From 1-68: Ranking the NCAA field
Are the four No. 1 seeds the favorites to win the title? Let's look at the entire field, 1-68.
While there were a few gripes about which teams got snubbed this season, it feels like we discussed who got in and who get left out far less than we have in the past. Either way, it’s in our rearview mirror -- and it’s time to focus on the games ahead. It’s all about the matchups now, and which teams have the goods to make a run to Atlanta and win the national championship. Here is how we see the 68 teams in the dance stacking up.
The NCAA selection committee released its 1-68 seeding also, ranking every team in the field based on profile.
This, however, is not ranking teams based on resumes. It is a ranking of all 68 teams in the field, based on how they perform on the court. Essentially, if each team played the other 67 teams once, this is how I think the standings would turn out.
1. Indiana: The Hoosiers are the most complete team in the country, but do they have the killer instinct to win a title?
2. Louisville: The Cardinals went through a slump in the middle of conference play, but they play terrific defense and have options on the offensive end.
4. Gonzaga: They haven’t been tested too often in the past couple of months, but the Zags have terrific inside play and a number of weapons.
5. Georgetown: It’s hard for teams to impose their pace on the Hoyas, which means it’s hard to take down Georgetown over 40 minutes.
7. Michigan State: Whenever Tom Izzo is at the helm, it’s not going to be easy to beat the Spartans. They are a very complete team, too.
8. Florida: If the Gators figure out how to win close games -- 0-6 in single-digit contests -- they can beat anyone. The starting five is terrific.
10. Saint Louis: Good luck facing this team on 36 hours of preparation. The Billikens are physical and disciplined.
13. New Mexico: The Lobos are ready to prove the doubters wrong – and they have the personnel to do it. Moreover, they know how to win close games.
14. Syracuse: Was the Big East tourney performance a fluke? The Orange are shooting the ball well again, and the 2-3 zone is tough to beat.
15. UNLV: Based purely on talent, the Runnin’ Rebels are as good as anyone in the country. Can they put it together to go on a run?
18. North Carolina: The Tar Heels changed their entire strategy in mid-February and haven’t looked back. Depending on matchups, they can make a run.
19. VCU: Is another deep run in the offing for the Rams? They force turnovers and have the ability to blow teams out of the water.
20. Arizona: The Wildcats got dealt a tough seed and path, but they have plenty of talent on the roster. Mark Lyons is the key for them.
21. Marquette: The Golden Eagles don’t have any stars, but they have a number of offensive options and can hurt teams in different ways.
24. NC State: If you look at the Wolfpack’s talent, you might think they can win some games. Can they repeat their Sweet 16 run?
28. Pittsburgh: Will this be the year the Panthers end the trend of early knockouts in the NCAA tournament? Power ratings love them.
31. Memphis: We haven’t seen the Tigers beat anyone good this year, but they have a ton of athletes and are talented enough to win games.
34. Colorado: The Buffaloes struggled down the stretch with some injuries, but they have the ability to matchup with nearly any team in the country.
36. Iowa State: When this team is hitting 3-pointers, it can hang with anyone. Their ability to stretch the defense is impressive.
39. Minnesota: Will the Golden Gophers be able to snap out of their slump of the final two months? Tubby Smith could be coaching for his job.
43. Belmont: Rick Byrd has had the Bruins poised for an upset for several years, and this could be the year they do it. They’re deep and experienced.
46. Villanova: A slew of good wins helped propel the Wildcats into the dance, but they will need to win away from home to advance.
48. Ole Miss: Marshall Henderson in the NCAA tournament will be fun to watch. If he gets hot (and stays under control), look out for the Rebels.
49. Oklahoma: The Sooners have a lot of weapons and their balance is tough to guard, but Romero Osby and Steven Pledger will be the keys.
50. Middle Tennessee: The Blue Raiders were the most hotly debated team in the tourney, and they will have to prove their worth with a win.
52. Davidson: Any time Bob McKillop is roaming the sidelines for the Wildcats, they’re a threat. Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks form a terrific duo.
54. Iona: Don’t be fooled by the Gaels’ MAAC record – this team is talented. Momo Jones and Sean Armand are capable of big scoring nights.
55. New Mexico State: The Aggies are aggressive on the offensive end, constantly driving the lane and drawing contact. They have won 18 of 20.
59. Northwestern State: The Demons are deep and love to push the ball, ranking No. 1 in the country in tempo. They will try to wear teams down.
60. Florida Gulf Coast: FGCU has already proven it can beat elite teams, knocking off Miami earlier this season. Andy Enfield is doing a great job.
61. Pacific: What a way for head coach Bob Thomason to go out. Thomason has been to the dance before, and the Tigers are balanced and can shoot.
62. LIU-Brooklyn: The Blackbirds have the athletes to compete, and Jamal Olasewere is one of the more versatile scorers around.
64. Albany: The Great Danes made a run in the America East tournament, and their ability to play disciplined defense and rebound is their strength.
65. James Madison: Three wins in the CAA tournament sent the Dukes to the NCAA tournament – and they have the threats to scare an opponent.
66. Western Kentucky: Another year, another surprising appearance in the tournament for the Hilltoppers. Ray Harper is doing well.
67. Liberty: The first Cinderella of conference tournament week, the Flames won only 11 regular season games. John Caleb Sanders is their best.
68. North Carolina A&T: A&T came out of the crazy MEAC tournament with a bid, and now the Aggies will look to win in the First Four.
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