen retention rate of 94 percent is among the highest in the U.S.
LOCATION: Madison. ENROLLMENT: 41,169
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Big Ten
RECORD: 29-5. RPI: 4th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 9-4.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 13th appearance, ninth in a row and 10th in 11 years. The Badgers have made three Sweet 16s this decade and made it to the Final Four in 2000 as a No. 8 seed. They won it all in 1941.
KEY PLAYERS: G Kammron Taylor (6-2/Sr., 12.6 ppg, 40.3 3-pt FG%); F Alando Tucker (6-6/Sr., 20.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg).
THE BUZZ: The Badgers are as well-coached as any team in the field, and Tucker is a legit All-America. But other than him, this is not a team overflowing with talent or, frankly, athleticism. The Badgers are efficient on offense, take care of the ball, play good defense (they've allowed more than 70 points just three times), avoid fouling (the Badgers have made more free throws than their foes have attempted) and rebound well. But their best big man, 6-11 junior Brian Butch, may not be able to play in the tourney because of an elbow injury.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: John Muir, who founded the national parks system, attended Wisconsin in the 1860s but didn't earn a degree.
LOCATION: Eugene. ENROLLMENT: 20,033
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won Pac-10 tourney
RECORD: 26-7. RPI: 21st.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 8-5.
NCAA HISTORY: This is ninth appearance, and first since 2003. The Ducks won it all in 1939, the first year of the tourney, and have lost in regional finals in 1945, 1960 and 2002.
KEY PLAYERS: G Aaron Brooks (6-0/Sr., 17.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.4 apg, 40.7 3-pt FG%, 82.9 FT%); F MaartyÖ Leunen (6-9/Jr., 10.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 40.4 3-pt FG%); G Bryce Taylor (6-5/Jr., 14.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 52.2 FG%, 42.0 3-pt FG%, 83.5 FT%).
THE BUZZ: The Ducks stumbled a bit in February but remain dangerous because of a solid backcourt and a good group of athletes. Brooks has played at a high level all season. But there is no real low-post threat on either end, and if the "3s" aren't falling, the Ducks can struggle to score.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: In the past decade, Oregon has featured its players in billboard campaigns in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and PortlandÖ.
4. MARYLANDLOCATION: College Park. ENROLLMENT: 35,329
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from ACC
RECORD: 24-8. RPI: 16th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 8-5.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 22nd appearance, but first since 2004. The Terps won it all in 2002 and also advanced to the Final Four in 2001.
KEY PLAYERS: F James Gist (6-8/Jr., 12.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 53.9 FG%); G D.J. Strawberry (6-5/Sr., 15.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.1 spg); G Greivis Vasquez (6-5/Fr., 9.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 81.8 FT%).
THE BUZZ: The Terps caught fire in mid-February, going from a bubble team to a team that went into its league tourney hoping for a No. 3 or 4 seed. They want a fast pace and have a nice inside-outside balance. Vasquez has been steady at the point, and a long NCAA run depends on him remaining so; he's one of three Terps with at least 100 assists. Maryland's athleticism is put to good use defensively, but the Terps can be outmuscled on the boards.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Vasquez was a high-school teammate of Texas' Kevin Durant at Montrose Christian in Suitland, Md.
LOCATION: Indianapolis. ENROLLMENT: 4,326
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Horizon
RECORD: 27-6. RPI: 27th
RECORD VS. FIELD: 6-3.
NCAA HISTORY: This is seventh appearance, and fourth this decade.
KEY PLAYERS: G A.J. Graves (6-1/Jr., 17.0 ppg, 1.5 spg, 95.8 FT%); G Mike Green (6-1/Jr., 14.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.2 spg); F Pete Campbell (6-7/Soph., 8.9 ppg, 51.4 3-pt FG%).
THE BUZZ: The Bulldogs are gritty, well-coached and fundamentally sound. In other words, they're not big, they lack athleticism and they must hit their 3-pointers if they're to win. Butler plays solid defense, but a team with a lot of athletes is going to cause all sorts of problems. Graves is a good one and can pop it from long range.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: The Bulldogs' arena, Hinkle Fieldhouse, was the site of the real-life state prep championship that spurred the move Hoosiers.
6. NOTRE DAME
LOCATION: South Bend, Ind. ENROLLMENT: 11,479
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Big East
RECORD: 24-7. RPI: 31st.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 4-4.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 28th appearance, but first since 2003. The Fighting Irish went to the Final Four in 1978.
KEY PLAYERS: G Russell Carter (6-4/Sr., 17.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 40.6 3-pt FG%); G Colin Falls (6-5/Sr., 15.4 ppg, 40.4 3-pt FG%, 84.2 FT%); F Rob Kurz (6-9/Jr., 12.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 80.7 FT%).
