Once Ball State was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Mid-American Conference tournament Friday night, fans knew there would be four in-state schools selected for the NCAA Tournament. The highly anticipated Selection Sunday pairings show revealed some interesting seeds and match-ups for the local squads in the 68-team field.
There will be quite a bit of attention locally on the second and third round games at the United Center in Chicago. Notre Dame and Purdue are the top-seeded teams in that particular pod, and both happen to also be in the Southwest regional.
Notre Dame (26-6) is a #2 seed and will face Akron, the MAC tournament champions in their first game. Purdue (25-7) is a #3 seed, the Boilermakers will face St. Peters, the MAAC tournament champions in their first game. Both of those match-ups will take place Friday, with specific tip-off times to be announced later.
Butler (23-9) earned a #8 seed, much higher than most bracketologists had predicted. The Bulldogs will face another mid-major power, Old Dominion, the champions of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in Washington, D.C. Thursday. Moments after learning Bulldogs fate, head coach Brad Stevens was already discussing some of the Monarch's strenghts.
"We're playing one of the hotter teams in the country...a team I've seen play a couple of times on TV, and I know Blaine Taylor well. They mix up defenses, and they rebound on the offensive glass better than anyone in the country," said the Bulldog head coach.
Stevens was an assistant when Butler faced Old Dominion in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, New York.
The biggest celebration took place in Terre Haute where the Indiana State Sycamores (20-13) gathered with their fans on campus for a big party to watch the selection show. Greg Lansing's team won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament one week ago with a thrilling victory against regular season champion Missouri State.
Indiana State is a #14 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and will play #3 seeded Sycracuse in their first game scheduled for Friday in Cleveland, Ohio.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times