San Francisco Chronicle - 1. Indiana
The headliner: G Victor Oladipo, versatile star
The story: The Hoosiers were the preseason No. 1 and probably have the nation's most well-rounded team, with no discernible weakness. Cody Zeller is the top scorer, but Oladipo is the engine.
The headliner: G Shane Larkin, Barry Larkin's son
The story: Four of the Hurricanes' seven key players are 23 or older, and that maturity coupled with their balance and defensive consistency made them formidable during the regular season. But do they have the star power and offense to do it in the postseason?
The headliner: G Vander Blue, versatile wing.
The story: The Golden Eagles are pretty good at most things, but not great at anything. They are a poor three-point shooting team and rely on Blue and point guard Junior Cadougan to create opportunities in the paint.
The headliner: G Michael Carter-Williams, versatile, tall point guard
The story: The Orange's zone defense will doom any opponent that isn't shooting its three-pointers well. Carter-Williams is effective when he is creating opportunities in transition. Syracuse did not play as well late in the season.
The headliner: F Anthony Bennett, perhaps the nation's best freshman
The story: The Rebels have been erratic, but they have considerable talent, especially in the frontcourt. If forward Mike Moser, who was injured early in the season, regains his 2012 form, UNLV could do some damage.
The headliner: G Rotnei Clarke, Arkansas transfer
The story: The Bulldogs got to the NCAA title game in 2010 and 2011, and they have a way of making opponents play poorly in the postseason. Clarke, Andrew Smith and Roosevelt Jones are their chief threats.
The headliner: G Brandon Paul, streak shooter
The story: The Illini righted themselves after losing eight of 11 games midway through the season. Any team that beats Gonzaga on the road and knocks off Indiana is dangerous. Under first-year coach John Groce, Illinois relies heavily on three-point shooting.
8. North Carolina State
The headliner: F C.J. Leslie, preseason ACC Player of the Year
The story: The Wolfpack are an outstanding rebounding team with more than enough talent, especially in the frontcourt. Point guard Lorenzo Brown is great in transition. Whether the Wolfpack can win a close game with Mark Gottfried calling the shots is a question.
The headliner: G Khalif Wyatt, outstanding scorer
The story: Wyatt averages more than 19 points a game and played well late in the season. The Owls beat Syracuse but also lost at home to Duquesne, which was otherwise winless in the Atlantic 10.
The headliner: G Spencer Dinwiddie, versatile swingman
The story: The Buffaloes have a habit of playing well at the end of the season under coach Tad Boyle, and their balance makes them difficult to prepare for. Andre Roberson led the nation in rebounding much of the season.
The headliner: C Mike Muscala, two-time Patriot League Player of the Year.
The story: The 6-foot-11 Muscala can score, rebound and block shots and is a future pro. The Bison upset No. 3 seed Kansas in 2005 and No. 8 seed Arkansas in 2006. This season, Bucknell beat La Salle and lost by two at Missouri.
The headliner: G Allen Crabbe, Pac-12 Player of the Year
The story: After struggling in the middle of the season, the Bears peaked late in the year behind their backcourt of Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. Because their frontcourt is suspect, Cobbs and Crabbe need to have big games.
The headliner: G/F Kareem Jamar, Big Sky Player of the Year
The story: The Grizzlies have gone 21-2 since their 4-4 start. They are an excellent three-point shooting team. The loss of leading scorer Mathias Ward, who was injured Feb. 16, won't help.
The headliner: F Jake Cohen, two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year
The story: The Wildcats are riding a 17-game winning streak and lead the nation in free-throw percentage. A solid team that hits its share of three-pointers, Davidson is not as good as its 2008 Elite Eight squad featuring Stephen Curry.
The headliner: G Lorenzo McCloud, second-team All-Big West
The story: The Tigers beat St. Mary's and Xavier early in the season, and they always play solid defense with few mistakes on offense under coach Bob Thomason. Pacific beat Pittsburgh in the 2005 NCAAs.
16A. LIU Brooklyn
The headliner: F Jamal Olasewere, Northeast Conference Player of the Year
The story: The Blackbirds scored more than 90 points in each of their last four games. They lost 2012 conference Player of the Year Julian Boyd to an ACL injury in December, and four players, including Olasewere, were suspended for two games in January for involvement in an on-campus brawl.
16B. James Madison
The headliner: F Rayshawn Goins, missed last season with injury
The story: James Madison is in
the NCAAs for the first time since 1994, when it nearly upset No. 3 seed Florida. The Dukes finished fourth in the Colonial regular-season standings and are offensively challenged.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, shns.com.)