RCW: NCAA Preview - Men's Basketball
Kansas (28-4, 16-2 Big 12) enters the 2017 NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for the 13th time since seeding began in 1979. It is the seventh time in Bill Self’s 14 seasons at Kansas. The Jayhawks will open the event at the Bank of Oklahoma (BOK) Center in Tulsa on March 17 at 5:50 p.m., on TNT. KU will play the winner of the North Carolina Central (25-8) versus UC Davis (22-12) First Four matchup. N.C. Central and UC Davis play March 15 in Dayton, Ohio. Should Kansas win Friday night, the Jayhawks will play again Sunday, facing the winner of No. 8 seed Miami (21-11) against No. 9 seed Michigan (19-14). Kansas is appearing in its NCAA-record breaking 28th-consecutive NCAA Tournament, a run which began in 1990.
The winner of the Midwest Region’s First and Second Rounds in Tulsa will advance to play at Sprint Center in Kansas City, March 23 and 25, where the Jayhawks have already played four times this season.
The Final Four will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on April 1 and 3.
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL (25-8, 13-3 MEAC)
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Colors: Maroon & Gray
Head Coach: LeVelle Moton (NCCU, 1996)
- North Carolina Central won the 2016-17 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) regular season with a 13-3 record and the MEAC Tournament to earn the conference’s automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.
- The Eagles are playing in their second-ever NCAA Tournament with their first in 2014 where they fell to Big 12 foe Iowa State in San Antonio.
- NCCU is coached by alum LeVelle Moton who is 127-94 in his seventh season at the helm and is the 2017 MEAC Coach of the Year.
- The Eagles are led by fifth-year senior guard Patrick Cole who is the 2017 MEAC Player of the Year. Cole averages a team-high 19.5 points. He also pulls down 7.0 rebounds per game and has made 66 3-pointers this season. Fifth-year senior guard Dajuan Graf is a second-team all-conference selection who averages 14.3 points per game.
UC DAVIS (22-12, 11-5 Big West)
Location: Davis, California
Colors: Yale blue & Gold
Head Coach: Jim Les (Bradley, 1986)
- UC Davis placed second in the Big West Conference with an 11-5 record and won the league’s tournament to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
- The Aggies are making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UC Davis became NCAA Division I in 2007-08.
- UC Davis is coached by Jim Les who is 76-103 in his sixth season as head coach of the Aggies and 240-243 in his 15th season overall. Prior to UC Davis, Les coached nine seasons at Bradley, his alma mater. The Braves defeated Kansas in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Detroit.
- The Aggies are led by senior guard Brynton Lemar who averages 16.1 points per game and has made a team-high 73 3-pointers. Lemar was a 2017 All-Big West First Team selection along with junior forward Chima Moneke who was also the Big West Newcomer of the Year. Moneke averages 14.5 points and leads the team with 9.5 rebounds per game and 47 blocked shots. Sophomore guard Siler Schneider (10.6 ppg, 46 3-pointers) was an All-Big West Honorable Mention selection this season. Not sure why stats are different.
MIAMI (FLA.) (21-11, 10-8 ACC)
Location: Coral Gables, Florida
Colors: Orange, green & white
Head Coach: Jim Larranaga (Providence, 1971)
- Miami received an NCAA Tournament at-large bid going 21-11 overall and tying for seventh in the ACC with a 10-8 league record.
- The Hurricanes are playing in their second straight and ninth overall NCAA Tournament.
- Miami is coached by Jim Larranaga who is 139-68 in his sixth season at Miami and 609-412 in his 33rd season overall. This is Larranaga’s third trip to the NCAA Tournament with Miami.
- Senior guard Davon Reed leads Miami with a 15.0 scoring average and 77 3-pointers made. Reed, who was named to the All-ACC Third Team and the ACC All-Defensive Team, makes 83.3 percent of his free throws and averages 4.8 rebounds per game. Junior guard Ja’Quan Newton scores 13.4 points per game and is second on the team with 99 assists. Freshman guard Bruce Brown leads Miami with 102 assists and 46 steals to complement his 11.9 scoring average.
MICHIGAN STATE (19-14, 10-8 Big Ten)
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Colors: Green & White
Head Coach: Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, 1977)
- Michigan State received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament going 19-14 overall and tying for fifth in the Big Ten with a 10-8 league record.
- The Spartans are making their 20th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and their 31st all-time tourney. MSU has advanced to nine Final Fours and won the 1979 and 2000 titles.
- Michigan State is coached by Naismith Hall of Fame member Tom Izzo who is 543-219 in his 22nd season as a head coach, all at MSU.
- Freshman guard/forward Miles Bridges leads Michigan State in scoring at 16.7 points per game and rebounding with an 8.3 average. Additionally, he has made a team-high 52 3-pointers and was the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year and an All-Big Ten selection this season. Freshman forward Nick Ward was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honoree and is second on the team with 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He has a team-best 52 blocked shots. Fifth-year senior guard Eron Harris averages 10.4 points per game and is second on the team with 43 3-pointers made this season.