Kentucky’s three NCAA teams — the Cats, Louisville and Northern Kentucky — have plenty of Bluegrass flavor on their rosters with 12 players having played high school basketball in the state.
But the NCAA Tournament field’s ties to Kentucky don’t stop there.
A survey of the other 65 teams’ rosters and coaching staff offers up some other squads to root for.
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Butler: Kelan Martin is a 6-foot-7 junior forward out of Ballard who leads the Bulldogs in scoring (16.1) and rebounding (5.7). He was a second-team All-Big East Conference selection by the league’s coaches.
Cincinnati: Senior forward Zack Tobler starred in high school at Covington Catholic. He has averaged 1.3 points in 13 games this season.
Iowa State: Ray Kasongo, a 6-foot-9 forward who played in high school at Pikeville and East Ridge, is sitting out this season after transferring from Tennessee.
Jacksonville State: Tyrik Edwards, a 5-foot-10 freshman guard out of Christian County, has averaged 4.3 points, 1.9 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game. He had six points and three assists in 21 minutes off the bench in the Gamecocks’ victory against Tennessee-Martin in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament’s championship game.
Kent State: Sophomore guard Jalen Avery played at Covington Holy Cross before transferring to Shroder Padeira Academy in Cincinnati. He has started 24 games for the Mid-American Conference Tournament champs and has averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 assists while shooting 39.8 percent from three-point range.
Michigan: Charles Matthews, a sophomore forward, is sitting out this season after transferring from Kentucky. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in his lone season with the Wildcats.
New Orleans: Cameron Reed, a sophomore guard out of Louisville Eastern, has averaged 0.8 points and 0.7 rebounds in a reserve role for the Southland Conference Tournament champs. His played more last season as a freshman and averaged 5.9 points and 1.2 rebounds.
Vanderbilt: Luke Kornet, a 7-1 junior center, is a Lexington native who averages 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. The Southeastern Conference’s coaches named him first-team all-conference and included him on their all-defensive team. He earned the honor for Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Luke’s dad, Frank, starred at Lexington Catholic and Vanderbilt and his sister, Nicole, plays at UCLA.
West Virginia: James “Beetle” Bolden is a 6-0 freshman guard who starred in high school at Holmes. He has averaged 3.8 points for the Mountaineers. Bolden missed the 2015-16 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee in September 2015.
Xavier: Quentin Goodin, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard from Taylor County, averages 4.8 points and 3.2 assists. He has started 13 of 33 games. Leighton Schrand, a freshman guard out of Covington Holy Cross, has scored three points in six minutes this season.
Coaches and staff
Arizona: Associate director of performance enhancement Chris Rounds was an assistant strength coach at Kentucky from 1997-2000. He earned his master’s in exercise science from UK in 2000.
Baylor: Tim Maloney, director of basketball operations, spent two seasons at Eastern Kentucky, first as an assistant (2003-04) and then as associate head coach (2004-05).
Butler: Chris Holtmann, who played at Jessamine County in high school and spent part of his college career at Brescia, is in his third season as the Bulldogs’ head coach. He was an All-American at NAIA-level Taylor University in 1993-94.
Cincinnati: Head coach Mick Cronin was the associate head coach for Rick Pitino at Louisville for two seasons (2001-03) before leading Murray State, where he went 69-24 from 2003-06.
Associate head coach Larry Davis, the dean of the Bearcats’ staff, is a Mount Sterling native who graduated from Asbury. His first head coaching job was at Cloverport High School in Breckinridge County. Assistant coach Antwon Jackson played at Pikeville College, where he graduated in 1993. Director of student-athlete development T.J. Wolf played at Murray State.
Creighton: Tim MacAllister, the team’s video coordinator, played in high school at Logan County before attending Murray State. He was a student assistant to Billy Kennedy for one year and Steve Prohm for three seasons.
Dayton: Head coach Archie Miller spent one season (2003-04) on Darrin Horn’s staff at Western Kentucky.
East Tennessee State: Graduate manager Chad Donley played one season at Morehead State (2014-15). He averaged 2.4 points and 0.9 rebounds.
Florida: Assistant coach Dusty May was at Murray State for the 2006-07 season. Darris Nichols, another Gators assistant, spent two seasons on the staff at Northern Kentucky (2011-13).
Florida Gulf Coast: Michael Fly, who played in high school for Fulton City and graduated from the University of Kentucky, is an assistant coach for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champions. While at UK, he was a volunteer assistant coach for Happy Osborne at Georgetown College. Lawrence Brenneman, the Eagles’ coordinator of video operations, spent seven seasons as an assistant at Western Kentucky.
Florida State: Head coach Leonard Hamilton spent 12 years as an assistant at Kentucky from 1974 to 1986 under Joe B. Hall.
Iowa State: Head coach Steve Prohm compiled a 104-29 record while leading Murray State from 2011 to 2015, and was an assistant coach for the Racers from 2006 to 2011.
