March 17 (The Sports Xchange) - Louisville, Kansas, Indiana and Gonzaga were awarded the top seeds in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday as the 68-team field for the path to the Final Four in Atlanta was set.
Louisville (29-5) took the overall number one seed with its strong finish. The Cardinals defeated Syracuse on Saturday for the Big East tournament championship and closed the season with 10 straight wins.
Louisville opens play in the Midwest Region on Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky, against the winner of the First Four catch-up between North Carolina A&T and Liberty.
Kansas, the number one seed in the South Region and the number two overall seed, will open with Sun Belt champion Western Kentucky on Friday in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Jayhawks are making their 24th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the longest active streak. The record run, 27 years, was set by North Carolina from 1975-2001.
Indiana is the number one seed in the East Region. The Hoosiers will open against LIU Brooklyn or James Madison on Friday in Dayton, Ohio.
Indiana was expected to have a good chance at the number one overall seed and the top seed in the Midwest Region, a slot that would have sent the Hoosiers through nearby Indianapolis for the regional semi-finals and finals. Instead, Indiana closed the season by losing three of its final six games, including a defeat to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semi-finals.
Gonzaga earned the top seed in the West Region. The West Coast Conference regular-season and tournament champion will play Southern University on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Gonzaga got the final No. 1 seed, ahead of Miami.
The Hurricanes defeated North Carolina on Sunday for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title.
“Miami had a tremendous year. In the final analysis, we put Gonzaga just ahead of them,” said NCAA Tournament committee chair Mike Bobinski, Georgia Tech’s athletic director.
Duke, also considered a contender for a number one seed, was awarded the number two seed in the Midwest. The Blue Devils will play Albany on Friday in Philadelphia.
The Big East Conference had the most teams reach the field with eight, while the Big Ten had seven.
Defending national champion Kentucky failed to get into the field.
Editing by Gene Cherry