USA TODAY International Edition
NCAA Tournament field comes into focus
In an unpredictable men’s basketball season with constant cancellations and postponements due to COVID- 19, the examination of NCAA Tournament teams will take on a much different outlook ramping up to March Madness.
What is clear five weeks from Selection Sunday is which four teams are No. 1 seeds in the debut of USA TODAY Sports’ bracketology. Gonzaga and Baylor are undefeated and national title contenders, while Villanova ( 12- 2) and Michigan ( 13- 1) are far ahead of the pack of No. 2 seeds.
It would take a lot of stumbling from those No. 1 seed favorites to see one of the No. 2s – Alabama, Ohio State, Texas Tech or Illinois – vault ahead. But that makes the battle for a No. 2 seed all the more appealing with little separating No. 3 seeds Texas, Oklahoma, Houston and Iowa.
Selection Sunday is March 14, with all games set to be played in the Indianapolis area.
No. 1 seeds: Baylor, Gonzaga, Villanova, Michigan.
Last four in: San Diego State, VCU, Stanford, Connecticut.
First four out: Richmond, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Indiana.
Others considered for at- large bids ( no particular order): Maryland, Duke, Wichita State, Western Kentucky, Memphis, SMU, Dayton, Davidson, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, North Carolina State, Penn State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Nevada.
On life support: TCU, Marquette, Providence, Marshall, Utah, Arizona State, Oregon State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas A& M, Saint Mary’s, San Francisco.
Multiple- bid conferences: Big Ten ( 8), Big 12 ( 7), Atlantic Coast ( 6), Southeastern ( 6), Pac- 12 ( 5), Big East ( 4), Mountain West ( 4), Atlantic 10 ( 3), Missouri Valley ( 2), West Coast ( 2).
Leaders or highest NET from projected one- bid conferences – ( 21 total): American Athletic: Houston; America East: UMBC; Atlantic Sun: Liberty; Big Sky: Montana State; Big South: Winthrop; Big West: UC- Santa Barbara; Colonial Athletic: Northeastern; C- USA: UAB; Horizon: Cleveland State; Metro Atlantic: Siena; Mid- American: Toledo; Mid- Eastern Athletic: Morgan State; Northeast: Bryant; Ohio Valley: Belmont; Patriot: Navy; Southern: Furman; Southland: Sam Houston; Southwestern Athletic: Prairie View A& M; Summit: South Dakota; Sun Belt: Texas State; Western Athletic: Grand Canyon.
Note: Mostly all statistical data is used from WarrenNolan. com. The NCAA’s NET rankings are also a reference point.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W. A. G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his eighth season as our national bracketologist, he has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past seven March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star and collegeinsider. com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @ BracketWag.
As an actress, singer and now author, Priyanka Chopra has an impressive résumé – but let it be known that her road to success wasn’t easy.
In her new memoir, “Unfinished,” Chopra, 38, chronicles her rise to fame, marriage to Nick Jonas and favorite acting roles while paying tribute to her Indian roots and upbringing that shaped who she is today.
Any Chopra fan will love reading about the DM that initiated her relationship with Jonas, or the story behind her momentous Miss World crowning in 2000. She documents her “inspiring” friendship with Mindy Kaling and even addresses past controversies of the “Quantico” Hindu terror plot and her endorsement of skinlightening creams.
However, as the daughter of two Korean immigrants, I was especially moved by Chopra’s stories of the trials and tribulations of making it big in both Bollywood and Hollywood. From her resilience as a victim of racism to her bicultural identity influenced by Eastern and Western experiences, Chopra credits her “global mindset” for broadening her thinking and contributing to her success as an actress.
“Unfinished” answers the question: “Who is Priyanka?” She recalls the childhood experiences in India that sparked her passion for philanthropy and the relationships in the Midwest, Queens and suburban Boston that allowed her to feel welcomed as a “brown” and “different” immigrant.
Just as my father came here from his home country to make a name for himself, so did Chopra. She reflects on how she catapulted herself into America’s entertainment industry with her charisma and resilience – traits she developed during her beauty- pageant years in India – and recalled that the most daunting part of her experience was the responsibility to represent her culture on a global stage.
“Representing my country and culture gave me confidence on an international stage, and it would continue to give me confidence as I broke into an industry that can be brutal on those who haven’t had their mettle tested in the glare of public scrutiny – the entertainment industry,” she writes.
Many immigrants are familiar with the immense pressure to succeed in the country of opportunities, and Chopra demonstrates exactly how difficult yet rewarding this journey can be. Her stories of experiencing racism and prejudice, both before and after stardom, are a little too familiar to immigrant children like me, who have been mocked for our differences in appearance and culture.
For instance, hostile remarks made at her high school in Newtown, Massachusetts, such as, “Do you smell curry coming?” or “Go back on the elephant you came from,” eroded some of her confidence. Even with fame came
the reality check that some people would dislike her simply for the color of her skin. Chopra recalled how the excitement of her 2012 musical debut with the song “In My City,” which premiered on the NFL Network before Thursday Night Football, was destroyed by “a storm of explicitly racist hate mail and tweets,” including, “What’s a brown terrorist doing promoting an all- American game?”
This frustration and disappointment with hate resonates deeply with me, as my first published article for USA TODAY was met with online criticism – not directed at my journalistic skills, but rather my Asian identity.
Chopra’s book exemplifies how she persisted in the face of her detractors, especially with the help of those who supported her the most: her parents.
Ask any immigrant child about the sacrifices their parents have made, and the list will be endless. It was refreshing to see such an influential celebrity dedicate much of her success to her parents’ overwhelming support and love, from their willingness to send her to America in her teenage years to their decision to give up the hospital they had founded together to support her career. “The building of our careers is behind us. She is building hers now. So we have to support her,” her father had told her mother.
Just like Chopra’s parents, mine too fully supported all of my dreams at the expense of their own – something I am forever grateful for. My hard- working father juggled a gruesome work schedule with rooting for me in the stands of my soccer games, and my mother left her job at the time of my birth to become a full- time mom, making sure America would be a country her daughter could call her home.
Though “Unfinished” entertainingly documents Chopra’s life story, it did more than that for me: Her book inspired.