College Basketball March Madness is here and by all accounts it is looking like it is going to be pretty chalky. With that in mind I am going to take a look at the top seeds: Kentucky, Duke, Villanova and Wisconsin and see who has the easiest path to the Final Four based on overall competition and potential matchups. There is no doubt Kentucky is the favourite but has their top overall seeding cleared the path for them even more?
As the top seed the Wildcats are supposed to have the clearest path and I think the committee has achieved that. The second seed in their bracket is Kansas, a team they creamed early in the season and the third seed is Notre Dame, a quality team but one that lacks the size and depth to give Kentucky a game. Wichita State is there which will bring up some fun historical references but this year’s team is not as good as last year’s. The teams that have the most intrigue for me are Texas and Purdue because both have enough size to pose a threat. The Longhorns played them tough but are inconsistent overall and Purdue might not even get by Cincinnati to face them in the round of 32. This is a nice slate for UK.
Duke Blue Devils:
I believe Duke was considered the third overall seed which is why they are in the South and not the East. They have been impressive this season but I think they might have the toughest slog to get to the Final Four. In the round of 32 they are likely to face a San Diego State team that is long and has one of the top defenses in America. It is just not really Duke’s style to gut a game out but they might have to. Also, on the bottom of the bracket you have Gonzaga and Iowa State, two teams that I probably would have put in the Final Four were they not in the same corner of the grid. Throw in wild cards like Utah and Stephen F. Austin and I think half of this region is capable of bringing down the Blue Devils.
Villanova is the top seed in the East. Since I am not a big Virginia fan I think they could have an easy time of it…if they can get past their second round game against the winner of LSU vs. NC State. Both of those teams are capable with hanging with any team in the tournament and have proved it in their respective leagues this season. Other than those programs I am not too concerned with the likes of Louisville and Northern Iowa. A sleeper could be Michigan State who has chosen the right time of year to be playing their best ball. The East Region is pretty light.
I know this kind of thing happens a lot but it is weird to see Wisconsin as the top seed in the West. They definitely did not do the Badgers any favours by putting the most obvious team – Arizona – out there too and there are definitely others that could put a scare in the Badgers if they get a chance. North Carolina finished the season very strong and has the size and depth to push Wisconsin, so does Arkansas out of the SEC. Finally, if BYU is able to make a run from their spot in the First Four I think they would be an interesting opponent for all of the aforementioned teams. They beat Gonzaga on the road to close the regular season and they play at a fast pace.
Order Easiest to Most Difficult: