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Which Seahawks players have a rooting interest in March Madness' Sweet Sixteen?
As the number of teams in the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament dwindled from 64 to 16 this past weekend, so did the number of Seahawks players that have their college represented in the big dance.
March Madness' 'Sweet Sixteen' features the Kentucky Wildcats, West Virginia Mountaineers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Wichita St. Shockers, Wisconsin Badgers, North Carolina Tar Heels, Xavier Musketeers, Arizona Wildcats, N.C. State Wolfpack, Louisville Cardinals, Oklahoma Sooners, Michigan St. Spartans, Duke Blue Devils, Utah Runnin' Utes, UCLA Bruins, and Washington state's own Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Of the 24 players that had a rooting interest last week, 13 remain with a tie to the round of 16.
Three players - wide receiver David Gilreath and linebackers Brendan Kelly and Mike Taylor - are backing No. 1-seeded Wisconsin. Two players - kicker Steven Hauschka and offensive guard J.R. Sweezy - are backing No. 8-seeded N.C. State. Two players - fullback Derrick Coleman and defensive end Cassius Marsh - are backing No. 11-seeded UCLA. And wide receiver Chris Matthews (Kentucky), linebacker Bruce Irvin (West Virginia), defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (Louisville), defensive lineman David King (Oklahoma), and tight end Cooper Helfet (Duke) are the lone Seahawks representing their respective programs.
But quarterback Russell Wilson finds himself in a unique situation. He quarterbacked N.C. State for three seasons (2008-10) before playing one season (2011) at Wisconsin, going to the Seahawks in the third round of the NFL Draft a year later. At this point, Wilson's most likely rooting for both of his former ball clubs to reach the Final Four. But which team would he side with if the two teams met? Fortunately, because of the way the bracket is set up, Wilson has time to figure that out. N.C. State and Wisconsin wouldn't square off until the Championship Game on April 6.
Below, take a look at which Seahawks players' schools are still battling it out in this year's tournament. Which players do you think have the best chance at surviving this weekend's round of games? The madness gets going again at 4:15 p.m. PT on Thursday, March 26, with national television coverage on CBS (channel 7 in Seattle). Read
Chris Matthews - Kentucky (No. 1 seed vs No. 5 seed West Virginia)
Bruce Irvin - West Virginia (No. 5 vs No. 1 Kentucky) Read
David Gilreath - Wisconsin (No. 1 vs No. 4 North Carolina)
Brendan Kelly - Wisconsin (No. 1 vs No. 4 North Carolina)
Mike Taylor - Wisconsin (No. 1 vs No. 4 North Carolina)
Steven Hauschka - N.C. State (No. 8 vs No. 4 Louisville)
J.R. Sweezy - N.C. State (No. 8 vs No. 4 Louisville)
Russell Wilson - N.C. State (No. 8 vs No. 4 Louisville)
Greg Scruggs - Louisville (No. 4 vs No. 8 N.C. State)
David King - Oklahoma (No. 3 vs No. 7 Michigan St.) Read
Cooper Helfet - Duke (No. 1 vs No. 5 Utah)
Derrick Coleman - UCLA (No. 11 vs No. 2 Gonzaga)