Jordan Dykstra is one of four South Dakota State players who averages in double figures in scoring. (Elijah Van Benschoten/Associated Press)
A look at the teams playing at The Palace of Auburn Hills during the NCAA tournament:
No. 3 Michigan State (25-8): The Spartans are perfectly built for the Tournament. They have size while also having guys fast enough to run the break. They also have depth, with a handful of players who can step up each game. And they have coach Tom Izzo, who would love to make Final Four No. 7 this season.
No. 14 Valparaiso (26-7): The Crusaders grabbed the Horizon League bid this season from Detroit Mercy. In the Tournament, they hope hot shooting can lead to a couple wins. Valparaiso is the sixth-best shooting team in the nation, averaging 48.9 percent this season. They can also get hot from 3-point range, hitting from downtown at 37.6 percent this season.
No. 6 Memphis (30-4): The Tigers run, run and run some more and have the depth to make a deep run in this year's Tournament. Seven players average at least 7 points per game for the Tigers, and their 17.2 assists are fourth-best in the nation. They didn't play many quality teams while going 16-0 in Conference USA, but any team with 30 wins can be dangerous in March.
No. 11 Middle Tennessee State (28-5) or No. 11 St. Mary's (Calif.): Many teams lament the possibility of a play-in game, but the Blue Raiders are just happy to be in the dance. They had only one win over a top-50 RPI team (Mississippi) this season, but they're a deep team with a lot of veteran leadership. As for the Gaels, they just made it into the tournament, but they have plenty of experience now that they're here. St. Mary's has now advanced to the Big Dance three of the past four seasons, and senior guard Matthew Dellavedova (15.8 points, 6.4 assists) will try to lead them to a few victories.
No. 4 Michigan (26-7): After playing well enough to be the No. 1 team in the nation, the Wolverines enter the NCAA Tournament with something to prove. They have the talent to make it to the Final Four, but they've been inconsistent for the past two months, losing six of their last 12 games.
No. 13 South Dakota State (25-9): He's not a household name, but Nate Wolters could become one this week. The Jackrabbits' guard averaged 22.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds this season. If Wolters gets hot, South Dakota State could pull an upset.
No. 5 VCU (26-8): The Rams were in the Final Four just two years ago, so they can't sneak up on anybody this year. The Atlantic 10 was extremely tough this season and VCU finished second in both the regular season and tournament behind a tough St. Louis team. Defense leads to offense for the Rams, who are as frustrating as any team in the country.
No. 12 Akron (26-6): Akron punched its ticket by winning the Mid-American Conference tournament last week. Games against tournament teams Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee State and Creighton should help them prepare for the Big Dance.
As of Sunday evening, about 3,000 total tickets remained for this week's games at The Palace.
First session, Thursday: Range from $50-$220
Second session, Thursday: Range from $55-$240
Third session, Saturday: Range from $60-$260
Information: Go to ncaa.com/tickets or call (877) NCAA-TIX