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NCAA Tournament Pairings Announced

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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. — The madness that defines the month of March officially got under way Sunday evening with the NCAA Tournament selection committee's announcement of the 65-team tournament field.

Grabbing No. 1 seeds were Kentucky -- which rode a strong performance in the SEC tournament to get the No. 1 nod -- Duke, Stanford and Saint Joseph's.

Here's a quick peek at the top four seeds in each region of the 2004 NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament:

Kentucky will be the top seed in the St. Louis regional, while Duke is in the Atlanta regional, Stanford in the Phoenix regional and Saint Joseph's in the East Rutherford regional.

The St. Louis and East Rutherford regional winners will meet in the national semifinals.

The tournament begins Tuesday night with the play-in game in Dayton, Ohio, between Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Florida A&M (14-16) and Patriot League champion Lehigh (20-10). That winner will play Kentucky (26-4), the Southeastern Conference champion, on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

Syracuse, the defending national champion, is the No. 5 seed in the Phoenix regional.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Conference USA and Southeastern Conference each got six teams into the tournament. The Atlantic 10 and Big 12 each had four chosen.

The Big Ten, Mountain West and Pac-10 received three bids each, and the only other conferences with multiple bids were the Western Athletic and Missouri Valley, with two each.

Only one team -- Eastern Washington, the Big Sky tournament champion -- is making its first appearance in the tournament.

The teams considered on the bubble that didn't make the field included Colorado, Missouri, Florida State and Utah State.

Florida A&M is the only sub-.500 team in the field. The Rattlers were 12-18 in their only other NCAA appearance in 1999.

The regionals are March 25-28 and the Final Four is in San Antonio on April 3 and 5.

St. Louis Bracket

1. Kentucky 2. Gonzaga 3. Georgia Tech4. Kansas5. Providence6. Boston College7. Michigan State8. Washington9. UAB10. Utah11. Nevada12. Pacific13. UIC14. No. Iowa15. Valpo16. Lehigh/Florida A&M

East Rutherford Bracket

1. Saint Joseph's2. Oklahoma State3. Pittsburgh4. Wake Forest5. Florida6. Wisconsin7. Memphis8. Texas Tech9. Charlotte10. South Carolina11. Richmond12. Manhattan13. VCU14. UCF15. E. Wash.16. Liberty

Atlanta Bracket

1. Duke 2. Mississippi St.3. Texas4. Cincinnati5. Illinois6. North Carolina7. Xavier8. Seton Hall9. Arizona10. Louisville11. Air Force12. Murray State13. E. Tenn. State14. Princeton15. Monmouth16. Alabama State

Phoenix Bracket

1. Stanford2. UConn 3. N.C. State4. Maryland5. Syracuse6. Vanderbilt7. DePaul8. Alabama9. So. Illinois10. Dayton11. W. Michigan12. BYU13. UTEP14. UL-Lafayette15. Vermont16. Texas-San Antonio

Conference Breakdowns

Big East (6):

Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Providence, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Boston College

ACC (6):

Duke, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Maryland.

SEC (6):

Mississippi State, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Alabama.

Conference USA (6):

Cincinnati, DePaul, UAB, Louisville, Memphis, Charlotte.

Big 12 (4):

Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech.

Atlantic 10 (4):

St. Joe's, Xavier, Dayton, Richmond

Big Ten (3):

Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan State.

Mountain West (3):

BYU, Air Force, Utah.

Pac-10 (3):

Stanford, Arizona, Washington.

Missouri Valley (2):

Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa.

WAC (2):

Nevada, UTEP

One-bid conferences (21)

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