It's Tough To Not Like Villanova's NCAA Tournament Championship Chances

D'Angelo Russell D'Angelo Russell trade

March is upon us, and for hoops junkies March equals "Madness", and "Madness" equals a college basketball overload.

Playing at home in the NCAA Tournament is actually a routine for Duke, last season notwithstanding.

As a No. 2 seed, they'll now look to realize those expectations as they take on the Troy Trojans in the 2017 NCAA Tournament First Round on Friday, March 17.

Kris Jenkins' game-winner for Villanova in last year's national championship game against North Carolina will be on highlight reels for decades to come.

Northern Iowa upset No. 1 overall seed Kansas in the 2010 NCAA Tournament after Ali Farokhmanesh hit a game-deciding 3-point shot in the contest's final minute.

Josh Hart appreciates the efforts of the Villanova band. By then, the Blue Devils were already preparing for Sunday, when that evening - just after UNC finishes its game against Arkansas - Duke players and coaches will stride onto the floor as a collection of villains these parts have scarcely ever seen.

But for this season's group, the camaraderie fueled by success has them right where they need to be this weekend.

The Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year had made just 20 of 60 shots (33 percent) and 7 of 31 3-pointers (23 percent) in his last four games.

That means Kentucky's program is listed as having a flawless graduation record, laughable because so many players leave before their first year is even over.

Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals are the third seed but have had trouble making shots virtually all season.

"I thought we did a good job of defending the 3, which that's what they do, and that was going to be a key to the game", Krzyzewski said. The Bearcats were on a nice run in the conference play but were put down in the finals of the AAC tournament, suffering a 56-71 loss to the SMU Mustangs.

It was hard to believe the Big East champion was going to struggle in the second half based on their championship pedigree.

The South Region is flat out loaded. Since Allen has moved into his heavily-used reserve role, Duke has accumulated a 6-1 record, which included four wins in last week's ACC Tournament. "The No. 2 seed in the Wildcats" own East Region, Duke. Kentucky possibly has gotten the worst draw of any potential title contender in this whole tournament-again.

Why stop there? No. 10 Wichita State over No. 7 Dayton is a sexy pick. SC and Marquette fans were trickling in for their first-round matchup, and there was only one person that got boos.

"The challenge for us, and pretty much everyone else depending on when you played in the (conference) tournament, is to be sharp and to come out ready to go", McCallie said "I, like everyone else, can not wait to see what we have at 9".

Yes, another year has passed without the NCAA issuing penalties for North Carolina athletes taking phony courses to keep them academically ineligible.

There is only one question fans care about when discussing the West Region. Even if it kinda resembles Cookie Monster, the story behind the team and the mascot is something to watch in this years tournament. And it's just to give the team that extra boost.

The first two steps is how they determine who plays in the First Four. They do everything that a great program does; they just haven't broken through to that final weekend of the season just yet. Only three teams score more points per possession than Villanova, while the Golden Eagles have scored more than 90 points in three of their last five games. The mid-season arrival of Allonzo Trier after suspension has catapulted Arizona to a level unmatched by most teams.

Michigan State landed in the same region as UM as a nine-seed.