Let the Madness Begin!… NCAA Tourney is Here

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The tournament bracket is weighted in favor of the top-ranked heavyweight teams, but that's part of what makes March Madness so much fun.

Three of the most exciting weeks in sports are upon us again, and that's pretty cool. Here is a guide to the "madness" that will unfold over the next-three weekends.

The East Region also features No. 2 seed Duke, a controversial decision considering some analysts believed the Blue Devils belonged on the top line ahead of North Carolina.

It won't be easy, but Duke has the goods, and momentum (they won the ACC tournament) to win yet another title. Duke will begin its run in Greenville, S.C. on Friday.

Third-seeded Baylor also could be a wild card. They are still unsafe if they get going. But don't look past SMU. The Mustangs are 30-4 on the year and could make some noise if they get by Providence or USC in the opening round. "There are two assistants working on the first game and you still have to prepare possibly for a second game, so it's just different". The Cougars (21-10) are No. 51 in the RPI and No. 49 on KenPom, but they entered the day on the wrong side of the bubble in ESPN's projections before losing to a.500 Huskies team.

Gonzaga is the top seed in the West and Arizona the No. 2.

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The Bears started the season with 15 wins and 19 of 20. If they continue to play high-level defense they should cruise to the Final Four.

Duke is arguably the country's best No.2 seed, having won the ACC Championship this past weekend. Oh, and the committee asks that mid-majors win virtually every other game on their schedule. Perhaps even Kentucky, with a title at the SEC tournament, could sneak into the mix for the final No. 1 seed. They play each other in the first round. If you plan on keeping track of the scores and streaming the games throughout the week, you're going to want to have this app on all of your mobile devices. The Shockers play in the Missouri Valley Conference, so they don't have many chances for great wins. The Final Four will originate from Phoenix, Ariz., and the games will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium, the first western location to host the Final Four since 1995. In both 2010 and 2015, the Blue Devils were the top seed in that region.

Last season, Wichita State won the "play-in" game and upset Arizona in the next round. Regardless, the Jayhawks are likely the team to come out of the Midwest.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts to a call during the Big Ten Tournament.

LAS VEGAS - Nevada is king of college basketball in the Silver State. It made sure that if they are going to join UCLA, Duke and Florida in the history books, they are going to earn it.

Northern Kentucky has the unenviable task of playing in-state giant Kentucky, but that was of little concern to the team at the time. The four candidates this year are Providence, Southern California, Wake Forest and Kansas State. Freshmen TJ Leaf (16.2 ppg) and Lonzo Ball (14.6 ppg), along with senior Bryce Alford (15.8 ppg) pace a team that is just scary when it's hitting on all cylinders.

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