Running down the NCAA tournament

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Butler and Virginia Commonwealth defied the odds with Hoosiers-like runs to the Final Four last season, leaving a trail of ripped up NCAA tournament brackets across the country.

The Rams will get another shot after winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, but the Bulldogs _ and lovable mascot Blue2 _ are headed to the CBI after consecutive trips to the NCAA title game.

Last season seemed like a confluence of chaos, but this year’s bracket has the potential to match it after the top four teams in the AP Top 25 went down last week.

Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan State and North Carolina got the No. 1 nods from the tournament selection committee. All four have their faults, though, particularly the Orangemen, who will be playing without center Fab Melo.

To get you ready for the action, we’ve got a rundown of what to look for leading up to the title game in New Orleans on April 2.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Thomas Robinson, Kansas. Big, powerful, agile, dominating, player of the year candidate.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State. See “Thomas Robinson, Kansas.”

Anthony Davis, Kentucky. Scores, blocks shots, dominates. You get the idea.

Doug McDermott, Creighton. Third in the nation with 23.2 points per game, shot 61 percent from the field and that’s-not-a-typo 49 percent from 3. This year’s Jimmer?

Peyton Siva, Louisville. That teardrop of his could bring rain.

Draymond Green, Michigan State. Does it all, seems to know it all on the court.

Austin Rivers, Duke. Hit that big 3-pointer to beat North Carolina, can take over games down the stretch.

Isaiah Canaan, Murray State. He’s the main reason the Racers are in the dance.

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