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WHAT: First and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
WHEN/WHERE: Today-Sunday; 16 sites across the country, including Gainesville.
TOURNAMENT FAVORITE: North Carolina. The Tar Heels have won 16 of the past 19 NCAA championships and coach Anson Dorrance again has his team undefeated (19-0), atop the polls and the tournament's top seed.
TOP CHALLENGERS: The best of the West figures to have the best shot to unseat the Tar Heels, but it's not clear cut which team that is. Santa Clara (17-2) is seeded No. 2 in the newly expanded 64-team field but is the lone seeded team not to host. It's traveling to Illinois. UCLA (17-2), Portland (16-3) and Stanford (13-2-2) are seeded 3-5, respectively.
WHAT FLORIDA HAS TO DO: The Gators (17-3-1), the No. 6 seed, could make a run at their second title in four years. They have a strong defense anchored by junior goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren (0.58 gaa). The Gators will go as far as their offense takes them. And that can be a ways. Senior forward Abby Wambach (26 goals, 10 assists), who plays for the U.S. national team, is a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, soccer's equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Senior forward/midfielder Andi Sellers (13 goals, 9 assists) is a standout running mate.
FIRST DAY SCHEDULE FOR FLORIDA: Georgia (12-5-1) vs. Miami (10-8-1), 2:30 p.m.; Florida (17-3-1) vs. Central Florida (14-5), 5.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children (younger than 17), students and senior citizens. UF students with a valid ID are admitted free.
WHAT FSU HAS TO DO: The Seminoles, in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight time, were upset Clemson was chosen host over them. They beat the Tigers at Clemson in the season and reached the ACC tournament final against UNC. But if they channel that frustration properly, look out. Junior forward Cindy Schofield (17 goals, 9 assists), a first-team All-ACC pick, helped the Seminoles to a school-record 54 goals. Freshmen goalkeepers Ali Mims (1.63 gaa) and Kerry York (1.84 gaa) must continue the strong form they showed in the ACC tournament.
FIRST DAY SCHEDULE FOR FSU: FSU (14-7-1) vs. Auburn (11-7-1), noon; Clemson (13-4-1) vs. Kentucky (12-7-1), 2:30.