Sunday , Mar , 11 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Kansas, Ohio State, Florida, UNC top seeds for NCAA Tournament

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Kansas, Ohio State, Florida and North
Carolina have been installed as the top seeds for the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

The Jayhawks (30-4), who needed overtime to beat Texas in the Big 12
Tournament final Sunday, are the No. 1 seed in the West bracket. They will
face the winner of Tuesday’s opening-round contest between Mid-Eastern
champion Florida A&M and Niagara, winner of the Metro Atlantic Conference
Tournament title. Kansas’ first-round game will be on Friday in Chicago.

Kansas will try to avoid being upset in the first round of the NCAA’s for the
third straight year. In 2005, as a No. 3 seed, Kansas lost to Bucknell;
then last year the Jayhawks, as a No. 4 seed, were bounced by Bradley.

“We’ve experienced success in the tournament at our stops,” Kansas coach Bill
Self said. “The last two years have been miserable from an NCAA tournament
standpoint, from an off-season standpoint and from exiting early.”

The Buckeyes (30-3) won the Big Ten Tournament title Sunday over Wisconsin,
posting their 17th consecutive victory. They are the No. 1 seed in the South
and will take on Northeast champion Central Connecticut State on Thursday in
Winston-Salem. However, Ohio State hasn’t advanced past the second round in
the NCAA’s since 1999 when it was eliminated by Connecticut in the Final Four.

The defending national champion Gators (29-5), fresh off a victory over
Arkansas Sunday for the SEC Tournament championship, are the top seed in the
Midwest. Florida, which won 17 straight games at one point this season, will
face Southwest Athletic Conference champion Jackson State on Friday in New

North Carolina (28-6), which beat NC State in Sunday’s ACC Tournament final,
is the top seed in the East. The Tar Heels will face Ohio Valley Conference
champion Eastern Kentucky in the first round on Thursday in Winston-Salem.

The Tar Heels are into the Big Dance for a fourth straight year. In 2005, the
Tar Heels won it all, but last year they were unceremoniously bounced by
Cinderella George Mason in the second round.

Florida, Wisconsin, Oregon and Maryland are the top four seeds in the Midwest,
while Kansas, UCLA, Pittsburgh and Southern Illinois make up the top four in
the West.

North Carolina, Georgetown, Washington State and Texas are the first four
seeds in the East, while Ohio State, Memphis, Texas A&M and Virginia are the
top four seeds in the South.

First-round games on Thursday will be in Buffalo, Sacramento, Winston-Salem
and Lexington, while Friday’s contests are in Columbus, Chicago, New Orleans
and Spokane.

There were a few surprises, as Syracuse (22-10), Drexel (23-8) and Air Force
(23-8) were left out. The Orange, who lost to Drexel this year, lost to
Notre Dame in the Big East quarterfinals. Other jaded teams included Missouri
State (22-10), West Virginia (22-9), Kansas State (22-11) and Florida State

“Obviously we are disappointed,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We finished
10-6 in the league, which is fifth place, and we thought that would be enough,
but the committee didn’t agree with us. There is nothing we can do about that.
I know in our league, a 10-6 team has never not gotten into the NCAA
Tournament. Obviously, the players, coaches, we are all tremendously

Syracuse, which will play South Alabama in the NIT, was left out of the NCAA
Tournament for the first time since 2002.

“I have no idea what went on in that room,” Boeheim said of the NCAA
Tournament selection committee. “I know we were fifth in the Big East and two
teams behind us (Marquette, Villanova) are in. There’s not much we can do
about it. I have no way of understanding why we are not in. I don’t agree with
all the experts, but every single expert had us in.”

Some of the teams considered last invites include Old Dominion (24-8),
Arkansas (21-13), Illinois (23-11) and Stanford (18-12), which lost four of
its last five games but still made it into the field of 65.

The ACC led the way with seven teams, while the Big East, Pac-10 and Big Ten
each had six, followed by the SEC with five.

Arizona is making its 23rd consecutive NCAA appearance and 26th overall. The
23 trips is the nation’s longest active string, and ties coach Lute Olson with
former Tar Heel coach Dean Smith for the all-time record streak. The Wildcats
are seeded eighth in the Midwest and will play Purdue in a first-round game
on Friday in New Orleans.

The Midwest and West are on the left side of the bracket, while the East and
South are on the right. The Midwest regional semifinals and final will be in
at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, while the South games will be held at
the Alamodome in San Antonio. The West regional will be at HP Pavilion in San
Jose, and the East will be at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford,
New Jersey.

The Final Four will be held in at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday,
March 31, with the championship game to follow on April 2.