OUTLOOK: The Panthers earned their first NCAA bid in the program's 107 years, despite losing F Adrian Tigert for the season to a knee injury. They lost to Wisconsin and Georgia but defeated Butler twice in three games, including a decisive 17-pointer in the Horizon tournament. Tucker was voted MVP of the league tournament.
No. 13 WESTERN KENTUCKY (23-8)
COACH: Dennis Felton (0-2 in NCAA).
STARTERS: F Nate Williams, F David Boyden, G Filip Videnov, G Mike Wells, G Patrick Sparks.
OUTLOOK: Chris Marcus, a 7-foot-1 center and All-America candidate, missed the entire season with a foot injury. Still, the Hilltoppers defended their Sun Belt regular-season and tournament titles. Four starters average between 11 and 15 points, balance that has fueled a current 11-game winning streak. Beat Auburn by 19, fell to Arizona by 39.
No. 14 COLORADO STATE (19-13)
NCAA HISTORY: Eighth appearance, first since 1990. Regional runner-up in 1969.
COACH: Dale Layer (1st NCAA).
STARTERS: F Brian Greene, F Darian Burke, C Matt Williams, G Andy Birley, G Shelton Johnson.
OUTLOOK: The Rams finished sixth in the Mountain West but won the conference tournament, defeating UNLV on the Rebels' home court in the final. They lead the nation in shooting percentage (51) and overcame a seven-game midseason losing streak. Matt Nelson, a 7-footer, comes off the bench. He was MVP of the conference tournament.
No. 15 UTAH STATE (24-8)
NCAA HISTORY: 15th appearance, third in four years. Regional runner-up in 1939 and '70. Upset Ohio State in first round in 2001.
COACH: Stew Morrill (1-3 in NCAA).
STARTERS: F Desmond Penigar, F Toraino Johnson, C Spencer Nelson, G Mark Brown, G Cardell Butler.
OUTLOOK: The Aggies are the type of team that gives high seeds fits, as Ohio State will attest from two years ago. Morrill relies on junior college transfers and a deliberate attack that forces opponents to defend for extended periods. Seeded third, Utah State won the Big West tournament. Also defeated state rivals Weber State and Utah.
No. 16 VERMONT (21-11)
NCAA HISTORY: First appearance.
COACH: Tom Brennan (1st NCAA).
STARTERS: F Taylor Coppenrath, F Grant Anderson, C Matt Sheftic, G Andre Anderson, G David Hehn.
OUTLOOK: Don't bank on the Catamounts in the pool, but bank on Brennan garnering plenty of pub. A former William and Mary assistant, he co-hosts a popular morning radio show and has Vermont in the NCAA for the first time in its 103 seasons. Coppenrath averages 20 points, and Sheftic was MVP on America East tournament.