Duke, the defending NCAA champion, ended up as the weakest No. 1 but appears to have the clearest path through the bracket. Why does this not shock legions of Duke haters? Only Hampton and the Michigan-Tennessee winner stand in the way of Duke cruising through Charlotte on its way to the Sweet 16 in Anaheim.
Ohio State, as the top overall No. 1, was slotted into a beast of an East. The regional also features No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Syracuse and No. 4 Kentucky.
Smith, the committee chair, couldn't be in the room when his school was discussed, but he didn't necessarily think the Buckeyes were disadvantaged.
"Sometimes we get caught up in brands," he said of the other top schools in Ohio State's bracket.
Well, yeah, North Carolina, Kentucky and Syracuse have combined for 13 national titles.
Most (at-first-glance) interesting opening games, all in the Southeast Regional: No. 6 St. John's vs. No. 11 Gonzaga; No. 8 Butler vs. No. 9 Old Dominion; No. 13 Belmont vs. No. 4 Wisconsin.
Another clash of styles to note: No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Princeton in the East.
Yes, Princeton was a No. 13 in 1996 when it shocked No. 4 UCLA.