NCAA event bracketology: No. 1 seeds would possibly look slightly completely different


There might be some new faces on the highest line of the NCAA event come March.

Yes, standard suspects like all of final yr’s No. 1 seeds — Arizona, Baylor, Gonzaga and Kansas — nonetheless harbor believable hopes of replicating the feat. Kansas has the second-most appearances ever as a No. 1 seed with 15. Arizona has seven, tied for fifth all-time with Virginia (which might play its method into the dialog for its first look on the highest line since 2019).

But North Carolina (17 all-time)? The Tar Heels gained’t find yourself as a No. 1 seed this yr. Ditto for Duke (14) and Kentucky (12). It’s an uphill climb for Illinois, a prime seed two years in the past, and Michigan (one other 2021 No. 1 seed) can be lucky simply to play its method into the sector of 68.

So it might very effectively be a distinct take a look at the highest when the sector is unveiled in rather less than six weeks, with seven candidates who haven’t been No. 1 seeds within the twenty first century (if ever).

Duke’s post-Mike Krzyzewski period is off to a rocky begin in season one

Alabama (Never): Three occasions a No. 2 seed (1987, 2002 and 2021) beneath three completely different coaches, the Crimson Tide is unbeaten in SEC play this season. Alabama arguably has the very best likelihood of anybody this season at turning into a first-time No. 1 seed behind star freshman Brandon Miller.

Kansas State (Never): The Wildcats gained’t win each shut recreation they’re on this yr (Iowa State made positive of that final week), however they’re nonetheless 18-3 and have the comeback participant of the yr in Keyontae Johnson main a powerful revival. Ok-State’s seeding peak is a No. 2 (the Jacob Pullen-led 2010 workforce). It isn’t far off that, although there’s loads of work left within the grueling Big 12.

Marquette (Never): The Golden Eagles have by no means landed something greater than a No. 3 seed, and that’s most likely the neighborhood they’ll find yourself on this season. Yet they’re 8-1 since Christmas, and Tyler Kolek is likely one of the nation’s best table-setters. If they get into the barn with only one or two extra losses, a No. 1 seed isn’t out of the query (relying on how others fare, in fact).

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Tennessee (Never): A 3-time No. 2 seed (2006, 2008 and 2019), the Volunteers personal the nation’s most effective protection in response to and simply dispatched Texas by 11 over the weekend. They don’t have as deep a set of victories as another groups within the No. 1 seed combine, however the SEC will present sufficient alternatives to rectify that between now and mid-March.

TCU (Never): The Horned Frogs haven’t reached back-to-back tournaments since 1952-53 (a feat they’re closing in on), so touchdown on the highest line is hardly the expectation round Fort Worth. They’re essentially the most unlikely of this bunch to get there, particularly after dropping 4 of seven, however they gained’t be missing possibilities to pad their profile within the coming weeks.

Houston (1983): The Cougars haven’t been a No. 1 seed for the reason that days of Phi Slama Jama. Even with a loss earlier this month to Temple, ending that drought is in play. Led by veteran guard Marcus Sasser, Houston possesses a miserly protection and a pointy (if much less heralded) offense.

Purdue (1996): The Boilermakers had been a No. 1 seed 3 times beneath Gene Keady (1988, 1994 and 1996) however have topped out on the No. 2 line beneath Matt Painter (2018). They’ve additionally been no less than a No. 5 seed in each event held since 2016. With Zach Edey offering an every-game mismatch within the publish, Purdue is poised to finish its No. 1 seed drought after 27 years.

