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Previewing the Round of 32 as Fairleigh Dickinson, Princeton, Shock Tournament

One of the bigger talking points heading into this 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is the parity that exists in college basketball due impact of the transfer portal.

Because of this parity, the tournament is truly wide open and unlike in the past, there were very few dominant teams this season. More teams have a legitimate chance to win it all.

That line of thinking appears to be accurate as it was a crazy opening round of games, with many surprises and more importantly, many tightly contested contests.

As the Round of 32 action opens up today at Noon, we go inside the numbers with teams that are left and look at other interesting facts.

Throughout the 2022-23 season, it’s been widely stated that the Big 12 was far and away the best conference in basketball this season.

Here’s a look at remaining teams left for Power 6 conferences, as the Pac 12 had a rough first round.

SEC (6): Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas
Big 10 (5): Penn State, Northwestern, Maryland, Michigan State, Indiana
Big 12 (5): Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, TCU
ACC (3):  Duke, Pitt, Miami, Fla.,
Big East (3):  Xavier, UConn, Marquette
Pac 12 (1): UCLA

**Fairleigh Dickinson was the unquestioned top storyline of the opening round as it pulled off arguably the biggest upset in the tournament history. Not only did it have to play in the First Four games, but unlike UMBC, the only other No. 16 seed to win a tournament game beyond First Four, Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t win the NEC Conference Tournament. They only qualified tournament because Merrimack, who beat FDU in the championship game, wasn’t eligible to play in the tournament.

1 Kansas, Houston, Alabama
2 Texas, UCLA, Marquette
3 Xavier, Kansas State, Baylor, Gonzaga
4 Tennessee, UConn, Indiana
5 San Diego State, Duke, Saint Mary’s, Miami
6 Kentucky, Creighton, TCU
7 Missouri, Northwestern, Michigan State
8 Arkansas, Maryland
9 Auburn, Florida Atlantic
10 Penn State
11 Pitt
12 (none)
13: Furman
14 (none)
15 Princeton
16 Fairleigh Dickinson

**A couple of notes regarding the seeding, it was very unusual that we didn’t have one of those famous No. 12 vs. No. 5 upsets. All No. 5 seeds have advanced into this weekend’s action. Also, Pitt was one of five double-digit seeds to advance, which is very unusual.

Penn State 10
Furman 13
Princeton 15
Fairleigh Dickinson 16

Kevin Willard, Maryland
Sean Miller, Xavier
Dennis Gates, Missouri
Jerome Tang, Kansas State
Tobin Anderson, Fairleigh Dickinson

In order to truly have a great tournament, exciting and competitive games are needed. Fortunately for the viewers and most likely television ratings, the tournament has provided that this far. Of the 36 games played, 18 of them have been decided by 10 points or less.

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