Last week’s current number one seeds appear to be a lot different than this week’s number one seeds. After Syrcause’s back to back losses, they will fall from the number one ranked team in the nation. It appears that the Florida Gators will take over as number one as they got the job done at Ole Miss Saturday, probably closer than they would have liked but they still escaped with a win. Although Wichita State remains undefeated it is unlikely that they will jump Florida in the rankings due to their noncompetitive schedule.
At the number one overall seed is the Florida Gators. They have a fairly easy remaining schedule but that is where teams can sneak up on you. They have two remaining road games, one at Vanderbilt and the other at South Carolina. Their toughest game is the last game of the season when Kentucky comes to town looking to avenge their loss from Florida earlier in the season. Barring a complete breakdown, look for this team go to at least the Final Four. The Gators have a lot of experience lead by center Patric Young who can dominate just about anybody down low. Florida can also shoot the ball really well and not to mention they have a really underrated coach in Billy Donovan. That is the East side of the bracket that will be played in New York.
The one seed in the West is Syracuse. Despite having lost two in a row, I think that they will only drop to the fourth ranked team in the nation. Their next game is at Maryland, who played Duke tough. Don’t put it past Maryland to upset them, but in my opinion, Syracuse will bounce back, not sure by how many, I’m just saying that they will win the game. After that game, there schedule gets fairly easy where they should coast to some easy wins and regain their confidence. This Syracuse team reminds me so much of the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats that went on to win the National Championship. They have some outstanding underclassmen like freshman point guard Tyler Ennis, but C.J. Fair is the key for the Orange. Being a Senior he’s got to have the mindset of National Championship or bust and Fair is the leader of this team. Freshman have the reputation of being very inconsistent, getting frustrated very easily, and making some bad decisions when things aren’t going the way they would like. That kind of stuff can’t happen in March and it is going to be C.J. Fair’s job to pull them back into the game and get their heads right for the situation that they’re in. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone proved unbeatable up to this week, until Boston College came along. Most people thought that Syracuse would cruise past Boston College, especially since it was at the Carrier Dome. I also thought that Syracuse would win, but I thought it would be a lot closer than everyone expected. Syracuse had just come off a narrow victory at Pittsburgh, where Tyler Ennis drilled a hash-mark three at the buzzer for the win. Right after that game North Carolina State came to town, which was also a narrow victory where CJ Fair hits a layup with ten seconds left to give them a one point lead. Syracuse can be really good at times, and really bad at other times. I expect them to also go the Final Four but I put them on upset alert if a team is hitting their shots. The only way to break a 2-3 zone is to shoot the three ball. If Syracuse fails to get out on the shooters and is having an off shooting night it could be the end it for the Orange. They will play their games in Anaheim.
Right now ESPN has Arizona as the one seed in the South bracket. I don’t disagree with this, but I don’t completely agree with this, either. Despite taking a loss at North Carolina last week, I think Duke is making a good case for the one seed. They gave Syracuse all they wanted at the Carrier Dome, and got revenge on Syracuse on Saturday. Not to mention, Jabari Parker has been playing outstanding recently. I’m about 90% sure that the one seed will be Arizona, due to their weak remaining schedule. Duke probably won’t move that much in the rankings, but the top four teams will probably Florida, Wichita State, Arizona, then Syracuse. In my opinion, Arizona is really overrated. Their schedule really isn’t that tough and they don’t really win by large margins. Unless Aaron Gordon kicks it into gear I can see them going to the Elite Eight, maybe.
The final number one seed, in the Midwest bracket is Wichita State. These games will be played in Indianapolis. I’m gonna defend Wichita State here, everyone says they play an easy schedule, and I’m not denying that. They do play an easy schedule, but they did beat a good St. Louis team, who is now ranked in the top ten. Wichita State is a really fun team to watch, and I speak from experience because I got to go to one of their games against the Evansville Aces. The Aces played them really tough, and had it cut to five points with under three minutes left. Wichita ended up winning by 16, but it was much closer than what the score indicated. Wichita State is a lot better than what everyone says, I know it’s weird for me to be saying that about an undefeated team, that they’re “way better” but they’re way better than what they get credit for. They run an outstanding offense, they have great ball movement, and they knock down their shots. Ron Baker is the most consistent shooter that I’ve seen and he has such a nice stroke. His shot reminds me a lot of Ray Allen, just when you think you’ve got him figured out, he switches it up and burns you for a three. Baker isn’t the only one with talent out there, they also have point guard Fred Van Vleet. He has great ball-handling skills and can thread the needle when needed. And just when you lock down Ron Baker, Van Vleet steps up to the plate and drills a three that’ll make you reevaluate your defense. Their offense is so fundamental and they do the little things right, that’s why they prove to be so tough to beat. They also have talent down low in Cleanthony Early and Tekele Cotton. If you don’t watch out Tekele will put you on a poster. Not only is their offense explosive, so is their defense, they communicate very well with each other and close out on shooters. I saw many shots get rejected down low when I went to watch Wichita State play, I was very impressed with them. They will, of course, advance against the 16 seed with ease, but the second round is where some people seem to think that they’ll struggle. This team reminds me of last year’s Gonzaga, didn’t really play anyone but still got the last one seed. Like everyone thought, they were overrated, and what do you know, who “upset” them? Wichita State. That has got to mean something right? Is Wichita State in for another Final Four run? Could they go even farther? I believe that they’ve got the talent, but will it all click at the same time? I am not completely sure, but I think they’re season ends in the Elite Eight. That’s not bad, by any means, but maybe less than what they expected. They have some young talent and they’ll look to reload and be among the best for years to come.
This is just my opinion on how I think Selection Sunday will play out. If it seems like I am biased towards one team or the other, my favorite team isn’t in this article, so just keep that in mind.