- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The NCAA tournament has a new look this year, with a 68-team bracket and a matchup of First Four teams vying for spots in the main draw.

If you’re in a bracket that ignores that first batch of games, the tournament doesn’t really start until Thursday. For those who had to pick the First Four games, too, here’s hoping you’re not already behind in the standings.

Based on UNC Asheville’s 81-77 overtime victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in Tuesday’s bracket breaker, it figures to be a wild ride either way.

Yep, the madness is here and this March is filled with great teams, great players and some intriguing matchups.

To get you ready for the main event, here’s a rundown of what to look for:

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jimmer Fredette, BYU. When it comes to exciting players, this year’s tournament starts with The Jimmer. The nation’s leading scorer had 37 points in a double-overtime win over Florida last year and had 52 against New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament. Dude knows how to put on a show.

Kemba Walker, Connecticut. The dynamic guard opened the season by single-handedly carrying UConn to the Maui Invitational title and had a memorable five-game-in-five-days performance in the Big East tournament. King Kemba is the East Coast version of Jimmer _ or is it the other way around?

Nolan Smith, Duke. The first player to lead the ACC in scoring and assists, he’s one of those players who’s hard to take your eyes off, he does so many things well.

Derrick Williams, Arizona. Flew under the radar a little playing out West, but is a dynamic player who can finish with either hand and is good for 1-2 highlight-reel dunks a game.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State. Losing a national player of the year should have hurt the Buckeyes more than this. Ohio State did just fine without Evan Turner, thanks to this dynamic, beyond-his-years freshman.

Keith Benson, Oakland. Not many people know much about Benson because of where he plays, but this guy’s a legitimate NBA prospect who’s as athletic as any forward in the nation.

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NUMBERS

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