Seahawks Players Have Plenty To Root For During March Madness

Which Seahawks players have collegiate ties to this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament?

Check out which Seahawks players have a rooting interest in this year's March Madness NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The 2016 NCAA men's basketball tournament tips off later this afternoon with "First Four" play-in games between schools vying to join the 60 other universities already announced as part of this year's eventual 64-team March Madness field.

As far as local ties go, Gonzaga, a No. 11 seed, was the only Washington school to make the cut. Looking around the Pacific Northwest, Pac-12 champion Oregon represents the region as one of the tournament's four No. 1 seeds, while Oregon St. enters the competition as one of the No. 7 seeds.

If you're anything like me and can't quite bring yourself to root for one of those three squads, finding yourself without a team too root for, why not align your March Madness fandom with one of your favorite Seahawks?

Twenty-eight players on Seattle's website roster, which admittedly includes a few players not currently under contract after free agency opened last week, have a collegiate tie to this year's tournament.

That list includes three-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, who played four years of basketball on scholarship at the University of Miami before playing one year of football for the Hurricanes, and ultimately, entering the NFL. Graham helped lead Miami to the second round of the 2008 NCAA men's basketball tournament and to the NIT in 2009. This year, Graham's alma mater owns a No. 3 seed and will do battle with No. 14-seeded Buffalo, where Seahawks offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli played football.

Below, take a look at which Seahawks players' schools are represented in this year's tournament, and check out 2016's complete tournament bracket right here. The first round gets underway on Thursday, March 17. 

SOUTH DIVISION

No. 3 Miami (Fla.): TE Jimmy Graham

No. 5 Maryland: DT A.J. Francis

No. 8 Colorado: C Will Pericak, WR Paul Richardson

No. 9 UCONN: WR Deshon Foxx

No. 11 Vanderbilt: LS Andrew East

No. 14 Buffalo: C/G Kristjan Sokoli

WEST DIVISION

No. 1 Oregon: FB Will Tukuafu

No. 3 Texas A&M: DE Michael Bennett, WR Jeff Fuller, C Patrick Lewis, RB Christine Michael, FS Steven Terrell

No. 4 Duke: TE Cooper Helfet

No. 5 Baylor: WR Antwan Goodley

No. 6 Texas: FS Earl Thomas

EAST DIVISION

No. 3 West Virginia: G Mark Glowinski

No. 4 Kentucky: TE Ronnie Shields

No. 6 Notre Dame: T Kona Schwenke

No. 7 Wisconsin: QB Russell Wilson

No. 8 USC: CB George Farmer, TE Anthony McCoy, LB Mike Morgan

No. 11 Michigan: DE Frank Clark

MIDWEST DIVISION

No. 3 Utah: DT Sealver Siliga

No. 4 Iowa St.: DT Ahtyba Rubin

No. 5 Purdue: DE Cliff Avril, TE Brandon Cottom

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