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NCAA Tournament: In South, Gators’ path not easy

Florida could face Colorado or Pitt, then possibly UCLA.



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No. 4 UCLA (26-8) vs. No. 13 Tulsa (21-12)

At a glance

Top player

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas. The most highly touted freshman coming into this season, Wiggins did not disappoint. There were some speed bumps, but he lived up to the hype.

Top team

Florida. The Gators are the No. 1 team in the country and cruised through the SEC, topped with Sunday’s win over Kentucky in the conference title game. Their path to the Sweet 16 is not without potholes — talented UCLA could be waiting for them. But a Final 4 trip is likely.

Sleeper

New Mexico. The Lobos capped a marvelous season with a victory over San Diego State in the Mountain West title game. As a No. 7, they are underseeded, making them a tempting pick to get to the round of 32 and perhaps beyond. Kansas, take note.

Best player you don’t know

Glenn Kosey, Eastern Kentucky. Kosey established himself as one of the better guards in the country, averaging 18.8 points a game to lead the Colonels to the tournament.

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At San Diego | Friday, 7:57 p.m., truTV

Outlook » Fresh off of its Pac-12 tournament title win over Arizona, UCLA is looking to continue its hot run. The Bruins are loaded with talent, but first-year Bruins coach Steve Alford will be scrutinized after past postseason failures. And Tulsa also is on a roll, winning its last 11 games.

No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth (26-8) vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin (31-2)

At San Diego | Friday, 5:27 p.m., truTV

Outlook » VCU has been a darling of recent NCAA Tournaments, but the Rams — who fell in the A-10 championship game to St. Joseph’s — will have to dodge a potential early upset from a more than capable opponent in the Lumberjacks.

No. 6 Ohio State (25-9) vs. No. 11 Dayton (23-10)


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At Buffalo, N.Y. | Thursday, 10:15 a.m., Ch. 2

Outlook » Dayton entered Selection Sunday firmly on the bubble — and many thought the Flyers would be in a play-in game in their hometown — while No. 24 Ohio State got bounced in the Big Ten semifinals. This marks the first time in five years the Buckeyes are lower than a No. 5 seed.

No. 7 New Mexico (27-6) vs. No. 10 Stanford (21-12)

At St. Louis | Friday, 11:40 a.m., TBS

Outlook » Fresh off its Mountain West championship game win over San Diego State, New Mexico seems under-seeded here. Translation: the solid-but-unspectacular Cardinal will have their hands full. If the Lobos are battle-tested, they don’t have a great NCAA Tournament history.

No. 8 Colorado (23-11) vs. No. 9 Pittsburgh (25-9)

At Orlando, Fla. | Thursday, 11:40 a.m., TBS

Outlook » This matchup appears even and could go down to the wire. The Buffaloes finished fourth in the Pac-12, but will be without their best player, Spencer Dinwiddie, while the Panthers were fifth in their first season in the ACC.



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