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NCAA Tournament Bracket: Overall #1 Seed Kentucky’s Region Awash With Storylines

ukathletics.com, suathletics.com, tarheelblue.com, msuspartans.com

The 2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been released. The #1 seeds are Kentucky in the South, Syracuse in the East, North Carolina in the Midwest, and Michigan State in the West. The Wildcats are the overall #1 seed as we head into tournament play. I was taking a look at the other teams in the South region and immediately noticed multiple storylines. Whether or not the tournament selection committee placed these teams in this manner deliberately is something we’ll never know; they always claim they don’t. But I don’t believe in coincidences either. To quote Fox Mulder from “The X-Files,” if coincidences are coincidences, why do they seem so contrived?

Let’s begin with Kentucky’s first opponent. It will either be Mississippi Valley State or Western Kentucky. Those teams will be participate in a play-in game Tuesday evening in Dayton, Ohio with the winner moving on to face UK Thursday in Louisville. Well, in terms of storylines, WKU kind of speaks for itself. Should the Hilltoppers win–and I’m momentarily shedding my objectivity; I hope they do–they will play the ‘Cats in Louisville. All Kentucky all the time.

Should Mississippi Valley State claim victory, the Delta Devils will advance. And here’s the rub: MVSU is coached by former UK star Sean Woods.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Coach Woods was a member of the Unforgettables, the Kentucky team that lost to Duke by one in that historic regional final in Philadelphia twenty years ago this month.

Want other juicy South region plots? How about a potential matchup for Kentucky in the second round that could have the ‘Cats, once again, squaring off against the Connecticut Huskies? UConn beat UK in the Final Four last year, 56-55, and then went on to win the national title with a victory over Butler. While that game would occur in Louisville and would be viewed by a heavily partisan Big Blue crowd, Connecticut does sport a 3-1 record all-time against the ‘Cats.

And all of those games have happened within the last 6 years. Plus, UConn actually started the season ranked in the top five. They fell apart two-thirds of the way through the season but seemed to have regrouped over the last couple of weeks. That could be a very dangerous game for UK. Of course, the Huskies could lose to Iowa State in the first round and this whole paragraph is moot.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Look a little further down the South region bracket and you will discover Indiana. The Hoosiers ignited their season and revitalized their identity with a one-point win over Kentucky back on December 10th. Should they win two games, they could get another crack at UK. Of course, you could also look at it as UK getting another crack at IU.

And speaking of repeat opportunities, look who landed in Kentucky’s region as the #2 seed–the Duke Blue Devils. Don’t tell me the selection committee didn’t do that on purpose. The possibility of Kentucky and Duke in a regional final twenty years after “The Game?” What basketball fan on this planet would not love to see that?

Well, whatever happens, every basketball on this planet–and you can count me among them–will now be otherwise occupied for the next three weeks. Just leave a message or text; we’ll get back to you.

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