College Sports

Midwest Region: It’s a gathering of bluebloods in North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas

Bluebloods are the favorites by seed in the Midwest Region.

North Carolina is a No. 1 seed for a record 17th time. All three of Roy Williams’ NCAA championships have come as a top seed.

Kentucky, college basketball’s all-time winningest program, is the No. 2. Kansas, second on that list, is the No. 4 seed.

Third-seeded Houston also has a rich tradition, with five Final Fours in its history.

The Tar Heels, like Duke, have played all of the No. 1 seeds, and North Carolina has a better record in those games at 3-2. After a 21-point loss to Louisville early in the ACC season, the Heels regrouped and won 15 of their next 17, losing only to Virginia and Duke.

Kentucky got good news during the SEC Tournament with the return of Reid Travis from a knee sprain. Here’s a fun fact for the Wildcats: Kentucky is the all-time leader in NCAA Tournament games played with 177. Kansas City, site of the Midwest semifinal and finals, has been the site of the most tournament games: 131.

If the Wildcats win two games, they will play an NCAA Tournament game in Kansas City for the first time.

Fourth-seeded Kansas has been in Kansas City many times. So has Williams, the Jayhawks’ coach from 1988-2003.

Kelvin Sampson has led Houston to one of its greatest seasons. The Cougars are 31-2. Only the 1984 team that lost to Georgetown for the national championship won more games in program history.

Players to watch

Kentucky’s PJ Washington has come on strong this season, averaging 14.7 points and hitting 42 percent of his three pointers.

Kansas big man Dedric Lawson averages a double-double at 19.2 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Keep an eye on Auburn guard Jared Harper, if you can. He’s one of the fastest players in the game.

Marial Shayok, a Virginia transfer, is the top gun for sixth-seeded Iowa State.

Utah State’s Sam Merrill was the Mountain West’s player of the year and the tournament MVP.

Upset special

Tenth-seeded Seton Hall takes out seventh-seeded Wofford.

Winner

Kentucky over North Carolina.



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