Louisville claims overall No. 1 seed

Louisville earned the top overall seed Sunday in the NCAA Tournament, while Kansas, Indiana and Gonzaga also received No. 1s after a topsy-turvy regular season and another round of weekend upsets.

Then there’s that other team from the Bluegrass State. Kentucky won’t even get a chance to defend its 2012 national title, denied a spot in the 68-team field when the brackets came out thanks to an up-and-down season.

The selection committee had its work cut out after five teams swapped the top ranking in the Associated Press poll, capped by the West Coast Conference champion Zags (30-2) moving to the lead spot for the first time in school history. Committee chairman Mike Bobinski said last week he thought as many as seven teams could be in the running for No. 1 seeds.

Of course, only four spots were available. It was No. 4-ranked Louisville (29-5) that was picked to lead the field after sharing the Big East regular-season title, then pulling off a stunning turnaround to beat Syracuse in the final of the conference tournament for its 10th straight victory. The Cardinals came back from a 16-point deficit early in the second half for a 78-61 romp.

No. 7 Kansas (29-5) moved up to take the second overall seed after an impressive run through the Big 12 Tournament, capped by a 70-54 victory over rival Kansas State in the title game. No. 3 Indiana (28-6) is third overall in the field despite falling to Wisconsin in the Big Ten semifinals. The Zags claimed the last of the coveted No. 1 seeds, edging out Atlantic Coast Conference champion Miami.

The Hurricanes, who became the first ACC team to be denied a top seed after winning both the regular season and the conference tournament, were among the No. 2 seeds with ACC rival Duke, Georgetown from the Big East, and Big Ten Tournament champion Ohio State.

“Miami had a tremendous year. They are a great basketball team,” Bobinski said. “If we had five spots, Miami would be there with us. We have great appreciation for the year Miami has had. In the final analysis, we put Gonzaga just ahead of them. But it was very, very close.”

The tournament begins Tuesday with a pair of games in Dayton. Everyone is trying to get to Atlanta for the Final Four, which begins April 6 at the Georgia Dome.

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