1. Saint Joseph's
Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 27-1 (16-0)
Bid: At-large RPI: 3
First-round: Liberty, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Phil Martelli (176-98, 9 seasons at St. Joe's)
Best win: 81-67 vs. Dayton
Worst loss: 87-67 vs. Xavier
Key players: G Jameer Nelson (20.0 ppg, 5.4 apg); G Delonte West (18.8 ppg)
Analysis: Nelson and West form the best backcourt in the country. But with unremarkable big men, can the Hawks compete on the boards with elite teams?
2. Oklahoma State
Conference: Big 12
Record: 27-3 (14-2)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 6
First-round: E. Washington, Friday, Kansas City, Mo.
Coach: Eddie Sutton (751-291, 34 seasons; 321-127, 14 at OSU)
Best win: at Texas 72-67
Worst loss: vs. BYU 76-71
Key players: Tony Allen (16 ppg); John Lucas (15.4 ppg); Ivan McFarlin (12.3 ppg)
Analysis: Lucas, a transfer from Baylor, was immediately eligible and had huge impact at the point. McFarlin is a marvelous inside scorer, shooting 57 percent from the field.
Conference: Big East
Record: 29-4 (13-3)
Bid: At-large RPI: 8
First-round: Central Florida, Friday, Milwaukee, Wis.
Coach: Jamie Dixon (1st season)
Best win: 75-68 vs. Connecticut
Worst loss: 68-67 at Seton Hall
Key players: Carl Krauser (15.4 ppg); Jaron Brown, (12.1 ppg)
Analysis: The Panthers are just about the toughest defensive team in the country, holding opponents to 57 points and 39 percent shooting. The struggle is Pittsburgh's own scoring.
4. Wake Forest
Record: 19-9 (9-7)
Bid: At-large RPI: 20
First-round: Virginia Commonwealth, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Skip Prosser (211-98, 11 seasons; 46-20, 3 at Wake Forest)
Best win: 90-84 vs. Duke
Worst loss: 84-82 at Virginia
Key players: G Chris Paul (13.6 ppg, 5.7 apg); G Justin Gray (17.3 ppg); F Jamaal Levy (9.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
Analysis: Young team (no scholarship seniors) that rose to as high as fourth in the national polls before a difficult (2-6) mid-season stretch. Good balance, but three guards (Paul, Gray and Taron Downey) often on the floor at same time in critical situations.
Record: 20-10 (9-7)
Bid: At-large RPI: 13
First-round: Manhattan, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Billy Donovan (204-103, 10 seasons; 169-83, 8 seasons at Fla.)
Best win: 78-77 at Arizona
Worst loss: 65-63 at Tennessee
Key players: Anthony Roberson (18.1 ppg); Matt Walsh (15.8 ppg)
Analysis: There's been too much drama on this team, topped by Christian Drejer quitting to turn pro in Europe. The Gators don't play much defense down the stretch of close games.
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 24-6 (12-4)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 12
First-round: Richmond, Friday, Milwaukee, Wis.
Coach: Bo Ryan (471-136, 20 seasons; 88-33, 3 at Wisconsin)
Best win: at Michigan State 68-64
Worst loss: at Northwestern 69-51
Key players: Devin Harris (19.4 ppg, 4.4 apg), Mike Wilkinson (13.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Analysis: The Badgers led the Big Ten in scoring defense and will give most teams fits with their slow-tempo style. Devin Harris, the conference player of the year, is a dead-eye shooter.
Conference: Conference USA
Record: 21-7 (12-4)
Bid: At-large RPI: 32
First-round: South Carolina, Friday, Kansas City, Mo.
Coach: John Calipari (285-109, 12 seasons; 92-38, 4 at Memphis)
Best win: 62-58 vs. then-No. 6 Louisville
Worst loss: 66-63 at So. Miss.
Key players: G Antonio Burks (16.1 ppg, 5.5 apg); F Sean Banks (18.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
Analysis: Three of the Tigers' losses came in their past four games, including one to Saint Louis in their C-USA tournament opener.
8. Texas Tech
Nickname: Red Raiders
Conference: Big 12
Record: 22-10 (9-7)
Bid: At-large RPI: 30
First-round: Charlotte, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Bob Knight (831-321, 38 seasons; 67-32, 3 at Texas Tech)
Best win: 83-62 vs. Oklahoma State
Worst loss: 62-59 at So. Methodist
Key players: G Andre Emmett (20.5 ppg, 54 percent from the field); Jarrius Jackson (11.2 ppg)
Analysis: This team plays wildly uneven from game to game. Emmett is a 6-5 guard who plays bigger than his height.
