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updated: 3/17/2013 6:20 PM

NCAA tourney: Louisville is tops; Illini get 7-spot

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  • Illinois' Brandon Paul celebrates his game-winning shot against Minnesota Thursday in the opening round of the Big Ten basketball tournament at United Center. Paul and the Illini will face Colorado in Friday's NCAA tournament action.

      Illinois' Brandon Paul celebrates his game-winning shot against Minnesota Thursday in the opening round of the Big Ten basketball tournament at United Center. Paul and the Illini will face Colorado in Friday's NCAA tournament action.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

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

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.

But it's No. 4-ranked Louisville (29-5) that leads the 68-team 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 their 10th straight victory. The Cardinals came back from a 16-point deficit early in the second half for a 78-61 rout.

Closer to home, Illinois was given the seventh seed in the East region. The Fighting Illini will play the Colorado Buffaloes Friday in Austin, Texas.

Notre Dame also takes a No. 7 seed in the West region, and will face Iowa State Friday in Dayton, Ohio.

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 tournament 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 and Big Ten tournament champion Ohio State.

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.

Kentucky won't get a chance to defend its national title. The Wildcats were left out of the field after a quarterfinal loss in the Southeastern Conference tournament. It didn't help that their best player, Nerlens Noel, went out with a season-ending knee injury.

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