THE BUZZ: The Carter-Falls duo has been lethal at times to Irish opponents. Notre Dame shoots the "3" well, passes well, rebounds well and plays solid defense. But when the pace is slowed, the Irish struggle. Five of their losses came when they scored less than 70 points.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Carter's dad played football at Pittsburgh, his cousin played football at Penn State and his uncle played football at Cincinnati.
LOCATION: Las Vegas. ENROLLMENT: 28,000
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won Mountain West tourney
RECORD: 28-6. RPI: 10th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 5-2.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 15th appearance. This is first since 2000 and just the third since the Runnin' Rebels lost in the national semifinals in 1991.
KEY PLAYERS: G Wink Adams (6-0/Soph., 14.3 ppg); G Kevin Kruger (6-2/Sr., 13.6 ppg, 5.0 apg, 84.0 FT%); F Wendell White (6-6/Sr., 14.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg).
THE BUZZ: Kruger, the son of Coach Lon Kruger, has been a steadying influence at the point. White is a solid all-around player. UNLV is athletic and has good depth, and backup big man Joel Anthony is a big-time shot-blocker (3.1 per game). UNLV does a lot of things well but nothing exceptionally.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: ESPN's Kenny Mayne was a quarterback at UNLV from 1979-81.
LOCATION: West Lafayette, Ind. ENROLLMENT: 38,712
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Big Ten
RECORD: 21-11. RPI: 42nd.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 5-7.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 21st appearance, and first since 2003. The Boilermakers made it to the Final Four in 1980 and 1994, and they lost a regional final in 2000.
KEY PLAYERS: F Carl Landry (6-7/Sr., 18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 59.8 FG%); G David Teague (6-5/Sr., 14.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 42.9 3-pt FG%).
THE BUZZ: The Boilermakers have relied on Landry and a solid defense. There are only two double-figure scorers and no one has more than 71 assists. Purdue is good from 3-point range and forces more than 16 turnovers per game. If Landry struggles, Purdue gets nothing from its frontcourt.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Purdue leads the nation in granting the most engineering degrees to women.
LOCATION: Tucson. ENROLLMENT: 37,000
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Pac-10
RECORD: 20-10. RPI: 14th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 8-10.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 26th appearance, and 23rd in a row, the longest current streak in the nation and the second-longest all-time to North Carolina's 27 (1975-2001). The Wildcats won it all in 1997.
KEY PLAYERS: F Chase Budinger (6-7/Fr., 15.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 84.4 FT%); G Mustafa Shakur (6-3/Sr., 12.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.9 apg); F Marcus Williams (6-7/Soph., 16.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg).
THE BUZZ: The Wildcats are athletic and have some big-time talent, notably Williams and Budinger. As a whole, though, the Wildcats suffer mental lapses, are prone to bad shots and turnovers and don't always play good defense. Shakur never has lived up to billing; maybe this is his time.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: There are no players on the Wildcats' roster from Arizona.
10. GEORGIA TECH
LOCATION: Atlanta. ENROLLMENT: 16,000
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from ACC
RECORD: 20-11 RPI: 52nd
RECORD VS. FIELD: 6-7.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 15th appearance, first since 2005 and fourth in seven seasons. Tech has been to two Final Fours and was runner-up in 2004.
KEY PLAYERS: G Javaris Crittenton (6-5/Fr., 14.6 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.0 spg); F Thaddeus Young (6-8/Fr., 14.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 41.9 3-pt FG%);
THE BUZZ: Tech has been inconsistent, not surprising when you consider its best players are freshmen. The Jackets are at their best when they get in a run-and-run game; conversely, they struggle at times in the halfcourt set. Crittenton is a gifted passer, but he turns it over a lot. A frontcourt-by-committee approach has helped Tech pound foes on the boards.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: In 1961, Georgia Tech became the first university in the Deep South to admit black students without a court order.
LOCATION: Rock Hill, S.C. ENROLLMENT: 6,558
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won Big South tourney
RECORD: 28-4 RPI: 70th
RECORD VS. FIELD: 1-4.
NCAA HISTORY: This is seventh appearance and third in a row. All the NCAA bids have come since 1999, but the Eagles are 0-6.
KEY PLAYERS: G Michael Jenkins (6-3/Jr., 15.3 ppg, 42.6 3-pt FG%); G Torrell Martin (6-5/Sr., 14.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 51.1 FG%), C Craig Bradshaw (6-10/Sr., 13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg).
THE BUZZ: Believe the hype: The Eagles are dangerous. This is an experienced group, and more athletic than most teams of their ilk. PG Chris Gaynor isn't a scorer but has a better than 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Still, they're not overly big (they're outrebounded, on average), and they can be hurt in the low post.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Winthrop's first season of basketball was 1978-79, when it was an NAIA school. It wasn't an NCAA school until 1985-86.
