Running down the NCAA’s regionals

Now it’s time for the big dogs to take over the NCAA tournament.

Fourteen of the 16 teams remaining in the bracket are from major conferences, leaving scrappy Ohio and Xavier as the only mid-majors with a shot at following up on what Butler and Virginia Commonwealth did a year ago.

Good news, even for you underdog fans, is that the resumes of the 14 big-school programs include 93 Final Four appearances and 33 national titles. Get teams like that together, and there’s sure to be some great matchups and games.

Needless to say, it should be sweet.

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BEST GAMES

If we’re going to tout how great the matchups are, we might as well start off by pointing out a few.

Syracuse vs. Wisconsin. The Orange live for creating turnovers; the Badgers hold onto the ball as if it were a pot of gold coins. Should be fun to see how this battle of styles and wills plays out.

Michigan State vs. Louisville. A battle of minds between Cardinals coach Rick Pitino and the Spartans’ Tom Izzo. A couple of pretty good teams with some good players, too.

Kentucky vs. Indiana. Don’t think the Wildcats have forgotten about that Assembly Hall court storming after Indiana’s win in December. Two traditional powers, too; a combined for 12 national titles between them.

Marquette vs. Florida. The Gators can shoot, particularly from the 3-point arc. The Golden Eagles are tough and like to play defense. Another will-inflicting game.

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UNSUNG HEROES

We know the stars, the big names who get all the attention. But just below the marquee are a handful of under-the-radar players who are there to support the headliner, sometimes even steal the show.

Here’s a few who have grabbed the spotlight so far:

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