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13 March 2017, 12:57 | Simon Arnold
Let it roll for March Madness at own risk
Selection Sunday saw the field of 68 teams revealed as the brackets are now set. Northwestern lost five of seven, but one of the two wins came on the road against a ranked Wisconsin team, a monumental victory that seemed to punch the team's ticket to the tournament.
It's as much a rite of March as someone winning the office bracket pool picking by mascot or uniform color. The victor of the Mt. St. Mary's/New Orleans game will take on the overall number one team in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the Villanova Wildcats, while the Providence/USC victor will advance to face the high flying SMU Mustangs on Friday afternoon from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The USC Trojans are the 11-seed in the East and will have to face the Providence Friars in the First Four.
This year, no such dice as a result of Syracuse's top wins. First and foremost are the play in games, or as they are better known "The First Four" in play.
In addition, Syracuse had not proven that it could win away from the Carrier Dome.
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Six other teams from the Big Ten will join Northwestern as March Madness participants.
Last year, Villanova didn't have things easy. Northern Kentucky, champions of the Horizon League Tournament, is seeded No. 15. Not only is 14 typically too many for a bubble team, upsets at the hands of Omaha, Memphis and Nebraska were undoubtedly especially costly. Twenty-one wins from a power conference is typically enough to secure a bid, but the Bears could not overcome going 0-for-6 against Pac-12 heavyweights Arizona, Oregon and UCLA.
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