Villanova took the overall top seed on Selection Sunday, with Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga joining the defending national champions on the No. 1 line for the NCAA Tournament.
Middle Tennessee State pulled off the biggest shocker as a No. 15 seed a year ago with a 90-81 win over Michigan State, which went into that tournament as trendy pick to win a national title. Might he have some more magic this March? UNC-Asheville had a stellar regular season, although beating VCU in the Siegel Center would have helped, but is a victim of the Davidson syndrome. The game is a straight pick ’em with the tip off just hours away.
First off, how cool is Wake Forest’s name?
Second round: Villanova over Wisconsin, Florida over UNC Wilmington, Baylor over USC and the teacher beats the student, Duke and Mike Krzyzewski oust Marquette and Steve Wojciechowski. You either love or hate the Blue Devils, but Coach K more often than not has his guys ready to play in March. Somehow, first-year coach Ray Harper led them to the tourney title, a No. 15 seed and a date Friday in Indy against second-seeded Louisville. Though the Jayhawks lost completely inexplicable games this season, including to TCU in the Big 12 tournament, they may be the most talented and most prepared to make a Final Four run.
The other two first-round games in Buffalo: No. 5 Notre Dame (25-9) vs.
16 – Nicknamed Sweet 16, the teams that have made it this far won their first and second games.
For pure drama, best wait ’til the shots start flying. Wait, did I just jinx Chris Collins and the Wildcats? Those are good combos come tournament time. They are quite possibly the most under-seeded team ever (as a 10 seed versus a No. 12 ranking on our Power Ranks).
In previous seasons combined, 317 different men’s basketball teams have participated in the NCAA tournament. An 11-seed has won in the first round every year since 2005, and in eight of those tournaments, multiple 11-seeds knocked off six-seeds. Meanwhile, North Carolina and Kansas, both losers of their tournaments, get ones.
The KIRO 7 Bracket Challenge is presented by Hyundai of Kirkland, with president Jim Walen also participating.
In terms of this season, the Tar Heels are averaging 84.9 points per game, and they are about to go up against a No. 16 seed. If the Bears are able to get back to their winning ways, it’ll be rangy big man Johnathan Motley leading the way.
Favorite: No. 2 Arizona, the Pac-12 regular season and tournament champ, nearly yearly has the potential to reach the Final Four but hasn’t yet gotten there under coach Archie Miller.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore has been a star for the Demon Deacons.
The West region is considered by many to be a two-team race, as well. That’s Florida State or Duke. And with an RPI of No. 27 in the country, it’s entirely possible that the Seahawks would have gotten an at-large bid if they hadn’t beaten Charleston 78-69 for the CAA title.
Prediction: Arizona over Gonzaga. They would appear to be a big waste of time.
Semifinals: Villanova over Florida, Duke over Baylor.