Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk drives for a layup against Saint Mary's… (Julie Jacobson / Associated…)
1 GONZAGA: Coach Mark Few’s West Coast Conference-champion Bulldogs have a 14-game winning streak. Their only losses came against Illinois and Butler.
2 OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Conference tournament title. Now they will try to win their first NCAA championship since 1960.
3 NEW MEXICO: Steve Alford won an NCAA title as an Indiana player and has coached his team through one of the nation’s toughest schedules in terms of RPI.
4 KANSAS STATE: Three of the Wildcats’ seven losses came against Kansas, seeded No. 2 overall. Kansas State is aiming for a fourth meeting in the NCAA championship game.
Belmont, an erstwhile Cinderella, is in the tournament for the sixth time in eight years but has won zero tournament games. So we’re putting the glass slipper on Iona.
Kelly Olynyk, forward, Gonzaga
The 7-foot redshirt junior from Kamloops, Canada, is averaging 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds. Olynyk might be as well known for his long hair as for his game.
Deshaun Thomas, forward, Ohio State
The Big Ten Conference’s leading scorer is averaging 19.5 points and 6.2 rebounds. Thomas scored 17 points in the Big Ten tournament championship game against Wisconsin.
Kendall Williams, guard, New Mexico
The former Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos High standout averages 13.5 points for a Lobos team that also features former Riverside King High standout Tony Snell, the Mountain West tournament most valuable player.
Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, New Mexico’s Steve Alford and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker are among the coaches who are reportedly on the radar of USC Athletic Director Pat Haden.
Ohio State won’t stray far from home despite being slotted into the West regional. The Buckeyes travel to Dayton, Ohio, for Friday’s game against Iona.
Gonzaga, ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time, garnered a No. 1 regional seeding for the first time. The Bulldogs defeated fourth-seeded Kansas State, 68-52, on Dec. 15.