The number of teams from the Mountain West Conference that made the NCAA field. It's the most ever for the league, one that has only nine teams total.
TOUGHEST: Louisville may be the No. 1 overall seed, but the Midwest bracket is murder for the Cardinals. A tough No. 2 in Duke at the bottom and a possible Sweet 16 matchup with A-10 champion Saint Louis looms. But before that can happen, the Cardinals will have to get through either Colorado State or Missouri, both physical, veteran teams. Then if you look down on the 3-line of the bracket, you'll see Michigan State, always one of the best teams in the tournament. Also lurking in that region is an under-seeded Oregon at 12 and a very good Memphis, which is seeded No. 6.
EASIEST: Toss-up between the South and East, but the South seems to be the easiest bracket. Kansas is the No. 2 overall seed and Georgetown the No. 2 in the region. The Hoyas didn't make the Big East tournament finals, but landed a No. 2. Florida, the best of a bad Southeastern Conference, is the No. 3 and Michigan is No. 4. Dangerous Virginia Commonwealth is the No. 5 seed, but when you look at the top four seeds in this region, you have to like Kansas' chances of reaching the Final Four, especially opening the tournament in Kansas City.
GONZAGA: The Zags will get either Pitt or Wichita State in Round 3 in the West and both teams are capable of beating them. It's not the toughest region, but it has teams such as Wisconsin (No. 5) and Ohio State (No. 2) that could very well prevent Gonzaga from reaching the Final Four.
Kentucky and Virginia might have a beef about Saint Mary's and Middle Tennessee getting in, but those aren't the true snubs in this year's field. That belongs to Miami, which becomes the first ACC regular-season and tournament champion not to be seeded No. 1. The Hurricanes defeated Duke by 27 points this year and are put on the same seeding line.
THE FIRST FOUR
(All games in Dayton, Ohio, and on Tru TV).
North Carolina A&T vs. Liberty: 6:40 p.m.
Saint Mary's vs. Middle Tennessee: 9:10 p.m.
LIU Brooklyn vs. James Madison: 6:40 p.m.
La Salle vs. Boise State: 9:10 p.m.