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No. 14 W. Michigan vs. No. 3 Syracuse

Regional: South • Tipoff: Thursday, 2:45 p.m.

Western Michigan

Conference: Mid-American. Record: 23-9

Coach: Steve Hawkins. Nickname: Broncos

Road traveled to Buffalo: Finished as the MAC West Division co-champion with Toledo but earned the MAC Tournament’s top seed. Defeated the Rockets in the tournament title game.

Worth the price of admission: David Brown was huge in the MAC championship game with 32 points in a 98-77 win over Toledo.

Tournament history in Buffalo: First appearance.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Brown can duplicate his MAC title game performance – he made five three-pointers – which will force Syracuse to extend its 2-3 zone defense. That could lead to layups for 6-11 center Shayne Whittington.

Syracuse

Conference: ACC. Record: 27-5

Coach: Jim Boeheim. Nickname: Orange

Road traveled to Buffalo: Finished second to Virginia for the ACC regular-season title. Lost to North Carolina State in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.

Worth the price of admission: Freshman Tyler Ennis is arguably the top point guard in the country.

Tournament history in Buffalo: This is the Orange’s second appearance in Buffalo; the first was 2010 when they defeated Vermont and Gonzaga but fell to Butler in the Sweet 16.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Trevor Cooney finds his shooting touch, which has deserted him the last month, and with a healthy Jerami Grant, whose versatility is vastly underrated.

No. 15 Milwaukee vs. No. 2 Villanova

Regional: East • Tipoff: Thursday, 9:25 p.m.

Milwaukee

Conference: Horizon. Record: 21-13

Coach: Rob Jeter. Nickname: Panthers

Road traveled to Buffalo: Picked to finish in the rear of the Horizon, the Panthers instead came in fifth, upset top-seeded Green Bay in the conference tournament semifinals before winning the championship against Wright State.

Worth the price of admission: The Panthers have a physical frontline led by senior forward Kyle Kelm, who had a double-double in the championship game.

Tournament history in Buffalo: First appearance.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Milwaukee, which has won five in a row, is led by its defense, which has held opponents to 64.2 ppg. during that span.

Villanova

Conference: Big East. Record: 28-4

Coach: Jay Wright. Nickname: Wildcats

Road traveled to Buffalo: Captured the Big East regular-season title but were nipped at the buzzer by Seton Hall in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Worth the price of admission: If not for the presence of SI cover boy Doug McDermott of Creighton, one could make the case that James Bell was the Big East Player of the Year.

Tournament history in Buffalo: First appearance.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Bell, Darrun Hilliard II and JayVaughn Pinkston do their thing on offense. The Wildcats were very much in play for a No. 1 seed until the Seton Hall loss.

No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 6 Ohio State

Regional: South • Tipoff: Thursday, 12:15 p.m.

Dayton

Conference: Atlantic 10. Record: 23-10

Coach: Archie Miller. Nickname: Flyers

Road traveled to Buffalo: Tied for fifth in the A-10 and lost to eventual tournament champion Saint Joseph’s in the quarterfinals.

Worth the price of admission: Devin Oliver’s stats will not overwhelm the casual observer, but he was one of the more versatile talents in the A-10.

Tournament history in Buffalo: This is the Flyers’ second appearance. The first was in 2004 when they lost to DePaul in the first round.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Miller isn’t afraid to go to his bench – the Flyers run 11 deep. Dayton is difficult to stop when flowing in transition.

Ohio State

Conference: Big Ten. Record: 25-9

Coach: Thad Matta. Nickname: Buckeyes

Road traveled to Buffalo: The Buckeyes tied for fifth in the Big Ten and lost to Michigan in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

Worth the price of admission: This is a bad offensive team outside of LaQuinton Ross, who scores without apparent straining and will take it to the basket hard if his jumper isn’t falling.

Tournament history in Buffalo: First appearance.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Ohio State, which can’t score, gets a good defensive effort, especially in the backcourt. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott feast off turnovers.

No. 10 Saint Joseph’s vs. No. 7 Connecticut

Regional: East • Tipoff: Thursday, 6:55 p.m.

Saint Joseph’s

Conference: Atlantic 10. Record: 24-9

Coach: Phil Martelli. Nickname: Hawks

Road traveled to Buffalo: Finished in fourth place in the A-10 then went on to down Dayton, St. Bonaventure and VCU to win their first league tournament title since 1997.

Worth the price of admission: Tough to choose between Langston Galloway and the freakish Halil Kanacevic but let’s go with Galloway because of his knack for hitting big shots.

Tournament history in Buffalo: This is the Hawks’ second appearance. Joe’s was here in 2004 as a No. 1 seed and defeated Liberty and Bob Knight-led Texas Tech.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: The game is played at their pace – medium tempo – with a balanced effort from all five starters and tough interior defense.

Connecticut

Conference: American Athletic. Record: 25-9

Coach: Kevin Ollie. Nickname: Huskies

Road traveled to Buffalo: Placed third in the inaugural season of the AAC behind Louisville and Cincinnati and lost to the Cardinals in the league championship game.

Worth the price of admission: Some will swear that Shabazz Napier has been at UConn so long he played with Cliff Robinson. He tops the Huskies in scoring, rebounding and assists.

Tournament history in Buffalo: UConn was here in ’04 as a top seed with All-Americans Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. Beat Vermont and DePaul en route to Jim Calhoun’s second national title.

They’ll make the Sweet 16 if: Napier is good enough to carry UConn beyond the first weekend.