We’ll take a look at who we deem to be three of the four teams that currently hold down a #1 seed for the upcoming 2015 NCAA Tournament. In addition, there are also three teams that are lurking on the periphery if one of our top choices stubs their toe during conference tournament play.
Projected #1 Seeds
I don’t see any type of a scenario that would cause the Wildcats not to be a #1 seed. Their 31-0 record this season includes quality nonconference wins by 32 over #9 Kansas, by 20 versus #24 Providence, by 12 over Texas, by 14 over #19 North Carolina, by 8 at #16 Louisville, and a 39-point rout of UCLA (19-12). There was nothing soft about the Wildcats nonconference slate to say the least. Arguably the SEC was the most improved conference in the country this season.
All three of Duke’s losses this season came in conference games versus Notre Dame, North Carolina State, and Miami Fla, as those backing them with NCAA Basketball picks can likely recall. It must be noted, the ACC currently has five teams ranked 19th or higher in the national polls. The conference may have as many as eight, and six for sure, teams that will be in “The Big Dance”. The Blue Devils also had quality nonconference wins over Michigan State by 10, Temple by 20, Stanford by 11, and at Wisconsin by 10. Duke should have no problems hanging on for a #1 seed if they at least get to the ACC Tournament Final.
The ACC was definitely one of the top three conferences in America this season, and the Virginia Cavaliers captured the regular season crown. On some negative notes, they did suffer a last second two-point loss in their regular season finale at Louisville, and lost at home in their only meeting of the season versus Duke. However, similar to the Blue Devils, if the Cavaliers reach the conference tournament title game, they’ll secure a #1 seed.
It’s a clear cut path for the Villanova Wildcats, win the Big East Tournament and secure a #1 seed in the “The Big Dance”. The Wildcats finished the regular season by winning twelve consecutive games in a row. Their only losses came versus Big East rivals Seton Hall and #23 Georgetown. They played a formidable nonconference slate which included wins over notables such as #21 VCU (77-53), at Michigan (60-55) when the Wolverines were 100% healthy, at Illinois (73-59), Temple (85-62), and Syracuse (82-77). If the Wildcats stumble in the conference tournament, they won’t be any worse than a #2 seed.
Teams on the Periphery
Gonzaga (30-2): The Bulldogs looked like a lock for one of the top seeds until they were upset as a 14.5 point home favorite versus BYU in their regular season finale. They still have an outside chance of regaining a #1 seed if they win the WCC Tournament. They would need one of three things to occur. Villanova to lose in the Big East Tournament, Duke or Virginia to be upset prior to the ACC Final.
Arizona (28-3): The Arizona Wildcats need to take care of business first by winning the PAC-12 Tournament. If they’re able to accomplish that, they would need one of the same three scenarios to occur that I alluded to with Gonzaga, and would also need Gonzaga to get knocked off in their conference tournament.
Wisconsin (28-3): The Badgers are the most unlikely of the teams to be elevated to a #1 seed, but they do have a chance if everything falls their way. However, it will all be a moot point if they don’t win the Big Ten Tournament.