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March Madness 2016 bracket: Full NCAA Tournament bracket revealed

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The top seeds aren't that shocking. Beyond that, though, surprises abound.

The 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket is out -- and after a roller-coaster college basketball season full of surprises, it's almost shocking how normal the top seeds actually are.

The No. 1 seeds in this year's bracket are Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia -- teams that swept the Big 12, ACC, and Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles, and the team that finished just short of North Carolina in the rugged ACC.

And after locking up that Big 12 regular-season title for an amazing 12th consecutive time, the Jayhawks claimed the No. 1 overall seed, but still missed on a favorable path to the Final Four that will terminate in Chicago, instead landing in the South Region, where they would play Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in Louisville.

Kansas enters the NCAA Tournament on a 14-game winning streak and as at least a slight favorite. But the Jayhawks have won just one national championship under Bill Self despite their decade-plus of conference dominance, and haven't made it back to the Elite Eight since losing in the national final in 2012.

Selection Sunday

And given that this season has been rife with upsets, it wouldn't be surprising to see Kansas, which got crushed by an Oklahoma State team that has since fired its coach in January, fall at some point in March Madness. It wouldn't be surprising to see any team falter, in fact: one year after a nearly invincible and unbeaten Kentucky team shocked the world with a loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four, there's no outcome too wild for this NCAA Tournament.

The Selection Committee filled the next few rungs down from the No. 1 seeds with a mix of established powers and upstarts. Oklahoma played second fiddle to Kansas in the Big 12 this year, and Buddy Hield's bunch has a No. 2 seed as a result. Villanova's reward for dominating the Big East was a No. 2 seed of its own. And while West Virginia and Xavier lack a bit of star power in the East Region, a second round game between Kentucky and Indiana is as appealing as it gets.

Further down the bracket, there's a bit of a disappointment waiting for observers who hoped this edition of March Madness, in this year of chaos, might allow mid-majors to get more at-large bids than usual in this tournament.

Yes, a few at-large teams from outside the leagues known as the Power 5 in college football are present in this bracket. But Wichita State got banished to Dayton, and Monmouth and Saint Mary's were left out in the cold, and the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is going to hear complaints from the little guys about that.

The 2016 NCAA Tournament begins Tuesday, March 15 with the first two games of the First Four in Dayton. The first round of the tournament commences on Thursday, March 17.

Here's the full 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket, listed by region.

Midwest Region (Chicago)

  1. Virginia
  2. Michigan State
  3. Utah
  4. Iowa State
  5. Purdue
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Dayton
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Butler
  10. Syracuse
  11. Gonzaga
  12. Little Rock
  13. Iona
  14. Fresno State
  15. Middle Tennessee
  16. Hampton

West Region (Anaheim)

  1. Oregon
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Duke
  5. Baylor
  6. Texas
  7. Oregon State
  8. Saint Joseph's
  9. Cincinnati
  10. VCU
  11. Northern Iowa
  12. Yale
  13. UNC Wilmington
  14. Green Bay
  15. Cal State Bakersfield
  16. Holy Cross or Southern

South Region (Louisville)

  1. Kansas
  2. Villanova
  3. Miami
  4. California
  5. Maryland
  6. Arizona
  7. Iowa
  8. Colorado
  9. UConn
  10. Temple
  11. Vanderbilt OR Wichita State
  12. South Dakota State
  13. Hawai'i
  14. Buffalo
  15. UNC Asheville
  16. Austin Peay

East Region (Philadelphia)

  1. North Carolina
  2. Xavier
  3. West Virginia
  4. Kentucky
  5. Indiana
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Wisconsin
  8. USC
  9. Providence
  10. Pittsburgh
  11. Michigan OR Tulsa
  12. Chattanooga
  13. Stony Brook
  14. Stephen F. Austin
  15. Weber State
  16. Florida Gulf Coast OR Fairleigh Dickinson

* * *

Greatest Cinderella: Is it the NC State Wolfpack or Butler Bulldogs?

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