With so much swirling around in our heads, let’s take this madness one step at a time.
First, a look at who really deserves the top spots in each region.
- OHIO STATE
Take into account that OSU, KU & Duke all ran their respective conference tournament’s and all either won or contended for their regular season conference crowns. Pittsburgh’s body of work, combined with their tough non-conference schedule bumps them up & Notre Dame out of the top-4 in favor of Duke. For the simple Irish fans who don’t follow rational logic, Duke won their conference tournament against the regular season champion, Notre Dame didn’t even make it to the Championship game and that’s just not enough for my taste.
- NORTH CAROLINA
- SAN DIEGO STATE
- NOTRE DAME
An astounding Big East tournament title and their tenacity all season long makes UCONN my top #2 seed. UNC comes in a close second due to their ridiculous run of comeback’s through the ACC tournament and of course the ACC regular season crown helps too. The Aztec’s were able to finally exercise the Jimmer demons in the MWC tournament and has earned the right to be in the upper echelon with only two total losses all season. While the Irish probably don’t deserve to be this low of a #2 seed, a sweet but just short stint in the Big East tournament is really their only flaw, which came at the wrong time for this hot team.
The Cardinals, Cougars and Gators all made it to their respective conference tournament championships games. In addition to Louisville’s previous to victories over UCONN, BYU & Florida were also co & regular season champions for their respective conferences. Kentucky’s run in the SEC tournament did a lot to prove they have grown from their inexperience since September and deserve the seeding of such a squad.
The Longhorns found themselves in a grudge match against the Jayhawks, but they still have the talent and the resume to the best of the four seeds. Syracuse has had their issues but put in some strong work at the end of the regular season and in the Big East tournament, knocking off West Virginia, Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s, all of whom will be seeded lower in the dance. Between Arizona and Purdue it’s really a matter of schedule. The Wildcats are getting the edge because of their regular season Pac-10 title and their ferocious losing battle with Washington in the Pac-10 tournament. Purdue has been lackluster to close the season, plus their loss to Michigan State is just a sour way to go out of the Big-10 tournament after such high hopes for a deep run.
- UTAH STATE
- SAINT JOHN’S
Two A-10 teams in this group is a scary thought, but I do love my mid-Major darlings. Xavier won the A-10 regular season crown while Temple took the tournament down. Utah State was the WAC regular season champion as well as the tournament champion making them an easy choice here. The controversy for me was who was the last of the best? It came down to a handful of deserving squads, but after looking thoroughly at all the criteria, Saint John’s gets the nod. On the bubble are Vanderbilt, Florida State, Wisconsin & Texas A&M. Why the Red Storm you ask? Simply put, they play in the Big East and had more victories against top-25 teams than any of the other contenders.