REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) - The First Four is over and the Big Dance is just hours from starting. Let the NCAA Tournament and March Madness begin. For those who don’' have a specific horse in the race but are fans of international hoops, here is a primer of some of the the teams you could root for.
Arizona Wildcats - No. 2 seed in the West Region
They are led by fantastic Finnish freshman Lauri Markkanen, who has seen his NBA Draft stock rise all season since being named to the All-Star Five at the FIBA U20 European Championship 2016. But he is not the only player with international experience on the Wildcats roster.
Serbian big man Dusan Ristic played in the country's youth national teams three straight summers with the last of those appearances at the FIBA U18 European Championship in 2012. The Wildcats also have two players who appeared at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup with American Allonzo Trier winning the title in 2015 and Australian Keanu Pinder playing in 2013.
Maryland Terrapins - No. 6 seed in the West Region
Oregon Ducks - No 3 seed in the Midwest Region
The fourth leader from the Ducks is Chris Boucher, but the Montreal native, who has yet to play for Canada, will miss the tournament with an injury which is a major blow to Oregon’s chances. The Ducks also have former U20 Israeli international Roman Sorkin as a role player as well as Great Britain’s Kavell Bigby-Williams, who played at the FIBA U20 European Championship 2015 Division B.
St. Mary’s Gaels - No. 7 seed in the West Region
UCLA Bruins - No. 3 seed in the South Region
With this primer in hand, you're ready for the action to begin.
By David Hein for FIBA.com