1) Villanova Wildcats – The Wildcats have to be number one on this list as they have been the most consistent team all year long. Villanova behind Head Coach Jay Wright has to be the favorite to win the tournament.
2) Duke Blue Devils – The Devils are led by legendary Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Now Coach K has said all year the only thing that matters is March and the Devils seem to be peaking at the right time. The beat-down they handed out to Rhode Island had to get your attention, at least it did mine because I thought it would be a tight one. Don’t be surprised if Coach K is cutting down the nets again this season.
3) Kansas Jayhawks – The Jayhawks rolled right through the Big 12 Tournament and now have added the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to that roll. The win against Seton Hall was very impressive, and while this team may not have the big-time stars they usually do, this group has great chemistry.
4) Texas A&M Aggies – After a hot start to the season the Aggies cooled off and were uneven at times with their play. After seeing what they did to North Carolina this past weekend, however, it looks like they are back playing at their best. They have the talent to win a National Championship.
5) Kentucky Wildcats – The SEC was tougher than usual this season and the Wildcats were per usual very young. That led to some uncharacteristic conference losses but it also led to a tougher team capable of winning a National Championship.
6) Clemson Tigers – The Tigers have been one of the most underrated teams all season. After what they did to Auburn on Sunday, they shouldn’t be. I know they are considered a football school but the Tigers are a real threat the rest of the way out.
7) Michigan Wolverines – The Wolverines came into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the nation, and even though they didn’t play as well this past week, destiny still seems to be shining on them.
8) Purdue Boilermakers – The loss of Isaac Haas no doubt hurts Purdue’s chances, we know that, but I still think Purdue has a good shot at getting to San Antonio.
9) Texas Tech Red Raiders – The Red Raiders are a gutty grind-it-out team. While it may not always look pretty, this team is very good. They are well-coached and have a shot to make some major noise.
10) Gonzaga Bulldogs – Coach Mark Few has a younger team than last year but if Zach Norvell Jr. and Rui Hachimura are on they can beat anybody left in the field. Especially with Mark Few at the helm. Few is a great coach.
11) West Virginia Mountaineers – I expect the Mountaineers luck to run out when they face Villanova. They looked great this past weekend, but I think that Villanova is a bad matchup for them.
12) Florida State Seminoles – The Seminoles may have been the most inconsistent team that made this tournament, but they are long and athletic, and if you try to run with them you will probably lose.
13) Nevada Wolfpack – The key to beating the Wolfpack may be letting them have the lead until about the last five minutes. They proved this past week that they will not go away no matter how bleak things are and that makes this a scary team to play.
14) Loyola-Chicago – I liked this team all season and I think they are a dangerous out, and would not be surprised to see them win another game in this tournament.
15) Syracuse Orangemen – Defense wins championships. The only problem now will be Duke has seen that defense and Coach K will know how to beat it.
16) Kansas State Wildcats – Leading scorer Dean Wade has not been able to play and yet the Wildcats beat Creighton by 10, and then ended the dreams for UMBC in a grinding 50-43 final
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