- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The NCAA tournament will not have a repeat champion for the sixth straight season. Kentucky made sure of that by failing to make the field of 68.

Beyond that, nothing’s for certain in this year’s version of March Madness after a season a parity that saw the top teams swap positions like it was a hoedown.

The tournament got started Tuesday night with the play-in games: North Carolina A&T won its first NCAA game in 10 tries over sub-.500 Liberty and Saint Mary’s pulled away from Saint Mary’s.

After two more First Four games Wednesday, the full madness starts on Thursday, when what’s expected to be a wilder-than-usual bracket gets rolling.

Here’s a few things to look for as you get the snacks and drinks lined up around the couch:

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TOP TEAMS

Louisville: Coach Rick Pitino is one of the best minds in the game, Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are capable of taking over any game, Gorgui Dieng swats shots and grabs rebounds, and the Cardinals went to the Final Four a year ago. No wonder they’re the No. 1 overall seed.

Gonzaga: The Zags are big up front, love to play defense and have few weaknesses. After Final Four runs by Butler and VCU in recent years, top-ranked Gonzaga has a chance to become the first mid-major to win a title.

Indiana: Preseason No. 1 earned the East Region’s top seed despite losing the Big Ten title game. With size, talent and depth, the Hoosiers will be hard to bet against.

Kansas: Bill Self led the Jayhawks to the Final Four last season. He has them in position to make another run despite having an almost entirely different team.

Duke: Return of forward Ryan Kelly makes the Blue Devils a tough matchup for anyone.

Florida: The Gators have one of the nation’s best backcourts, some beef up front and love to play defense. Sounds like a winning combination.

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TOP PLAYERS

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