Madness Through Bay Area Eyes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    DAYTON, OH - MARCH 22: Earl Clark #5 of the Louisville Cardinals and Alex Franklin #42 of the Siena Saints during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 22, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    Let the bracketing begin!

    Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Syracuse have earned No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men's basketball tournament known as March Madness.

    Sunday's bracket announcement kicks off America's annual mega-office pool.  Download your bracket here.

    The tournament gets into full swing Thursday.

    For Bay Area basketball fans,  this year's NCAA centers around three things: Cal, St. Mary's and San Jose. Cal and St. Mary's are in the tourney. San Jose is a host city for the first round. 

    Both St. Mary's and Cal are in the South region. No. 10 St. Mary's will take on No. 7 Richmond in Providence, Rhode Island Thursday. No. 8 Cal will take on No. 9 Louisville Friday in Jacksonville, Florida. Cal would have to get past Duke and St. Mary's would have to get past Villanova in order for the two Bay Area teams to meet in the Sweet 16 in Houston.

    Cal coach Mike Montgomery said his team will taking a different approach to the tournament this year. The Golden Bears went home in the first round last year after getting bounced by Maryland and learned what Montgomery hopes is a valuable lesson along the way.
       
    A gambling site picked the Gaels first round game as the best opening round of the tourney.  Jake Thompson wrote, "You might not know much about the college basketball teams in the Richmond vs St. Mary’s match-up, but this is one of the best opening round games in the 2010 NCAA tournament.  These small schools can compete with anyone on any given day, and the team that advances out of this portion of the NCAA bracket will have a big upset in mind during the 2nd round."

    The madness will begin inside the San Jose Shark tank Thursday. The University of Montana will play New Mexico in the early afternoon followed by Washington vs. Marquette game sometime after 4 p.m.  The winners of those games will meet Saturday.  The Huskies are sure to get the loudest crowds thanks to geography.

    Many of the teams who have been true shakers in this dancing madness won't be making any moves this time.  Those teams include North Carolina, Indiana, UCLA and  Arizona.