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South Florida, Vermont Fill Slots in Men’s Basketball Tournament

March 15 (Bloomberg) -- The University of Vermont and the University of South Florida won to set up the first full round of play in the men’s college basketball national tournament.

Vermont (24-11) won 71-59 over Lamar University last night, advancing to a spot tomorrow against the University of North Carolina, the top seed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Midwest Region.

South Florida (21-13) won 65-54 over the University of California-Berkeley (24-10) in last night’s other game in Dayton, Ohio, and moved on to face Temple University tomorrow in the Midwest Region.

The 68-team tournament began two days ago with the first two of four games to decide the last contestants in the first full round, which starts today.

The University of Kentucky (32-2), the No. 1 seed in the tournament, takes on Western Kentucky in the South Region in Louisville, Kentucky. Western Kentucky got the No. 16 regional seed when it won in the first round two days ago and at 16-18 is the only team in the tournament with a losing record.

Syracuse University (31-2), the top seed in the East Region, meets No. 16 North Carolina-Asheville (24-9) in Pittsburgh. Syracuse will be without center Fab Melo, the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year, who was declared ineligible this week. No reason was given for the ban. Melo had been barred for three games this season for academic reasons.

Since 1985, No. 1-seeded teams have a 104-0 record in the tournament against 16th-seeded teams.

Harvard Opens

Harvard University, the Ivy League champion and in the tournament for the first time since 1946, plays Vanderbilt University in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in an East Region opener.

President Barack Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School, picked Vanderbilt, the region’s fifth seed, to beat the 12th-seeded Crimson, coached by Tommy Amaker.

“The amount of excitement that that’s generated obviously is terrific,” Obama said of Harvard’s qualification during the opening game of the tournament two days ago, which he attended with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. “How far they can go is another question but for them to be able to make it, I know Tommy Amaker is real proud.”

In 68 NCAA tournament appearances, Ivy League teams have a 40-78 record. Since 2000, the league has gone 2-12. Vanderbilt, is 9-13 all-time in NCAA tournament play. A year ago, Vanderbilt was a fifth seed and lost its opening game to No. 12 Richmond 69-66.

Freshman Four McGlynn came off the bench to score 18 points last night for Vermont, which shot 50 percent from the floor and held Lamar to 33 percent shooting. Devon Lamb and Mike James had 16 points each for the Cardinals (23-12), who are coached by Pat Knight, the son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight.

Victor Rudd Jr. had 15 points to lead the South Florida Bulls. Reserve Harper Kamp had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Golden Bears.

The Final Four, the national semifinals, is scheduled for March 31 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, with the title game two days later.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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