COLUMBIA, S.C. -- AP -- Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey understands his Eagles made the NCAA Tournament the hard way. The team was among a dozen schools who'd punched tickets to the 2020 NCAAs before COVID-19 ended the event last March. The Eagles are back this year, along with Gonzaga, Liberty and Utah State.

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The Zags are the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and there was little chance they'd be absent this season. Not so for the rest who as part of mid-major conferences must rely on winning their league tournament or hoping to impress NCAA selectors.

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