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NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region

The Selection Committee must have felt bad about not awarding the final 1-seed to Michigan State, and that's why they planted them, and their perennial Final Four heading coach, as the 2-seed in by far the weakest region in the field.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

So here it is. The Midwest Region with its peculiarly placed 1-seeded, non conference or conference tournament winning and regionally ridiculous Virginia Cavaliers. There is always one cupcake region in the field and it would appear that in 2016 it's the Midwest. Like a slacker student staring at the last 20 or so questions on a long standardized test, it would appear the Selection Committee was just filling in bubbles to hurry up and finish.

Midwest Region Bracket

#1 Virginia vs #16 Hampton - Thursday 3/17 @ 2:10 p.m. (CT) on truTV

Virginia Cavaliers

Record: 26-7

Coach: Tony Bennett - NCAA Tourney Record 6-5

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Malcolm Brogdon 18.7 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #2

Tournament Appearances: 20 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: Final Four - 1984 (most recent shown for each team in this category)

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Hampton Pirates

Record: 21-10

Coach: Edward Joyner - NCAA Tourney Record 1-2

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Reginald Johnson Jr. 18.3 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #222

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 6 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: Round of 32 - 2001

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As a 2-seed in the 2015 tournament Virginia was bounced by Tom Izzo's 7-seeded Spartans in the Round of 32. This year the Selection Committee rewarded Virginia with a 1-seed, but made Michigan State the 2-seed primed to stand in Virginia's way to the Final Four yet again.

#8 Texas Tech vs #9 Butler - Thursday, 3/17 @ 11:40 a.m. (CT) on truTV

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Record: 19-12

Coach: Tubby Smith - NCAA Tourney Record 30-16 with 1 Final Four ('98 Kentucky) & 1 National Championship ('98 Kentucky)

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Toddrick Gotcher 11.1 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #42

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 15 - Most Recent 2007

Deepest Tourney Run: Sweet Sixteen - 2005

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Butler Bulldogs

Record: 21-10

Coach: Chris Holtman - NCAA Tourney Record 1-1

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Kellen Dunham 16.3 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #40

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 14 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: National Runner-Up - 2011

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Tubby Smith brings Texas Tech back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade while Minnesota suffers from buyer's remorse for canning Smith in favor of little Richard Pitino.

#5 Purdue vs #12 Arkansas Little Rock - Thursday, 3/17@ 3:30 p.m. (CT) on TBS

Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 26-8

Coach: Matt Painter - NCAA Tourney Record 8-8

Leading Scorer: Sr. Center - A.J. Hammons 14.9 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #10

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 28 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: National Runner-Up - 1969

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Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans

Record: 29-4

Coach: Chris Beard - NCAA Tourney Record 0-0

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Josh Hagins 12.8 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #47

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 5 - Most Recent 2009

Deepest Tourney Run: Round of 32 - 1986

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Behind the Kansas Jayhawks, the AR-Little Rock Trojans have the second best win/loss percentage of any team in the field.

#4 Iowa State vs #13 Iona - Thursday, 3/17 @ 1:00 p.m. (CT) on TBS

Iowa State Cyclones

Record: 21-11

Coach: Steve Prohm - NCAA Tourney Record 1-1

Leading Scorer: Sr. Forward - Georges Niang 19.8 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #18

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 18 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: Final Four - 1944

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Iona Gaels

Record: 22-10

Coach: Tim Cluess - NCAA Tourney Record 0-2

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - A.J. English 22.4 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #73

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 11 - Most Recent 2013

Deepest Tourney Run: Round of 32 - 1980

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Steve Prohm can take a big step toward helping Cyclone fans move on from Fred Hoiberg if he can avoid doing what the Mayor did last season when Iowa State flamed out in their opening game. Iowa State spent a large chunk of the year in the top 10, but looked more scattershot than elite down the stretch. Defense, or lack thereof, continues to be this Iowa State team's downfall. Better learn to play at least a little by Thursday, because Gaels star A.J. English is capable of going off in any given game.

#6 Seton Hall vs #11 Gonzaga - Thursday, 3/17 @ 8:57 p.m. (CT) on truTV

Seton Hall Pirates

Record: 25-8

Coach: Mike Kevin Willard - NCAA Tourney Record 0-0

Leading Scorer: So. Guard - Isaiah Whitehead 18.4 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #26

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 10- Most Recent 2006

Deepest Tourney Run: National Runner-Up - 1989

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Gonzaga Bulldogs

Record: 26-7

Coach: Mark Few - NCAA Tourney Record 19-16

Leading Scorer: Sr. Forward - Kyle Wiltjer 20.7 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #28

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 15 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: Elite Eight - 2015

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Seton Hall enters this NCAA Tournament 12-2 over their last 14 games en route to winning the Big East Conference Tournament by going through both Xavier and Villanova.

#3 Utah vs #14 Fresno State - Thursday, 3/17 @ 6:27 p.m. (CT) on truTV

Utah Utes

Record: 26-8

Coach: Larry Krystowiak - NCAA Tourney Record 3-3

Leading Scorer: So. Forward - Jakob Poeltl 17.6 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #29

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 29 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: National Champions - 1944

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Fresno State Bulldogs

Record: 25-9

Coach: Rodney Terry - NCAA Tourney Record 0-0

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Marvell Harris 20.6 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #105

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 6 - Most Recent 2001

Deepest Tourney Run: Sweet Sixteen - 1982

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Fresno State returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the late, great Jerry Tarkanian was the Bulldogs coach.

#7 Dayton vs #10 Syracuse - Friday, 3/18 @ 11:15 a.m. (CT) on CBS

Dayton Flyers

Record: 25-7

Coach: Archie Miller - NCAA Tourney Record 5-2

Leading Scorer: Jr. Guard - Charles Cooke 15.7 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #54

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 17 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: National Runner-Up - 1967

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Syracuse Orange

Record: 19-13

Coach: Jim Boeheim - NCAA Tourney Record 53-30 with 4 Final Fours ('87, '96, '03, '13 Syracuse) & 1 National Championship ('03 Syracuse)

Leading Scorer: Sr. Forward - Michael Gbinije 17.8 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #41

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 38 - Most Recent 2014

Deepest Tourney Run: National Champions - 2003

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After a missing the NCAA Tournament due to a self-imposed postseason ban, Syracuse returns to the field.

#2 Michigan State vs #15 Middle Tennessee - Friday, 3/18 @ 1:45 p.m. on CBS

Michigan State Spartans

Record: 29-5

Coach: Tom Izzo - NCAA Tourney Record 46-17 with 7 Final Fours ('99-'01, '05, '09-'10, '15 Michigan State) & 1 National Championship ('00 Michigan State)

Leading Scorer: Sr. Guard - Denzel Valentine 19.4 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #3

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 30 - Most Recent 2015

Deepest Tourney Run: National Champions - 2000

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Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Record: 24-9

Coach: Kermit Davis - NCAA Tourney Record 0-3

Leading Scorer: Jo. Guard - Giddy Potts 15 ppg

Kenpom Rating: #124

NCAA Tourney Appearances: 8 - Most Recent 2013

Deepest Tourney Run: Round of 32 - 1989

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With appearances in seven out of the last 16 Final Fours, it's starting to feel like Tom Izzo could take five guys from the local rec center and make a run at the national semifinals. Pretty much every time Izzo finds himself armed with senior stars at guard he makes the Final Four: Morris Peterson and Mateen Cleaves in 2000; Charlie Bell in 2001; Maurice Ager in 2005; Kalin Lucas in 2010; and Travis Trice in 2015. Well, guess what, Spartan star guard Denzel Valentine is a senior this year.