Midwest Regional capsules
by USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY
Nickname: Cardinals. Location: Louisville.
Record: 29-5, 14-4. Bid: Big East champ.
Last appearance: 2012, lost to Kentucky in Final Four.
Coach: Rick Pitino, 42-16 in 17 appearances.
Overview: The Cardinals were a preseason national title favorite and should be considered so now — especially after battling from 16 down with 15.5 minutes to go in Saturday’s conference championship game to beat Syracuse for back-to-back Big East crowns. Well positioned for a repeat Final Four appearance.
Best wins: Marquette, Memphis, Syracuse.
Notable alumni: Sen. Mitch McConnell, former Sen. Chris Dodd, journalist Howard Fineman.
Starters: G Russ Smith, 6-0, Jr. (17.9 ppg, 2.1 spg, ) G Peyton Siva, 6-0, Sr. (9.9 ppg, 5.9 apg) F Chane Behanan, 6-6, So. (10.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) F Wayne Blackshear, 6-5, So. (8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg) C Gorgui Dieng, 6-11, Jr. (10.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.6 bpg).
Nickname: Blue Devils. Location: Durham, N.C.
Record: 27-5, 14-4. Bid: Atlantic Coast at-large.
Last appearance: 2012, lost to Lehigh in second round.
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, 79-24 in 28 appearances.
Overview: The Blue Devils built up their rèsumè in non-conference play, piling up wins against VCU, Louisville and Ohio State . The injury bug hit when forward Ryan Kelly (foot) missed 13 games in January/February. He returned giving Duke its confidence back and adding versatility to its offense .
Best wins: Louisville, Ohio State, Miami.
Notable alumni: Former president Richard Nixon (law school), author Anne Tyler.
Starters: G Seth Curry, 6-2, Sr. (17.1 ppg, 43.5 3FG%); G Quinn Cook, 6-1, So. (12.5 ppg, 5.3 apg); G Rasheed Sulaimon, 6-4, Fr. (11.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg); F Ryan Kelly, 6-11, Sr. (14.6 ppg, 53.1 3FG%); F Mason Plumlee, 6-10, Sr. (17.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg).
3. Michigan State
Nickname: Spartans. Location: East Lansing.
Record: 25-8, 13-5. Bid: Big Ten at-large.
Last appearance: 2012, lost to Louisville in Sweet 16.
Coach: Tom Izzo, 37-14 in 15 appearances.
Overview: The Spartans are in for the 16th consecutive season under Izzo and have made the Elite Eight four of the last five seasons. Gary Harris was Big Ten freshman of the year despite battling shoulder and back injuries, and Izzo said Harris might have sustained another shoulder injury Saturday.
Best wins: Kansas, Michigan, Ohio State.
Notable alumni: … [For more on Midwest Regional capsules, click here.]