NCAA tournament pregame primer

The Times’ Patrick Stevens breaks down the field of 68

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Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State: The Spartans big man has an impressive skillset and an outsized personality to match it, and it’s not hard to see him making money playing basketball somewhere around the globe for years to come. A good showing this week certainly wouldn’t hurt, though.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack slipped into the field on the strength of a decent record away from Raleigh (9-6) and a credible showing at the ACC tournament (beat Virginia, pushed North Carolina to the final seconds). Despite an absence of great wins, they looked like they belonged. It would be nice if they showed they did this week.

Texas: The Longhorns haven’t beaten a higher-seeded team in the NCAA tournament since 2002. Granted, they haven’t had many opportunities, but they’ve seen seven postseason trips end against a lower-seeded outfit. They’re not the hunted this time, and will need to pull off a surprise to advance.

Gregg Marshall, Wichita State: He has an NCAA tournament upset to his name (2007 when Winthrop knocked off Notre Dame). He has an NIT crowd. But a deep run with the Shockers will make Marshall an especially coveted coaching commodity. Despite a Missouri Valley tournament loss, Wichita State is dangerous.

Tu Holloway, Xavier: After last year’s five-point, five-turnover, 1-for-8 shooting adventure in a round of 64 loss to Marquette, the Musketeers star guard could use a little postseason redemption. He’s off to a good start this month after Xavier’s Atlantic 10 tournament run.

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