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Last 4 included: West Virginia, Texas A&M, Penn State, Nevada

First 4 on the skin: Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Arizona State

Next 4 on the skin: Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Seton Hall, Oregon

Moving in: Cornell, Fairleigh Dickinson, Furman, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Saint Louis, Siena, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern California, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee-Martin, Texas A&M, UNC Asheville, Utah Valley, Vermont, West Virginia, Youngstown State

Moving out: Arizona State, Iona, Longwood, Marshall, Milwaukee, Morgan State, Nicholls, Ohio State, Princeton, St. Francis (Pa.), Samford, Seattle, SIU Edwardsville, UMass Lowell, VCU, Wisconsin

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Conference name: Big Ten (9), SEC (7), Big 12 (7), ACC (6), Big East (5), Mountain West (4), Pac-12 (3), American Athletic (2), West Coast (2)

Bracket projection: South vs. West; Midwest vs. East

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Purdue appears increasingly more like a clear-cut prime total seed, for the second, anyway. Alabama’s loss over the weekend to Oklahoma solidified that. … Connecticut dips one other line after final week’s loss to Xavier. The Huskies have misplaced six of eight since their 14-0 begin, however have an opportunity to get effectively this week at DePaul and Georgetown. …

Maryland males get again to .500 within the Big Ten by dismantling Nebraska

While a few of the borderline Big Ten groups have stumbled within the final couple weeks, Maryland’s three wins in 4 video games have helped solidify its standing. The Terrapins are good throughout all metrics and don’t have any dangerous losses on their résumé. … The metrics nonetheless favor Arkansas, however the Razorbacks are scuffling. They’ve misplaced six of 9 heading into Tuesday’s house recreation in opposition to Texas A&M.

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After a highway sweep of the Washington colleges, Arizona is as much as the No. 1 line. The Wildcats are 7-2 in Quadrant 1 video games, extra victories than any workforce aside from Purdue. … College of Charleston noticed its 20-game profitable streak finish Saturday with a loss to Hofstra, leaving Pat Kelsey’s workforce with its first loss exterior of Quadrant 1. …

One of essentially the most beneficial alternatives of the week is Providence’s go to to Xavier. The Friars are already tied for the Big East lead and are 3-4 in Quad 1 video games, however a victory would simply be the very best consequence away from house this season for Ed Cooley’s bunch. … A Rick Barnes/Clemson reunion? There can be lots of orange in Greensboro if Tennessee occurred to face the Tigers. …

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Iowa is 5-5 in Quad 1 video games, with a lot extra possibilities to return through the again half of Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes get Northwestern and Illinois at house this week. … Indiana has gained 5 consecutive convention video games for the primary time since 2016, when it gained the Big Ten common season title. The Hoosiers have a tough week, visiting Maryland on Tuesday earlier than taking part in host to Purdue on Saturday. …

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Feinstein: Billy Packer by no means pulled his punches. It’s what made him so nice.

The solely two noteworthy issues on Kentucky’s résumé are a win at Tennessee and a loss at house in opposition to South Carolina. And that may not change an excessive amount of. Only 4 of the Wildcats’ final 10 video games are in opposition to projected NCAA event groups, and simply a type of (March 4 at Arkansas) is on the highway. … Eastern Washington is considered one of six groups remaining which can be undefeated in convention play, becoming a member of Alabama (SEC), Colgate (Patriot), Florida Atlantic (Conference USA), Oral Roberts (Summit) and Saint Mary’s (WCC).

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North Carolina faces an pivotal stretch over the following two weeks: Pitt at house, journeys to Duke and Wake Forest, after which Clemson and Miami at house in a three-day stretch. The Tar Heels have an actual likelihood to enhance their seeding in that span. … Rutgers bought swept by Iowa, however is 6-2 in opposition to the remainder of the Big Ten and nonetheless has two video games in opposition to last-place Minnesota, one at house in opposition to Thirteenth-place Nebraska and one other at house in opposition to a Michigan workforce that’s struggled away from Ann Arbor. The Scarlet Knights shouldn’t must sweat this time round on Selection Sunday. …

Both Texas A&M (gained at Auburn and at house in opposition to Vanderbilt) and West Virginia (gained at Texas Tech and at house in opposition to Auburn) enter the sector after 2-0 weeks. … Southern California earned a powerful victory over UCLA, then watched over the weekend as Utah misplaced as soon as and Arizona State fell twice. For the needs of each the standings and bracketing, the Trojans are clearly the No. 3 workforce within the Pac-12 for now.

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