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March Madness 2021: 68-Team NCAA Tournament Field Revealed on Selection Sunday

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

Gonzaga players celebrate after defeating BYU in an NCAA college basketball game for the West Coast Conference men's tournament championship Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
David Becker/Associated Press

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.  

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

ZAGS GET THE NO. 1 SEED 🚨 https://t.co/LK82dkkowv

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Here's how each region looks:

     

West

  • 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
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The West Region is locked in 🔒 @marchmadness x @brhoops https://t.co/mV9fx9OVAr

           

South

  • 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
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The South Region is set 🍿 @marchmadness x @brhoops https://t.co/6zIISXRtud

           

Midwest

  • 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
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The Midwest Region is officially locked ✔️ @marchmadness x @brhoops https://t.co/3idgyoN7HB

            

East

  • 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
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Final region is set 👀 @marchmadness x @brhoops https://t.co/nn9tomJCDB

        

Standby Teams

  • Louisville
  • Colorado State
  • Saint Louis
  • Mississippi

           

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.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

JALEN SUGGS. ICE IN HIS VEINS ❄️ @brhoops He hits back-to-back threes (via @WCChoops) https://t.co/xQ233LkxuD

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.

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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.

Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops

Cade Cunningham was ridiculously hyped coming into the season, and he has exceeded expectations

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.

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