10 first-round storylines to follow

Tennessee did, however, lose three home games this season: to LSU, Notre Dame and Kentucky. So maybe we should stop being so negative toward Northwestern State's chances. Let's say 998 trillion-billion-gazillion to 1.

6. Both perspectives

Undefeated Notre Dame is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row and fourth time overall. But the Irish have been on the other end of the spectrum as well.

In their first NCAA appearance, in 1992, the Irish were a No. 12 seed and had a 14-16 record. They were also as low as a 12-seed in '96. And they were an 11-seed in 2003, but made it to the Sweet 16 after upsetting No. 3 seed Kansas State in the second round.

The Irish start this year with Robert Morris (ESPN, 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday), the Northeast Conference champ that last made an NCAA appearance in 2008.

7. States of hoops frenzy, Part 1

Which state has the most teams in the NCAA women's field this year? This one might surprise you. It is a huge state, population-wise, but you don't necessarily think of it right away for women's basketball prowess. No team from this state has ever made it to the Final Four.

It's ... New York, which has six teams in the field: Syracuse, Fordham, St. John's, Army, Marist and Albany. And they're all on the right half of the bracket, in the Notre Dame and Louisville regions. The best seed among the New York teams is Syracuse at No. 6.

(And since we kind of have a Breanna Stewart theme going, we should mention that she's a native of Syracuse, N.Y.)

The states with the second most NCAA teams? Tennessee and California each have five.

8. States of hoops frenzy, Part 2

The early rounds will be contested in 13 states this year, with three of them having "doubles" (on alternate dates, which is convenient if you want to attend both).

The closest double is on Tobacco Road in North Carolina, as both Duke and UNC are hosting games. You could bicycle between those sites if you wanted.

The second closest is in Texas, with Baylor (Waco) and Texas A&M (College Station), a 90-minute drive.

Then there's Iowa, where Iowa State (Ames) and Iowa (Iowa City) will host. That's about a two-hour drive. And if you take Interstate 80 for that trip, you'll pass by the exit sign for What Cheer.

Which really is the name of a very small Iowa town, not just a question that spirit squads ask their captains.

9. Underdog watch

Any chance a double-digit seed survives into the Sweet 16? It's a tall order, especially if it has to play on a higher-seeded team's home court.

But here are some possibilities: No. 11 seed James Madison (vs. sixth-seeded Gonzaga), No. 10 Oklahoma (vs. 7-seed DePaul), No. 11 Florida (6-seed Dayton), No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast (vs. 5-seed Oklahoma State), No. 10 Georgia Tech (at 7-seed LSU).

10. Quiz answer

Stanford won the NCAA title the year the Indigo Girls' song "Nashville" was released, 1992. The album "Rites of Passage" -- an all-time favorite -- actually came out in May '92, a little more than a month after Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer's "Bucket of Bolts" team beat Western Kentucky 73-62 in an anticlimactic final.

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