Based on seeding history, Texas Southern has a minuscule chance of defeating second-seeded Arizona in the West Regional.
Since the NCAA Tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985 (it’s now 68), the record by No. 15 seeds is 8-120.
Still, second-seeded Arizona won’t sleep on the Tigers, who won at Michigan State and Kansas State this season.
Texas Southern is coached by Mike Davis, who last year became one of 39 coaches to take his third program to the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, he coached Indiana to the national title game, and he also has coached Alabama-Birmingham to the tournament. Davis also played in the tournament while at Alabama.
The Wildcats’ path through the tournament is potentially filled with familiar opponents. Tenth-seeded Ohio State could be a second-game opponent. The Buckeyes knocked Arizona out of the tournament in the 2013 Sweet 16.
If the seeds hold, the West Regional final will be a rematch of last year. This time the seeds are reversed with Wisconsin holding the No. 1, and the Badgers advanced to the Final Four last year.
Arizona, 31-3, won the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time since 2002, pummeling Oregon in the final, and won the league race by three games. The Wildcats looked like a No. 1 seed, but they’ll have to settle for a No. 2.
“I think the more important part for us is how well are we going to continue to play?” Wildcats coach Sean Miller said. “Can we build off this (Pac-12) tournament?”
Fourth-seeded North Carolina has never played Duke in the NCAA Tournament, but the Tar Heels will see a Blue Devil in its matchup against No. 13 Harvard. The Crimson is coached by former Duke guard Tommy Amaker.
Wofford over Arkansas would qualify as an upset by seed, with the Terriers a No. 12. But this should be a superb contest. Wofford won at North Carolina State this season and has won 15 of 16.
In freshman D’Angelo Russell, 10th-seeded Ohio State has a player who can carry a team. Along with Shannon Scott, the Buckeyes have one of the game’s best backcourts. They should match up well against No. 7 VCU.
PLAYER TO WATCH
When the national player-of-the-year awards are handed out, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky will be first in line.
FINAL FOUR PICK
Arizona over Wisconsin