Welcome to Selection Sunday. Conference tournaments are concluding across the country as the selection committee readies itself to release the full field of 68 teams that will comprise this year’s NCAA Tournament. What four teams will earn No. 1 seeds? Who will be this year’s biggest snub? We’ll find out Sunday afternoon.
The Kansas Jayhawks ended the year as the AP’s top-ranked team, and Bill Self’s club look primed to grab a No. 1 seed for the second year in a row. Led by senior Frank Mason and freshman Josh Jackson, Rock Chalk is talented and deep enough to make a run into the Big Dance’s later rounds. Mason in particular has a emerged as a force of nature this year, averaging 20.5 points and 5.1 assists per outing.
Click here for a printable .PDF of this year’s SB Nation March Madness bracket.
Out on the West Coast, a bevy of teams that includes UCLA, Oregon, and Gonzaga would appear well suited to make runs of their own. The Zags are especially intriguing, as they tore through the regular season on the way to 30 wins. Their lone regular season loss came against BYU in the second-to-last game, but that does nothing to diminish these Bulldogs’ complete body of work.
I’m inclined to keep Gonzaga in the top spot out West, as the Bulldogs have just one loss and claimed both the West Coast Conference tournament and regular season titles. Quibble with the quality of the league if you must, but if a team’s body of work matters, the Bulldogs won’t fall to a two.
One thing working against Duke is the fact that no eight-loss team has ever been placed on the bracket’s top line. But since it looks like the 2017 bracket will be the first to include a 15-loss at-large squad, the Vanderbilt Commodores, it might just be the year when the Selection Committee throws precedent out the window.