Conference: Conference USA
Record: 21-8 (12-4)
Bid: At-large RPI: 34
First-round: Texas Tech, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Bobby Lutz (294-163, 15 seasons; 114-74, 6 at Charlotte)
Best win: 86-83 at Cincinnati
Worst loss: 91-69 at Memphis
Key players: F Curtis Withers (16.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg); F Eddie Basden (10.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.2 spg); G Demon Brown (12.6 ppg); G Brendan Plavich (12.3 ppg)
Analysis: The 49ers have been consistent, never losing two games in a row. They have the depth and balance to play a while.
10. South Carolina
Record: 23-10 (8-8)
Bid: At-large RPI: 45
First-round: Memphis, Friday, Kansas City, Mo.
Coach: Dave Odom (335-215, 18 seasons; 188-42, 3 at South Carolina)
Best win: 61-55 vs. LSU
Worst loss: 82-66 at Arkansas
Key players: C Carlos Powell (12.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg); G Michael Boynton (10.2 ppg)
Analysis: Rolando Howell's broken wrist was a huge loss because the Gamecocks are hurting for rebounds and low-post scoring. USC lives off its intense defense.
Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 20-12 (10-6)
Bid: At-large RPI: 47
First-round: Wisconsin, Friday, Milwaukee, Wis.
Coach: Jerry Wainwright (171-129, 10 seasons; 35-26, 2 at Richmond)
Best win: 69-68 at Kansas
Worst loss: 66-55 at LaSalle
Key players: Mike Skrocki (16.4 ppg); Tony Dobbins (10.8 ppg)
Analysis: Any team that rolls into Lawrence, Kan., and knocks off the Jayhawks is not intimidated. The Spiders play tough defense, holding foes to fewer than 60 points and 40 percent shooting.
Conference: Metro Atlantic
Record: 24-5 (16-2)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 42
First-round: Florida, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Bobby Gonzales (93-51, 5 seasons at Manhattan)
Best win: 62-61 vs. Niagara in MAAC final
Worst loss: 57-56 vs. Rider
Key players: G Luis Flores (24.1 ppg); F Dave Holmes (12.9 ppg); F Peter Mulligan (10.6 ppg)
Analysis: The Jaspers are making their second straight NCAA appearance. Flores is among the nation's leading scorers.
13. Va. Commonwealth
Conference: Colonial Athletic
Record: 23-7 (14-4)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 54
First-round: Wake Forest, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Jeff Capel (41-17, 2 seasons at VCU)
Best win: 55-54 vs. George Mason in tournament final
Worst loss: 72-52 at UNC Wilmington
Key players: G Domonic Jones (16.1 ppg); C Troy Godwin (12.1 ppg)
Analysis: Former Duke guard Jeff Capel, 29, the youngest Division I coach, has the Rams in the tournament for the first time since 1996, when he was a junior at Duke.
14. Central Florida
Nickname: Golden Knights
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Record: 25-5 (17-3)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 62
First-round: Pittsburgh, Friday, Milwaukee, Wis.
Coach: Kirk Speraw (171-153, 12 seasons at UCF)
Best win: 60-55 vs. Troy State for tournament title
Worst loss: 77-61 at Belmont
Key players: F Dexter Lyons (18.5 ppg); C Roberto Morentin (13.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Analysis: They make their first NCAA appearance since 1996. They played tough at College of Charleston, losing 72-63.
15. E. Washington
Conference: Big Sky
Record: 17-12 (11-3)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 127
First-round: Oklahoma State, Friday, Kansas City, Mo.
Coach: Ray Giacoletti (67-49, 4 seasons)
Best win: 100-73 vs. Idaho State
Worst loss: 77-70 at Fullerton State
Key players: G Alvin Snow (15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg); F Marc Axton (13.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
Analysis: Eagles started 3-9, then won 12 of 14, including 11 straight. Won the league, but are small.
Conference: Big South
Record: 18-14 (12-4)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 165
First round: Saint Joseph's, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Randy Dunton (43-46, 3 seasons)
Best win: 85-69 vs. Chattanooga
Worst loss: 61-52 at VMI
Key players: G Gabe Martin (13.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg); G Larry Blair (13.4 ppg)
Analysis: The Flames rely on their perimeter game to generate offense, with senior Gabe Martin and freshmen Larry Blair and David Dees (12 ppg) averaging double figures. Most opponents will have a decided advantage in the low post, however.
St Joseph's 81
Texas Tech 69
Wake Forest 91
Virginia Commonwealth 74
Central Florida 55
South Carolina 66
Oklahoma State 88
Eastern Washington 66
St Joseph's 71
Wake Forest 93
Oklahoma State 83
Sweet Sixteen Matchups
St Joseph's vs. Wake Forest
Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh