The stage is set for the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament after the selection committee rolled out the bracket for the Big Dance on Sunday.
Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois and Michigan grabbed the four No. 1 seeds, with the Bulldogs considered the best team overall.
Here's how each region looks:
- No. 1 Gonzaga No. 16 Norfolk State/Appalachian State
- No. 8 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Missouri
- No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 12 UC Santa Barbara
- No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Ohio
- No. 6. USC vs. No. 11 Wichita State/Drake
- No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 14 Eastern Washington
- No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 10 VCU
- No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 15 Grand Canyon
- No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 16 Hartford
- No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Wisconsin
- No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 12 Winthrop
- No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 North Texas
- No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State
- No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 14 Colgate
- No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech
- No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts
- No. 1 Illinois vs. No. 16 Drexel
- No. 8 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech
- No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 12 Oregon State
- No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 13 Liberty
- No. 6 San Diego State vs. No. 11 Syracuse
- No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Morehead State
- No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 10 Rutgers
- No. 2 Houston vs. No. 15 Cleveland State
- No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Mount St. Mary's/Texas Southern
- No. 8 LSU vs. No. 9 St. Bonaventure
- No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 Georgetown
- No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 UNC Greensboro
- No. 6 BYU vs. No. 11 Michigan State/UCLA
- No. 3 Texas vs. No. 14 Abilene Christian
- No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 10 Maryland
- No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 15 Iona
- Colorado State
- Saint Louis
As the lone unbeaten team in Division I, Gonzaga will naturally be favored by many to reach its second Final Four.
The Bulldogs are coming off an 88-78 victory over BYU in the West Coast Conference final in which they outscored the Cougars 47-25 in the second half. Jalen Suggs took over late, finishing with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Head coach Mark Few has had plenty of talented players come through Spokane, Washington, but Suggs was the highest-ranked recruit in program history, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The freshman guard could be the singular talent who helps the Zags lift their first national title.
Baylor lost out on the opportunity to measure up against Gonzaga on the court after their December encounter was canceled following a pair of positive COVID-19 tests.
The Bears have sat No. 2 in the Associated Press poll for nearly the entirety of the season. Suffering a defeat to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament may help Scott Drew's squad refocus for the NCAA tourney.
Baylor leads the country in three-point percentage (41.8) and is tied for eighth with 10.1 made threes per game. If the Bears are firing on all cylinders, they can bury opponents under a barrage of long-range jumpers. That aforementioned defeat to Oklahoma State was a prime example of how that strategy can backfire, however, as the team shot 6-of-28 from the perimeter.
Despite falling to Texas in the conference championship, the Cowboys will likely be a trendy pick in large part because of Cade Cunningham.
The 6'8" guard is averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists, living up to the billing as a top prospect in the 2021 NBA draft class. While OSU isn't a one-man show, Cunningham's performance will likely dictate whether the Cowboys are celebrating their first Final Four trip since 2004.
Loyola Chicago was a darling of the 2018 NCAA tournament, when the 11th-seeded Ramblers advanced to the national semifinals. They won't really be playing the role of underdogs this season after compiling a 24-4 record.
Thanks to playing the 162nd-toughest schedule, though, getting a read on Loyola Chicago is tricky. The team lost its only game against a ranked opponent, falling 77-63 to Wisconsin on Dec. 15.
KenPom.com ranks the Ramblers 49th in adjusted offense and first in adjusted defense. They are holding opposing teams to 55.5 points and 40.7 percent shooting. Loyola Chicago won't be sneaking up on anybody, and it figures to be a nightmare to play against in the tournament.
The First Four games are scheduled for Thursday, and the first round proper will tip off Friday. All roads lead to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Final Four on April 3 and the championship game April 5.