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Villanova headlines NCAA Tournament in Buffalo

First & Second Rounds March 16-18 at KBC
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Posted at 7:43 PM, Mar 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 09:51:38-04

For the sixth time the Queen City will host the First and Second Rounds of the Men’s NCAA Tournament.

Action begins Thursday at KeyBank Center and runs through Saturday.  Here’s is a breakdown of the teams that will make Buffalo home the next week.

Let the madness begin!

BUFFALO – First & Second Round
Where: KeyBank Center
When: Thursday March 16

12:15 p.m. - #5 Notre Dame Vs. #12 Princeton
Time TBA - #4 West Virginia Vs. #13 Bucknell (following conclusion of Notre Dame-Princeton)
7:10 p.m. - #1 Villanova Vs. #16 Mount St. Mary's/New Orleans
Time TBA - #8 Wisconsin Vs. #9 Virginia Tech (following conclusion of Villanova-MSM/NO)

 - #1 Villanova

Conference: Big East
Record: 31-3 (15-3)
Conference Tournament: Won – def. Creighton 74-60

The defending national champions from Villanova return to the NCAA Tournament to defend their title as the top overall seed.

Kris Jenkins’ buzzer beat capped off a “madness” filled March as the Wildcats captured the 2016 title with a 77-74 win over North Carolina.

Can they do it again? 

According to ESPN the Wildcats played the toughest schedule in the country.

The'll play the winner of the play-in game between Mount St. Mary’s or New Orleans.

 - #8 Wisconsin

Conference: Big Ten
Record: 25-9 (12-6)
Conference Tournament: Lost to Michigan in Big Ten Championship

The Badgers haven’t missed the NCAA Tournament since 1998, and will try to re-capture their magic from 2015 when they advanced all the way to the national championship.

Wisconsin charged to the Sweet 16 a year ago, and could make another run.  However, they’ve struggled late losing four of their last seven games.

 - #9 Virginia Tech

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
Record: 22-10 (10-8)
Conference Tournament: Lost to Florida State in ACC Quarterfinal

Buzz Williams’ Hokies started the non-conference season strong, but when league action began they stumbled sitting at 5-6 ACC play in mid-February.

While they average close to 80 points per game, the Hokies also give up points in bunches surrendering an average of 75 per contest.

If you’re looking for a team to rally around with a Western New York connection, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was the star QB for the Hokies from 2007-2010.

 -  #4 West Virginia

Conference: Big 12
Record: 26-8 (12-6)
Conference Tournament: Lost to Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship

Who is ready for Huggy Ball?

There is a reason West Virginia is known as Press Virginia.  The Mountaineers get after opponents on defense from the opening tip to the final buzzer.  They're relentless, they’re annoying and much like a python, they’ll squeeze the life out of an opponent.

Bob Huggins and his squad lead the nation in turnovers, forcing opponents to cough it up a whopping 20 times per game.  Their 695 turnovers are the most in the D1 ranks, and are 116 more than the second best team, The Citadel.

West VA can score (86 ppg) and boasts the third best scoring margin in the NCAA at +15.6.  Only Gonzaga and Wichita State have bettering scoring differentials.

 - #13 Bucknell

Conference: Patriot League
Record: 26-8 (15-3)
Conference Tournament: Won – def. Lehigh 81-65

The Bison are dancing for the seventh time in program history and making their first appearance since 2013.

While they haven’t won a first round game since 2006, Bucknell is no stranger to upsets.

In 2005 as a 14 seed the Bison knocked off 3rd overall seed Kansas. A year later they toppled 8th seeded Arkansas.

Can they recapture their bracket busting ways in 2017? 

 - #5 Notre Dame

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
Record: 25-9 (12-6)
Conference Tournament: Lost to Duke in ACC Championship

If there is a 5 seed that could make a run to the Final Four and even win it all, it’s the Irish.

Mike Brey’s crew is one of the experienced in the entire country starting three juniors and two seniors.

Four of those five average double figures, including Bonzie Colson who is a double-double machine averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
 

 - #12 Princeton

Conference: Ivy League
Record: 23-6 (15-0)
Conference Tournament: Won – defeated  Yale 71-59 in Ivy League Championship

The Princeton Tigers are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 and while it’s been a while since they’ve been to the Big Dance, they’re a talented team.

Don’t be fooled by the 12 seed.  The Tigers are battled test and primed for a potential Cinderella Run.

Fun Fact: The 12 has pulled off the upset 46 times in NCAA Tournament history.

Princeton ranks 10th in the DI ranks in scoring defense holding opponents to a lowly 61 points per game.

Sophomore’s Devin Cannady (13.7 ppg) and Myles Stephens (12.2 ppg), alongside seniors Steven Cook (13.6) and Spence Weisz (10.5) provided a balanced attack for the Tigers.