12. OLD DOMINION
LOCATION: Norfolk, Va. ENROLLMENT: 21,500
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Colonial
RECORD: 24-8. RPI: 40th
RECORD VS. FIELD: 2-3.
NCAA HISTORY: This is ninth appearance and second in three seasons. The Monarchs haven't won an NCAA game since 1995, when they beat Villanova in the first round as a No. 14 seed.
KEY PLAYERS: F Valdas Vasylius (6-7/Sr., 15.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg); G Drew Williamson (6-0/Sr., 11.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.3 spg)
THE BUZZ: The Monarchs aren't particularly proficient offensively, shooting only 43.4 percent from the floor. But they play solid defense, hit the boards and run when the opportunity prsents itself. ODU allowed at least 74 points only five times and it lost four of those. Former Edgewater G Brandon Johnson has started 22 games for ODU.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: ODU was founded in 1930 as a division of the College of William and Mary.
LOCATION: Davidson, N.C. ENROLLMENT: 1,700
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won Southern tourney
RECORD: 29-4 RPI: 48th
RECORD VS. FIELD: 1-1.
NCAA HISTORY: This is ninth appearance and second in a row. The Wildcats lost in East Regional finals in 1968 and '69, when Lefty Driesell was coach. Davidson hasn't won a tourney game since 1969 (five appearances)
KEY PLAYERS: G Stephen Curry (6-1/Fr., 21.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 41.1 3-pt FG%, 84.8 FT%); C/F Boris Meno (6-8/Jr., 11.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg); G Jason Richards (6-2/Jr., 13.6 ppg, 7.3 apg, 81.4 FT%).
THE BUZZ: The Wildcats come in on 13-game winning streak. This is a smart, well-coached, fundamentally sound team, and Curry can play. They have a plus-7.3 rebound margin, have good height and prefer a fast pace. But their big men are foul-prone, and if their opponent is strong in the low post, the Wildcats could struggle.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Curry, the son of former NBA guard Dell Curry, is the nation's second-leading freshman scorer.
14. MIAMI (OHIO)
LOCATION: Oxford, Ohio. ENROLLMENT: 16,300
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won MAC tourney
RECORD: 18-14 RPI: 92nd
RECORD VS. FIELD: 1-4.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 17th appearance, but first since 1999. The RedHawks made it to the Sweet 16 that season with Wally Szczerbiak as their star.
KEY PLAYERS: F Nathan Peavy (6-8/Sr., 14.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 54.1 FG%); F Tim Pollitz (6-6/Jr., 15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 56.8 FG%)
THE BUZZ: The RedHawks want a slow pace (they average 59.8 points per game), and their offense goes through Peavy and Pollitz. The backcourt isn't much, and they lack athleticism. When Jan. 1 rolled around, Miami was 4-8.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Ernest H. Volwiler, the inventor of sodium pentothal, was a Miami alum (class of 1911).
15. TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI
LOCATION: Corpus Christi. ENROLLMENT: 8,600
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won Southland tourney*
RECORD: 26-6 RPI: 81st.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 0-2.
NCAA HISTORY: This is first appearance, and it comes in the Islanders' first season of eligibility after a transition period moving up from Division II.
KEY PLAYERS: C Chris Daniels (7-0/Sr., 15.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 58.6 FG%); G Josh Washington (6-3/Sr., 12.8 ppg, 47.0 3-pt FG%, 88.9 FT%).
THE BUZZ: Daniels is a legit NBA prospect, and he will do some damge if the Islanders' foe doesn't play good low-post defense. Washington is a bombs-away outside threat, and if Daniels is productive, Washington is going to get some wide-open looks. The Islanders also have two players with more than 100 assists. That said, TAMU-CC's defense was shredded when it played "big-league" opponents in the regular season.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: TAMU-CC Coach Ronnie Arrow took South Alabama to the NCAAs in 1989 and '91.
16. JACKSON STATE
LOCATION: Jackson, Miss. ENROLLMENT: 8,416
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won SWAC tourney
RECORD: 21-13 RPI: 168th
RECORD VS. FIELD: 0-3.
NCAA HISTORY: This is third appearance, and first since 2000.
KEY PLAYERS: G Trey Johnson (6-5/Sr., 27.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg); F Grant Maxey (6-7/Fr., 8.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg)
THE BUZZ: Johnson, second in the nation in scoring. took more than a third of the Tigers' shots. Johnson is a talented offensive player and isn't afraid to fire away from outside; he also can put the ball in the floor and get into the lane. He's a good player, but he has no help.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: NFL Hall-of-famer Walter Payton is a Jackson State alum. His brother, Eddie, is Jackson State's golf coach.