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March Madness 2011 Bracket: Three CAA Teams, Atlantic Sun and Southern Conference Champs Land in the Dance

The George Mason Patriots, regular season champions of the Colonial Athletic Association, was awarded a No. 8 seed in the East Region and will face No. 9 seed Villanova of the Big East in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournamentin Cleveland, Ohio. Most fans remember Mason is only five years removed from a Final Four run and are led by Senior Guard Cam Long who will be playing in 131st collegiate game. Coach Jim Larranga has a career record of 4-4 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Old Dominion Monarchs, the Colonial Athletic Association tournament champion and recipient of the conference’s automatic bud, earned a No. 8 seed in the Southeast Region and will face No. 9 seed Butler in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in nearby Washington, D.C. ODU relies heavily on their incredible team size for a mid-major with 5 players at 6’8 or taller led by Frank Hassell who averages 15 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 56% from the field. Expect a tremendous pro-ODU crowd as the Richmond campus in only a short drive to

The Virginia Commonwealth Rams snuck into the NCAA Tournament by the slimmest of margins and will face Southern Cal in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in the First Four Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. The Rams are most famous for their first round upset of No. 2 seed Duke in 2008. VCU is led by Senior Wing Jamie Skeen who averages 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Rams are also led to the NCAA Tournament by its third different coach in 8 years in former Florida Assistant Shaka Smart.

Belmont, the runaway regular season and tournament champion of the Atlantic Sun, snatched the No. 13 seed in the Southeast Region and will take on No. 4 seed Wisconsin in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in Tuscon, Arizona. While the Bruins have never won a tournament game but many Duke remember reaching for the Pepto after the 71-70 Blue Devil escape in 2008. Belmont has incredible depth with more than 11 players averaging 10 or more minutes this season. Expect this matchup to be a consensus Bracketbuster pick among the talking heads and analysts as Wisconsin has been a first round upset victim in recent years.

Wofford, the Southern Conference tournament champion, grabbed a No. 14 seed in the Southeast Region and will face the No. 3 seed BYU in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in Denver, Colorado. The Terriers are near the top of all mid-major schools scoring nearly 74 points per game which will give them a punchers chance vs. the Fightin’ Jimmer Fredettes. Brandon Dahlman, the 6’6 Senior forward from Braham, Minnesota, needs only nine points to eclipse the 2,000 point barrier and has been absolutely electric. In fact, the last time Dahlman was held under double digit scoring was 1/26/09, a span of 60 straight games.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.