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Kansas, Duke, Maryland, Cincinnati Lead the Field Of 65
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/10/2002

March 10, 2002

Duke was seeded No. 1 for the NCAA tournament for a record fifth straight year Sunday, joined atop the regional brackets by top-ranked Kansas, Maryland and Cincinnati.

Maryland earned its first top spot, despite losing in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to unranked North Carolina State. Kansas also did not win its conference tournament, losing in the title game Sunday to Oklahoma. The Terrapins and Jayhawks won their regular-season league championships.

Only Cincinnati won both its regular season and tournament titles. Duke won the ACC tournament.

For the first time, the NCAA selection committee allowed teams - grouped in four-team "pods" - to stay closer to home for the first and second rounds before returning to their assigned regionals.

Maryland (26-4) was seeded first in the East and will play in nearby Washington on Friday against the winner of Tuesday's opening-round game between Alcorn State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Siena of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The other matchup in that pod is eighth-seeded Wisconsin against ninth-seeded St. John's.

The other four teams in that part of the East Regional bracket will play Thursday in St. Louis, Mo., with fourth-seeded Kentucky playing Valparaiso and fifth-seeded Marquette going against Tulsa.

The lower part of the bracket features second-seeded Connecticut against Hampton in Washington on Friday, along with seventh-seeded North Carolina State against Michigan State, which has been in the last three Final Fours.

In Chicago on Friday, third-seeded Georgia meets Murray State and sixth-seeded Texas Tech and coach Bob Knight play Southern Illinois.

In the Midwest Regional, Kansas (29-3), which had its 15-game winning streak snapped by Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament championship game on Sunday, will play Holy Cross on Thursday in St. Louis. The other game in that pod is eighth-seeded Stanford against Western Kentucky.

The other half of the upper bracket has fourth-seeded Illinois staying in the area against San Diego State on Friday, while fifth-seeded Florida faces Creighton.

Oregon, the Pac-10 regular-season champion, is seeded second and will play Montana in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday, with seventh-seeded Wake Forest against Pepperdine in the other game.

The other half of the lower part of the bracket is in Dallas on Friday, with third-seeded Mississippi State against McNeese State, and sixth-seeded Texas facing Boston College.

Duke (29-3) will open defense of its national championship as the No. 1 team in the South, playing Winthrop on Thursday in Greenville, S.C., while eighth-seeded Notre Dame faces Charlotte.

The other pod in that bracket will be in Sacramento on Thursday, with fourth-seeded Southern California against North Carolina-Wilmington, and fifth-seeded Indiana facing Utah.

Alabama is seeded second in the South and will also play in Greenville, meeting Florida Atlantic, which is making its first tournament appearance. The other game in that pod features seventh-seeded Oklahoma State against Kent State.

Pittsburgh, which lost to Connecticut in the Big East championship game, gets to stay home as the No. 3 seed, playing Central Connecticut State, which has the nation's longest current winning streak, on Friday. The other game features another in-state team, Ivy League champion Pennsylvania, against sixth-seeded California.

Cincinnati (30-3), the only team with 30 wins entering the tournament, is No. 1 in the West Regional. The Bearcats open against Boston University in Pittsburgh on Friday, with eighth-seeded UCLA facing Mississippi in the other game.

The other part of the top half of the bracket will be in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday. Fourth-seeded Ohio State, the Big Ten tournament champion, plays Davidson and fifth-seeded Miami faces Missouri.

Oklahoma's first game after the upset of Kansas will be as a No. 2 seed in Dallas on Friday against Illinois-Chicago, with seventh-seeded Xavier facing Hawaii in the other game.

The other pod in the lower half features third-seeded Arizona against Cal-Santa Barbara in Albuquerque, along with sixth-seeded Gonzaga facing Wyoming.

By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer


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