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No. 2 seed Villanova will open NCAA tournament play in the East Regional on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y., by trying to stop No. 15 Milwaukee's surprising postseason run.
Milwaukee (21-13) posted a 7-9 Horizon League record in the regular season but earned its first NCAA bid since 2007 by winning the Horizon tournament as the No. 5 seed. Milwaukee defeated Wright State 69-63 in the Horizon championship game to snap the Raiders' six-game winning streak.
Villanova (28-4) won the Big East regular-season title and set a school record with 28 regular-season victories.
A Villanova victory would set up a potential Saturday showdown with former Big East foe Connecticut (26-8) or local rival St. Joseph's (24-9). Villanova beat St. Joe's 98-68 on Dec. 7.
No. 10 seed St. Joseph's will attempt to continue its postseason surge Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y., when it faces No. 7 seed Connecticut in the East Regional
St. Joseph's (23-9) was perceived to be on the NCAA tournament bubble at the end of the regular season, but the Hawks earned an automatic bid by winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. St. Joseph's (24-9) beat VCU 65-61 in the Atlantic 10 championship game.
Connecticut (26-8) received an at-large invitation after falling 71-61 to Louisville in the American Athletic Conference final.
The winner of this game could face a familiar foe Saturday, assuming No. 2 seed Villanova gets past No. 15 seed Milwaukee on Thursday.
Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State will open the NCAA tournament against Delaware Thursday in Spokane, Wash.
The fourth-seeded Spartans (26-8), NCAA tournament regulars, earned an automatic berth by upsetting Michigan 69-55 in the tournament championship on Sunday.
The Blue Hens (25-9) won their first NCAA tournament berth since 1999 with a come-from-behind victory against William & Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship.
Delaware, a No. 13 seed, has three players - Devon Saddler (19.7), Davon Usher (19.4) and Jarvis Threatt (18.1) - who average 18 points or more.
Michigan State is getting healthy at the right time.
Coach Tom Izzo has started the same five players for the last five games, and the Spartans have won four of them.