Here are 10 things to know about seven of the teams that will play NCAA tournament games Friday and Sunday at Time Warner Cable Arena. The eighth will be either Robert Morris or North Florida, who play a first-round game Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.
1. Duke coach Mike Krzyzweski is in the NCAA tournament and so are three members of his coaching “tree” – Buffalo’s Bobby Hurley, Harvard’s Tommy Amaker and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey.
2. Duke has had NCAA tournament success in Charlotte before. In fact, the Blue Devils played in the 1994 Final Four in the old Charlotte Coliseum, losing to Arkansas in the national championship game.
3. St. John’s will be without center Chris Obekpa, one of the country’s top shot blockers, who was suspended by coach Steve Lavin for two weeks on Sunday for breaking team rules. That means Obekpa can’t return until March 29, the week of the Final Four.
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4. Remember San Diego State coach Steve Fisher? He coached Michigan to the 1989 national championship. He also recruited the Wolverines’ “Fab Five” in the early 1990s, playing in the NCAA championship game twice – losing to Duke in 1992 and North Carolina in 1993.
5. Michigan State’s Lourawls Nairn Jr., is named, of course, after the R&B singer Lou Rawls (actually his father was). Nairn also has a cool nickname – Tum Tum – that comes from the character of youngest brother in the “3 Ninja” movies.
6. North Carolina fans might remember Belmont, and not in a fond way. The Bruins beat the Tar Heels 73-70 in 2013 in Chapel Hill’s Smith Center.
7. Virginia forward Anthony Gill is coming home. Although Gill’s family lives in High Point now, he played high school basketball at Charlotte Christian.
8. Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett played for the Charlotte Hornets from 1992-95. He also met his wife Laurel in Charlotte.
9. March got off to a good start for Georgia coach Mark Fox. He signed a two-year contract extension through the 2018 season. Fox makes $1.7 million per year.
10. Belmont coach Rick Byrd has a career record of 711-366 – including 619 with the Bruins. He’s one of 11 coaches to have at least 600 wins at one school.