Since February, we've been talking about big-name programs like the powerhouses of Vanderbilt, Virginia, Florida and Texas. As always, the major conferences will be well represented in the NCAA tournament -- last year, the ACC alone put eight teams in the final 64.
But major conferences will never make up the whole field. And sometimes, as in Texas Christian's third-place showing last year and Fresno State's national title in 2008, a mid-major program can outplay its higher-profile, better-funded counterparts. This season, there are many mid-major programs with impressive postseason resumes, each one with at least an outside shot at Omaha. Here's a look at five of them.
1. Kent State (Mid-American, 32-13)
Like many northern teams, the Golden Flashes got off to a rough start, sitting at .500 as late as March 22. Since then, they have demolished the Mid-American conference, winning 17 of 21 league games and going a perfect 6-0 in midweek non-conference matchups -- enough to get them to No. 16 in the College Splits power rankings.