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EAST REGIONAL

The Baltimore Sun

1. North Carolina

LOCATION -- Chapel Hill, N.C.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 32-2, 2nd.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is 37th appearance and fifth consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Tyler Hansbrough (6-9 junior, 23.1 pts., 10.3 reb.), G Wayne Ellington (6-4 sophomore, 16.5 pts., 4.3 reb.), G Ty Lawson (5-11 sophomore, 12.4 pts., 5.2 assists).

THE BUZZ -- A deep, quick team that's led by probably the best player in the country in Hansbrough, the Tar Heels separated themselves late in the season and are probably the favorite to win the national title.

2. Tennessee

LOCATION -- Knoxville, Tenn.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Southeastern Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 29-4, 1st.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is Tennessee's 16th appearance, and third consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Tyler Smith (6-7 sophomore, 13.6 pts., 6.8 reb.); G Chris Lofton (6-2 senior, 16.1 pts., 3.2 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- The Vols' troubles guarding good teams might make them a popular early upset pick.

3. Louisville

LOCATION -- Louisville, Ky.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Big East Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 24-8; 13th13th

NCAA HISTORY -- This is 34th appearance and second consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- G/F Earl Clark (6-8 sophomore, 10.7 pts., 8.1 reb.); F/C David Padgett (6-11 senior, 11.7 pts., 4.6 reb.); G Jerry Smith (6-1 sophomore, 10.4 pts., 3.7 reb.); F Terrence Williams (6-6 junior, 11.2 pts., 7.3 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- Healthy and led by seniors, the Cardinals are Final Four contenders.

4.Washington State

LOCATION -- Pullman, Wash.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Pacific-10 Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 24-8, 23rd.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is fifth appearance and second consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Kyle Weaver (6-6 senior, 12.1 pts., 5 reb.); G Derrick Low (6-2 junior, 14.1 pts., 1.8 reb.); C Aron Baynes (6-10 junior, 10.2 pts., 5.7 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- The Cougars are a grind-it-out team that likes to win with defense, but that defense has let them down at times this season.

5.Notre Dame

LOCATION -- South Bend, Ind.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Big East Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 24-7, 27th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is 29th appearance and second in a row.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Luke Harangody (6-8 sophomore, 20.8 pts., 10.2 reb.); F Rob Kurz (6-9 senior, 12.8 pts., 7.5 reb.); G Kyle McAlarney (6-0 junior, 15.2 pts., 3.5 assists).

THE BUZZ -- Team's strong free-throw shooting is a big plus, and Harangody can single-handedly take over games.

6. Oklahoma

LOCATION -- Norman, Okla.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Big 12 Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 22-11, 28th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is 25th appearance and first since 2006.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Blake Griffin (6-10 freshman, 15 pts., 9.4 reb.); C Longar Longar (6-11 senior, 11.6 pts., 5.7 reb.); G Tony Crocker (6-6 sophomore, 11.5 pts., 2 assists).

THE BUZZ -- Sooners are back on track and make their first NCAA appearance since the mass exodus of players and former coach Kelvin Sampson in 2006.

7. Butler

LOCATION -- Indianapolis

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Horizon League tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 29-3, 17th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is eighth appearance and first automatic berth since 2001.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Mike Green (6-1, senior, 14.9 pts., 6.6 reb., 5.1 assists); G A.J. Graves (6-1, senior, 13.3 pts., 2.1 assists); F Matt Howard (6-8, freshman, 12.6 pts., 5.6 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- The Bulldogs' 17-2 start to this season was the best in school history.

8. Indiana

LOCATION -- Bloomington, Ind.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Big Ten Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 25-7, 22nd.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is 35th appearance and second consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Eric Gordon (6-4, freshman, 21.3 pts.); F D.J. White (6-9, senior, 17.3 pts., 10.4 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- The combination of Gordon and White helped the Hoosiers through the tumultuous departure of coach Kelvin Sampson.

9. Arkansas

LOCATION -- Fayetteville, Ark.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large bid from Southeastern Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 22-11, 26th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is 29th appearance and third consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Sonny Weems (6-6, senior, 14.3 pts., 4.6 reb.); G Patrick Beverley (6-1 sophomore, 12.3 pts., 6.8 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- With four seniors in the starting lineup, the Razorbacks need a postseason run before losing their nucleus.

