The NCAA Tournament and all its “March Madness”
begins today at 12:20 p.m. If you’re reading this in class
and it’s any time after noon, get up and go home right now
— and try not to leave your couch until Sunday night. Daily
basketball writer Daniel Bremmer takes a look at today’s
matchups:

ATLANTA REGION

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 Alabama State

7:10 p.m. — Raleigh, North Carolina

A No. 16 has never knocked off a No. 1 seed. Don’t look
for that trend to change anytime soon. Especially not when Duke has
the shooting of J.J. Redick and the leadership of Chris Duhon.

No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 Arizona

9:30 p.m. — Raleigh, North Carolina

Seton Hall’s Andre Barret may be the best point guard in
the country behind Jameer Nelson. Arizona’s defense gave up
an average of 78 per game this year, but its offense is explosive.
Can you say “Iguodala?”

No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Air Force

9:40 p.m. — Denver, Colorado

The Tarheels will look to show the Selection Committee that they
were stiffed with a No. 6 seed. Air Force better look out below
— Carolina’s Rashad McCants might be the hottest guy in
the tourney.

No. 3 Texas vs. No. 14 Princeton

7:20 p.m. — Denver, Colorado

Every time Princeton represents the Ivy League, people say the
Tigers could surprise a team and win a game. But not against No. 3
Texas, who was the runner-up in a tough Big 12 conference.

EAST RUTHERFORD REGION

No. 1 Saint Joe’s vs. No. 16 Liberty

2:45 p.m. — Buffalo, New York

Saint Joe’s might not have deserved a No. 1 seed. But will
that matter against Liberty? Doubtful. The Hawks’ only
trouble against the Flames will be trying to figure out what state
their school is located in.

No. 8 Texas Tech vs. No. 9 Charlotte

12:25 p.m. — Buffalo, New York

Who will win this game and earn a matchup with No. 1 St.
Joe’s? Better question: Who will Bob Knight blow up at if the
Red Raiders drop this game? It’s almost worth rooting for the
49ers to find out.

No. 5 Florida vs. No. 12 Manhattan

12:20 p.m. — Raleigh, North Carolina

It seems like everyone is picking the Jaspers as this
year’s No. 5-No. 12 upset. The Gators better be ready,
because Manhattan guard Luis Flores is the best player you’ve
never heard of.

No. 4 Wake Forest vs. No. 13 VCU

2:40 p.m. — Raleigh, North Carolina

Since barely anyone even knows what VCU stands for, and the
Deacons easily outman the Rams up and down the lineup, this game
should be about as entertaining as the Rams logo is colorful.

PHOENIX REGION

No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 16 Texas-San Ant.

5:00 p.m. — Seattle, Washington

Can someone explain why there are six Phoenix Region games
tomorrow, and only two from St. Louis? Am I the only one puzzled by
this? Oh yeah, this game will be a laugher.

No. 8 Alabama vs. No. 9 Southern Ill.

2:40 p.m. — Seattle, Washington

Saluki. It’s just fun to say. Like any No. 8-No. 9 game,
this one should go down to the wire. ’Bama’s SEC
experience should give it an edge over this Missouri Valley team,
despite its ridiculously cool mascot.

No. 5 Syracuse vs. No. 12 BYU

3:00 p.m. — Denver, Colorado

Will Jim Boeheim’s squad have the same fire as last year
now that the monkey is off his back? BYU guard Rafael Araujo shoots
57 percent from the floor, but he alone can’t beat the
Orangemen.

No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 13 UTEP

12:40 p.m. — Denver, Colorado

The Terps are smoking, coming off their OT win over Duke to win
the ACC Tournament. But playing a weaker UTEP team could create a
letdown situation.

No. 7 DePaul vs. No. 10 Dayton

9:30 p.m. — Buffalo, New York

DePaul will be without suspended LaVal Seals, who punched a
Cincinnati player in the groin during C-USA’s title game on
Saturday. Seals said the punch was unintentional. Sure it was.

No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 15 Vermont

7:10 p.m. — Buffalo, New York

If an injured Emeka Okafor can put up 11 and 13 against Pitt, a
healthy Okafor should be scary to any opponent. Catamounts are the
only mascot cooler than Salukis. Wonder if Phish will be there?

ST. LOUIS REGION

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Nevada

7:35 p.m. — Seattle, Washington

Only way Nevada wins this one is if Paul Davis cramps up again
in crunch time (see: State vs. Wisconsin). And by Paul Davis, I
mean most of Michigan State’s roster.

No. 2 Gonzaga vs. No. 15 Valparaiso

9:55 p.m. — Seattle, Washington

Valpo has played Cinderella before. So has Gonzaga. On the other
hand, the Zags have lost only twice — to Stanford and St.
Joe’s. Valpo has lost to IUPUI and Oral Roberts. You do the
math.

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