Michigan had won seven straight before falling to No. 22 Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, while Duke advanced to the ACC title game, where it lost to No. 6 Virginia.
Then there’s Kentucky, which is starting to play like the team that began the season No. 1 in the nation. The Wildcats pounded LSU and Georgia in the SEC tournament, then came within a breath of knocking off Florida - the NCAA tournament’s overall No. 1 seed - in Sunday’s title game.
“It’s definitely a big confidence-booster,” said the Wildcats’ Willie Cauley-Stein, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds in the 61-60 loss to the Gators. “We really are a brand new team and I think that building off that for the NCAA tournament is going to be big for us.”