USA TODAY International Edition

NCAA Tournament field comes into focus

- Shelby Mast and Scott Gleeson

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 different outlook ramping up to March Madness.

What is clear five 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 field 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 finished 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, “Unfinished,” 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 influenced by Eastern and Western experience­s, Chopra credits her “global mindset” for broadening her thinking and contributi­ng to her success as an actress.

“Unfinished” 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 “different” immigrant.

Just as my father came here from his home country to make a name for himself, so did Chopra. She reflects 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 confidence on an internatio­nal stage, and it would continue to give me confidence 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 difficult 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 differences 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 confidence. 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 first published article for USA TODAY was met with online criticism – not directed at my journalist­ic skills, but rather my Asian identity.

Chopra’s book exemplifies 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 sacrifices their parents have made, and the list will be endless. It was refreshing to see such an influential 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 “Unfinished” entertaini­ngly documents Chopra’s life story, it did more than that for me: Her book inspired.

 ?? RAYMOND CARLIN III/ USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Baylor, with guard Jared Butler, is projected as one of the 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament in USA TODAY Sports’ bracketolo­gy.
RAYMOND CARLIN III/ USA TODAY SPORTS Baylor, with guard Jared Butler, is projected as one of the 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament in USA TODAY Sports’ bracketolo­gy.
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