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Published: 3/15/2010

Big names missing from NCAA field of 65

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The NCAA tournament will look monumentally different this year.

Connecticut, North Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, and Indiana didn't make it into the field of 65, the first time since 1966 five of the biggest names in college basketball missed the tournament in the same season.

The blue bloods of basketball are feeling blue and filling out the bracket is going to seem strange.

North Carolina was the defending national champion and figured to get back to the tournament even after losing Tyler Hansbrough and nearly everyone else. Instead, the Tar Heels floundered through one of their worst seasons in years, finishing 16-16 and needing a big run in the ACC tournament that never happened..

Connecticut was a No. 1 seed and reached the Final Four a year ago. Without intimidating Hasheem Thabeet, the Huskies backtracked, finishing 12th in the Big East during the regular season.

Arizona had the nation's longest active streak of reaching the NCAA tournament at 25. After salvaging tournament bids the past two years, the Wildcats didn't stand much of a chance at getting No. 26, finishing 16-15 after losing to UCLA in the Pac-10 tournament.

The Bruins are the king of title-holders with 11 and they went to three consecutive Final Four appearances under coach Ben Howland. Their run came to an end with the worst season (14-18) since 2003-04 and a loss to eventual champion Washington in the Pac-10 tournament semifinals.

When this year's Final Four was awarded to Indianapolis in 2003, there was hope the basketball-crazy state's most recognizable school would make a magical run to a title.

It wasn't even close.

Still mopping up from the Kelvin Sampson mess, Indiana won just 10 games. An improvement from a year ago, but nowhere near NCAA tournament-ready.



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