Assistant coach William Small spent four seasons with Prohm at Murray, and he has also worked at Western Kentucky where he recruited NBA player Courtney Lee to the Hilltoppers. Assistant coach Neill Berry was on the staff at Western Kentucky from 2005 to 2008. David Hobbs, special assistant to the head coach, was Tubby Smith’s associate head coach at Kentucky.
Jacksonville State: Head coach Ray Harper, in his first year coaching the Gamecocks, led his squad to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship. Harper, who scored 3,033 points in high school at Bremen and played in college at Texas and Kentucky Wesleyan, led his alma mater to NCAA Division II national championships in 1999 and 2001. He also won two NAIA titles with Oklahoma City before joining Western Kentucky’s staff as an assistant coach in 2009. He was the Hilltoppers’ head coach from 2012 to 2016.
Assistant coach Chase Richardson was Harper’s director of operations at WKU from 2013 to 2015. Richardson graduated from Elizabethtown in 2006 and Western Kentucky in 2011. Another assistant Jake Morton, worked with Harper at Western from 2011 to 2013. Tommy Wade, a JSU assistant played in high school at Hopkinsville and in college at Murray State and Southeast Missouri. Wade went on to coach University Heights and his other assistant coaching stops have included Kentucky Wesleyan, Murray State and St. Catherine.
Kansas: Assistant coach Kurtis Townsend was a point guard at Western Kentucky for two seasons (1978-80). He has also been an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky. Jerrance Howard, another Jayhawks assistant, was on Billy Gillispie’s staffs at Texas A&M and Kentucky.
Kansas State: Head coach Bruce Weber worked for 19 seasons as an assistant coach for legend Gene Keady, including Western Kentucky (1979-80). He earned his Master’s degree from WKU in 1981.
Kent State: Associate head coach Eric Haut was a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky for the 2004-05 season. Assistant coach Bobby Steinburg was the lead assistant at Bellarmine from 2001 to 2003.
Maryland: Head associate athletic trainer Matt Charvat, an Ohio native who is in his 16th season with the Terrapins, earned his master’s degree in exercise science at Morehead State.
Middle Tennessee: Graduate assistant Joe Pierre III’s mother, Clemmie, graduated from the University of Kentucky.
Minnesota: Head coach Richard Pitino, son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, worked for his dad with the Cardinals as an assistant (2007-2009) and as associate head coach (2011-12).
New Orleans: Assistant coach Jody Bailey played in high school at Beth Haven Christian in Louisville. The U of L graduate worked there on Denny Crum’s staff and was also an assistant at Kentucky Wesleyan.
Notre Dame: Harold Swanagan, the Irish’s director of men’s basketball operations, starred at University Heights before playing for Notre Dame from 1998 to 2002.
UNC Wilmington: Head coach Kevin Keatts was an assistant at Louisville from 2011 to 2014, including the Cardinals’ championship run in 2013. Assistant coach Casey Stanley was U of L’s video coordinator for the 2011-12 season. Travis Hackert, director of men’s basketball operations, was a student manager at Louisville.
Oregon: Assistant coach Mike Mennenga played in college at Morehead State.
Princeton: Head coach Mitch Henderson played for Tates Creek Middle School before playing in high school at Culver Military Academy in Indiana and in college at Princeton from 1994 to 1998. He guided the Tigers to the inaugural Ivy League Tournament title.
Purdue: Associate head coach Jack Owens played one season at Murray State before transferring, and he finished his playing career at Eastern Illinois.
Seton Hall: Head coach Kevin Willard played in high school at Bowling Green and in college at Western Kentucky when his father, Ralph, coached there. He was on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville for six seasons.
South Carolina: Associate head coach Matt Figger, in his fifth season with the Gamecocks, is a Jenkins graduate who earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Eastern Kentucky in 1995. He played baseball at Pikeville College (1990-91) before finishing up his education at EKU.
SMU: Shawn Forrest, an assistant for the American Athletic Conference Tournament winners, spent the previous three seasons at Western Kentucky.
Texas Southern: Keith LeGree, an assistant coach for the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament champs, played two seasons at Louisville before transferring to Cincinnati.
Troy: Head coach Phil Cunningham, a former Taylor County star who played in college at Kentucky Wesleyan and Campbellsville, guided the Trojans to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title. His coaching stops have included Sue Bennett and Western Kentucky.
Assistant coach Adam Howard, a former Ashland Blazer standout, played four seasons at Western Kentucky (2004-08) and started his coaching career at Morehead State.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores’ strength and conditioning coach is Jeremy Anderson, a Warren Central graduate who played in college at Liberty from 2007 to 2011.
Vermont: Athletic trainer Eugene Santos earned his Master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky and spent two seasons as a graduate assistant for the Colonels’ baseball and women’s basketball teams.
VCU: Assistant coach Rasheen Davis worked on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville in 2007-08, and for former UK walk-on Steve Masiello for three seasons at Manhattan (2012-15). Greg Goldin, director of sports performance, previously spent one season on Murray State’s staff.
Wichita State: Devon Smith, the team’s manager of player development, was previously on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville.
Xavier: Ricardo Johnson, a graduate assistant, won a state championship with Holmes in 2009 before going on to play for Ohio University.