With March comes the madness. I’m switching my attention from the NFL to all that college basketball offers, especially in the month of March! I’ve broken down this blog into my Top 4 seeds in the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. These are my March Madness Top 4 seeds in each region should the Tournament start today. The rankings are based on the AP Poll.
March Madness Top 4 Seeds Per Region
NCAA Men’s Tournament 1 Seeds
#1 Gonzaga-West Region
The Gonzaga Bulldogs remained undefeated by climbing to 28 and 0. Gonzaga roughed up San Francisco 96 to 61. They put a beat down on 82 to 61. Since Gonzaga has already beaten Arizona this season, no matter what the Wildcats do, unless the Bulldogs fold in some way the Zags get the nod in the West. They have a great shot of going undefeated from here on out.
#2 Villanova-East Region
Villanova hasn’t lost a game since Jan. 24. That’s a string of 7 straight wins. The elements are there for a repeat. Guard Josh Hart is my Naismith Award Winner for College Basketball Player of the Year. Kris Jenkins, Mikal Bridges, and Jalen Brunson are more than supporting players. Jenkins made the winning shot in last season’s Final Four Championship Game. The Wildcats dominated DePaul 75 to 62 and Seton Hall 92 to 70. Both were workmanlike wins.
#3 Kansas-Midwest Region
As always, the Big 12 is one of the deepest conferences in college hoops. This season, it might be deeper than the ACC. That says a lot. Kansas is the Big 12 leader. Rock Chalk Jayhawk is 24 and 3 after beating West Virginia 84 to 80 in overtime and thumping Baylor 67 to 65 on Feb. 18. Kansas doesn’t cover a lot of spreads. The Jayhawks are 8-16-1 against the spread as of Feb. 20.
#6 Louisville-South Region
I know what you’re thinking. Why does Louisville get a 1 seed even though they’re ranked 6th in the nation? The problem is that all 3 teams ranked ahead of Louisville are from the Pac-12. All 3 of those teams play on the West Coast…just like Gonzaga. Whomever wins the ACC, and right now it could be Louisville, gets the nod in the Southeast. The Cardinals beat Syracuse 76 to 72 on the road in overtime, and Virginia Tech 94 to 90 last week.
NCAA Men’s Tournament 2 Seeds
#4 Arizona-West Region
For the Tucson Wildcats, the 58 to 85 drubbing they took at the hands of Oregon is in the past. Since the loss on Feb. 4, Arizona has won 4 straight. This past week, the Wildcats demolished Washington State 78 to 69. They beat Washington 76 to 68. Both wins were on the road. Should Arizona win the Pac-12, and Gonzaga lose a game to one of its West Coast Conference rivals, just one, Arizona could grab the 1 seed out West.
#8 North Carolina-East Region
Don’t look now, but the North Carolina Tar Heels, who are in a battle with Louisville and Duke for the ACC crown, are revving up the Baby Blue engine. The Heels have covered the spread in two straight, 97 to 73 over rival North Carolina State, and 65 to 41 over Virginia. When a college hoops team covers spread by such wide margins like North Carolina, it’s a sign that the hoops team is rolling.
#5 UCLA-Midwest Region
UCLA’s two straight back-to-back losses to USC and Arizona happened so long ago that it’s not worth mentioning the scores. February has been kind to the Bruins. So far, UCLA is undefeated in the month. They also beat Oregon 82 to 79 this month. A 78 to 60 win over Oregon State on Feb. 12, and a 102 to 70 win versus USC on Feb. 18, means the Bruins could be the best in the Pac. Just like the Wildcats, if Gonzaga stubs its toe, UCLA could jump all the way to a 1.
#6 Oregon-South Region
The Pac-12 is ultra-deep this season. Oregon, an Elite Eight participant in 2016, might be the best team of the Pac-12’s three national title contenders. The other two teams are UCLA and Arizona. Oregon scored 2 impressive wins this past week: a 79-61 win over Utah, and a 101-73 win over Colorado. Don’t look past Oregon this season. The Ducks go 11 deep.
NCAA Men’s Tournament 3 Seeds
#10 Duke-West Region
The Blue Devils are back in the Top 10 in the AP Poll after a horrendous January. Duke beat North Carolina 86 to 78 on Feb. 9. This past week, they took down Virginia 65 to 55 and Wake 99 to 94. The Blue Devils are gearing up for March.
#9 Baylor-East Region
Baylor could find itself off my list all together by next week. The Bears have lost 4 out of their past 6 games. This past week, they dropped a game to Texas Tech 78 to 84. Then, they lost 65 to 67 to Kansas at home as a 2-point favorite on Feb. 18. Baylor needs to pick it up.
#13 Florida-Midwest Region
The Gators are atop the SEC at 22 and 5. Florida hasn’t lost since Jan. 21. They pummeled Kentucky 88 to 66 earlier this month. On Feb. 14, Florida beat Auburn 114 to 95. On Feb. 18, they beat Mississippi State 57 to 52. Head coach Mike White sure looks like he was the right choice to replace Billy Donovan. White’s team might be the best in the SEC. Yes, they might be even better than Kentucky.
#11 Kentucky-South Region
Kentucky freshman Malik Monk is one of the best players in college basketball. But at times, he plays like a freshman. Sure, he is a freshman, but he can’t play like a freshman if Kentucky is to win the NCAA Men’s Tournament. Victories over Tennessee 83 to 58, and Georgia 82 to 77 this past week were just okay.
NCAA Men’s Tournament 4 Seeds
#12 West Virginia – West Region
Coach Bob Huggins fell on the floor shortly before halftime in the Mountaineers 77 to 62 win over Texas on Monday, Feb. 20. Huggins is okay. On Feb. 18, West Virginia beat Texas Tech 83 to 74 in overtime. It wasn’t a terrible week for the Mountaineers. Huggins’ health status could be a concern.
#14 Purdue – East Region
The Boilermakers squashed Michigan State 80 to 63 on Feb. 18. Before that win, they took down Rutgers 74 to 55 on Feb. 14. They also lead the Big Ten. What it means is that the Boilermakers could make their way up the seed chain, maybe even getting a 1 seed, should some of the others on my list falter. Purdue would have to run the table. That includes winning the Big Ten Tournament.
#17 SMU – Midwest Region
I like SMU’s chances to get a 4-seed. To be honest, they may have to go undefeated the rest of the way to get anything more than a 4-seed. Although the writers at AP love SMU, the fact remains that they play in the AAC, a conference that few on the Selection Committee take seriously. SMU lost 3 of its 4 games before last Dec. 1. That speaks to their quality. They beat Tulane 80 to 75 and Houston 76 to 66 in the last week.
#16 Wisconsin – South Region
The Wisconsin Badgers, like Purdue, are at 22 and 5 as of Feb. 20. The Badgers could garner a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if the Badgers win the Big Ten Tournament and don’t lose from here on out. That’s a big if. The Badgers lost to Michigan 58 to 64 to Michigan before beating 71 to 60 the past week.