I know, I know… It’s not even March yet. However, I am already in full March Madness mode. Some teams are already in March Madness mode. Nebraska obviously forgot to get in March Madness mode because they lost to Iowa State today and are most likely out of the tournament unless they make a miraculous run in the Big 12 tourney. But I digress. I’m going to give you my thoughts on some of the top teams and a look out on who to look out for come this March Madness.
Here are my predictions on who will be the #1 seeds:
Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh. After Texas lost to Colorado today, that sealed their fate in my book. Even with a share of the Big 12 title and a road win at Kansas, you can’t lose to Colorado and Nebraska on consecutive weekends and be a #1 seed. I debated with myself on if I should put BYU as a #1 seed after their impressive road win at San Diego State today, but I had to give Pitt the nod due to their strength of schedule. BYU has a couple of solid wins (Arizona, San Diego St twice, and UNLV) but those are the only ranked teams they have beat. Their conference isn’t that good, so it’s hard to give them a #1 seed, much like in football when it’s hard to give Boise St and TCU a shot at the national title.
The #2 seeds in my mind at this point would be: BYU, Purdue, Texas, and Notre Dame. This could all change after the conference tournaments are played and such, but that is the way I see it right now.
Teams that are hot that you won’t want to play come March Madness:
Kansas State- After pushing the distractions aside, and a tough loss by 2 at Colorado, K-State has gone on a tear. Obviously, their biggest win in that time came against Kansas just after KU took the #1 ranking in the nation. But winning on the road at Nebraska is not an easy feat and a home win against a top 25 Mizzou team puts them right back in the “I don’t wanna face them in March” rankings. They were over rated when the season started, that’s a fact, but they are a little better than what they have shown throughout the season. I wouldn’t want to be a #2 BYU vs #7 Kansas State come the second round of the tournament if I were BYU, that’s for sure (Hypothetically speaking of course). Huge game on BIG MONDAY in 2 days… K-State AT Texas!
St. Johns- This team is unbelievable right now. They have won 8 of their last 9 games. The only loss in that span came on the road at UCLA, and they are no push over, just ask #10 Arizona who just lost to them earlier this week. During this span they have defeated #1 Duke, #4 Pittsburgh, #10 UCONN, and just today, #14 Villanova. If you aren’t impressed by that, I don’t know what will impress you. You want to be riding a nice winning streak going into March, and this team is certainly on a roll at the right time. I could see them being anywhere from a #4 seed (if they keep up this winning streak) all the way down to a #8 or 9 seed, depending on how they do in their conference tourney. Their overall record of 19-9 right now doesn’t look impressive, but they have some solid wins of late, which is why they are on the hot list.
Florida- Before their loss today AT #22 Kentucky today, the Gators had been riding a streak of 9 wins in 10 games. I realize the SEC is nothing special when it comes to basketball, but Florida has been playing hot lately. I wouldn’t be scared of them come March, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to play them either. We’ll see what kind of seed they get and the match ups they draw, but they might be a team to look for come tourney time.
UCLA- I mentioned them earlier when I noted they beat St. Johns, but this team is coming on strong. Winning 8 of their last 9 including huge wins over Arizona and St. Johns, this team could be one to watch out for in March. Let’s not forget that they almost beat KU in Allenfield House early in the season as well. They have a BIG game AT Washington this coming week, if they win that look out. Speaking of Washington, they were the Pac-10 team that came out of nowhere last year to surprise people with a late run at the end of the season and a sweet 16 bid, maybe UCLA will be that team this year. OR maybe Washington will do it again…
North Carolina- The Tar Heels have won 9 of 10 with their only loss being against rival and #1 seed Duke. The Heels are looking to become nationally relevant again after a down year last season. A run to the sweet 16 and beyond would help them repair some of what was lost last season. The ACC isn’t what it once was, so that could be a reason why UNC has bounced back so easily this year. They are riding a hot streak and could be a tough draw come March though.
I will continue to monitor these teams and more during the upcoming weeks leading up to March Madness… I’m sure there will be plenty of action going into conference tournaments and I will probably add and change my list as it goes. Are y’all ready for this? It’s March Madness!