Kentucky, Virginia, Villanova, Gonzaga
The Wildcats could very well go undefeated this year considering how mediocre the SEC is a conference in college basketball. It was great to see them finding ways to win in their overtime and double overtime match ups against Ole Miss and at Texas A&M. What is scary about them is that there isn’t one guy averaging more than 12 points a game. They can beat you in so many ways and most importantly they play defense. Along with Kentucky, the Virginia Cavaliers are playing great basketball. Led by returning Juniors, Malcolm Brogdon and James Anderson, the ACC Champs are showing the country that they will be hard to beat in the tournament. The Cavaliers already have two impressive road wins at Maryland and at Notre Dame, but will have more challenges ahead in the tough ACC. If Nova and Gonzaga are one seeds in the tournament, I can see both losing before they reach the elite eight. The play in crappy conferences and are not dominant teams. Wouldn’t be surprised if Gonzaga got upset by Pepperdine tonight.
Duke, Louisville, Wisconsin, Kansas
Duke started off 2015 with losses at home to Miami and on the road to NC State. If the Blue Devils play teams that can score with them, and can spread out Jahlil Okafor to the three point line, they can be easily beaten. Duke does have a good ratio of experienced seniors to go with their young stars. Amile Jefferson, Quinn Cook, and Rasheid Sulaimon will have to put the youngsters on their backs for Duke to go far in March. Big game on Saturday at Louisville, which will tell us where Duke is at in the ACC. Louisville has had some trouble scoring the basketball against good teams, so Duke may match up will against the Cardinals. The Cardinals played Kentucky well at home, but couldn’t leave with a W. They aren’t blowing out teams like they should be, which could also be a cause for concern. Montrez Harrell is a beast though and is a lot of fun to watch on the court. I hate Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament despite their long run last year. They seem to always underperform in the tournament because of their conservative style of play. I can see Kansas climbing to a one seed by the end of the year, but they will need to get through a tough Big 12 conference.
Utah, Arizona, Notre Dame, Maryland
I think these 3 seeds are very dangerous. Utah and Arizona have a huge game tomorrow night in Tempe. Utah has started off their conference schedule by blowing out UCLA, USC, Colorado and Arizona St. Arizona has a loss already at Oregon State. These teams really only have to deal with each other in a mediocre Pac 12 conference. Stanley Johnson for Arizona and Delon Wright for Utah are top 5 players in the country. In the end, I think both these teams will be three seeds, but will be tough outs in the tournament. Notre Dame is the most efficient offensive team in the country. The team is shooting as a whole 53% from the field and average the 11th most points per game at 82.1. They played Virginia very well at home, but lost by 6. I think they are easily the 4th best team in the ACC behind Virginia, Duke, and Louisville. Impressive wins against Michigan State and at UNC. Maryland is making a splash in the Big Ten. The newly arrived Terps will give Wisconsin a run at the best team in the Big Ten. Melo Trimble and Dez Wells are a great pair on the court. They are not going to be a 2 seed, the best they can do is a 3 seed. They get Wisconsin at home Feb 24th.
Wichita State, Iowa State, West Virginia, VCU
These 4 seeds will not be the same come March. Wichita State is returning the majority of their starters from last years #1 seeded team. Unfortunately they ran into Kentucky in the second round. Wichita is in a much improved Missouri Valley conference this year. Northern Iowa is ranked and teams like Illinois State and Evansville are not going to be walks in the park. Iowa State and West Virginia to me are number 2 and 3 behind Kansas in a very deep Big 12 conference, but come the end of the season, this could change. I could see Baylor and Oklahoma being 4 seeds by the end of the season too. Iowa State gets Kansas at home tomorrow. VCU played a tough out of conference schedule this year with losses to two potential one seeds Virginia and Villanova. However, this will most certainly help them out in A 10 play. VCU can’t get a higher seed than this.
Mid-Majors Poised for Upsets in March
After following college basketball as closely as I do, I have come up with a list of 5 mid major teams that I can see as 9-14 seeds that could win 1 or 2 games in the tournament come March. Here are the 5 teams. This list will change weekly.
1. A 10 – Dayton
2. Conference USA – Louisiana Tech
3. Southland – Sam Houston State
4. Big Sky – Eastern Washington
5. Ohio Valley – Murray State Racers