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Selection Sunday is finally here

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 2:04pm

This is the day that those crazed college basketball fans have been waiting for since the first tipoff in November.

It's Selection Sunday, when they start to fill out their NCAA tournament brackets.

The men's field will be revealed at 6 p.m. ET, and the women's pairings will be announced at 7 p.m. ET.

It's likely the men will crown a new champion this season, a year after a dominant Kentucky team rolled through the field, then lost six players -- including three freshmen starters -- to the NBA draft.

This season, the inexperienced Wildcats struggled, as a highly rated rookie class never jelled as a team. After going 21-11 (many of those losses by more than 10 points) and losing in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Kentucky appears to be a long shot to make the 68-team field.

Kentucky is one of several teams that will watch anxiously Sunday night to see if its name is called.

Meanwhile, 31 teams have -- or will have -- qualified automatically for what fans call March Madness by winning their conference tournaments or regular season titles. Those winners include No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 4 Louisville and No. 7 Kansas.

The list also includes Liberty, which lost 20 games this season, but got hot in March and won the Big South tournament. The Flames likely will play Tuesday in one of the First Four matches.

Conference tournament finals Sunday include the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Atlantic 10, the Big Ten and the SEC.

Here are the teams that locked up tourney spots by winning their conference crowns:

• Akron (Mid-American Conference)

• Albany (America East)

• Belmont (Ohio Valley Conference)

• Bucknell (Patriot League)

• Creighton (Missouri Valley)

• Davidson (Southern)

• Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)

• Gonzaga (West Coast)

• Harvard (Ivy League)

• Iona (Metro Atlantic Athletic)

• James Madison (Colonial Athletic Association)

• Kansas (Big 12)

• Liberty (Big South)

• Long Island University Brooklyn (Northeast Conference)

• Louisville (Big East)

• Memphis (Conference USA)

• Montana (Big Sky)

• New Mexico (Mountain West)

• New Mexico State (Western Athletic Conference)

• North Carolina A&T (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

• Northwestern State (Southland)

• Oregon (Pac-12)

• Pacific (Big West)

• South Dakota State (The Summit League)

• Southern (Southwestern Athletic Conference)

• Valparaiso (Horizon League)

• Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

In the women's field, the top four ranked teams are Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford. According to ESPN's Charlie Creme, the quartet likely will be No. 1 seeds when the tournament begins Saturday.

Baylor (32-1), the defending champion, is led by center Brittney Griner, the reigning player of the year.

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