10. South Alabama

LOCATION -- Mobile, Ala.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Sun Belt Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 26-6, 38th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is seventh appearance and first since 2006.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Demetric Bennett (6-4, senior, 20.1 pts., 5.9 reb.); G Domonic Tilford (5-10, junior, 12.7 pts., 2.6 reb.); G Daon Merritt (5-8, senior, 11.5 pts., 5.6 assists).

THE BUZZ -- The Jaguars' at-large berth resume included a big win over Southeast Conference West champ Mississippi State and West Coast Conference champion San Diego.

11. St. Joseph's

LOCATION -- Philadelphia.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- At-large berth from Atlantic 10 Conference.

RECORD, RPI -- 21-12, 45th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is the 18th appearance and first since 2004.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Pat Calathes (6-10, senior, 17.8 pts.; 7.5 reb.); F Ahmad Nivins (6-9, junior, 14.4 pts.).

THE BUZZ -- The Hawks closed the season strong, finishing runner-up in the Atlantic 10 title game to rival Temple.

12. George Mason

LOCATION -- Fairfax, Va.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 23-10, 61st.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is fifth appearance and first since 2006.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Will Thomas (6-7, senior, 15.8 pts., 10.5 reb.); G Folarin Campbell (6-4, senior, 15.9 pts., 4.5 reb., 3.3 assists); G John Vaughan (6-3, junior, 12.6 pts., 4 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- Campbell and double double machine Thomas want another Cinderella run like 2006.

13. Winthrop

LOCATION -- Rock Hill, S.C.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Big South Conference tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 22-11, 107th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is eighth appearance and fourth consecutive.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Michael Jenkins (6-3, senior, 14.3 pts., 2.5 assists); F Taj McCullough (6-7, senior, 11.5 pts., 5.7 reb.); G Chris Gaynor (5-10, senior, 9.7 pts., 4.2 assists).

THE BUZZ -- Excellent and experienced guards make the Eagles dangerous first-round opponents, but this team can be overpowered by teams from larger conferences.

14. Boise State

LOCATION -- Boise, Idaho.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Western Athletic Conference tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 25-8, 87th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is fifth appearance and first since 1994.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Reggie Larry (6-6, senior, 19.6 pts., 9.3 reb.); F Matt Nelson (6-9, senior, 15.6 pts., 7.3 reb.), F Tyler Tiedeman (6-7, senior, 14 pts., 3.4 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- This was just the eighth time Boise State has 20 or more wins in a season.

15. American

LOCATION -- Washington.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Patriot League tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 21-11, 91st.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is first appearance.

KEY PLAYERS -- PG Derrick Mercer (5-9, junior 12.5 pts., 4.1 assists); G Garrison Carr (5-11, junior, 18.1 pts., 3.4 reb.); F Travis Lay (6-5, senior, 6 pts., 4.1 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- The Eagles won the regular-season Patriot League championship then beat Colgate in the final of the conference tournament.

16a. Mount St. Mary's

LOCATION -- Emmitsburg

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Northeast Conference tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 18-14, 159th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is third appearance and first since 1999.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Chris Vann (6-0, senior, 14.4 pts., 3.1 reb.); G Jeremy Goode (5-9, sophomore, 14.3 pts., 5.5 assists).

THE BUZZ -- In the Northeast title game, Mount St. Mary's held Sacred Heart to 29 percent shooting, 10.5 percent from the three-point line.

16b. Coppin State

LOCATION -- Baltimore.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

RECORD, RPI -- 16-20, 228th.

NCAA HISTORY -- This is the fourth appearance, and first since 1997.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Tywain McKee (6-2, senior, 16.6 pts., 4.3 reb.); F Antwan Harrison (6-3, senior, 9 pts., 2.3 reb.); F Julian Conyers (6-6, senior, 6.7 pts., 2.4 reb.).

THE BUZZ -- Seeded seventh in the MEAC tournament, the Eagles won four games by a total of six points, capped by a stunning, 62-60 win over cross-town rival and regular-season champ Morgan State in the final.

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