As March is finally upon us, college basketball conference tournaments are starting and teams are locking down their spots in the tournament. Each team aspires to get the top seed in the tournament but only four teams will be able to achieve this. As the conference tourneys progress on, here are my predictions for the No. 1 seeds.
The No. 1 seed representing the Big 12 Conference will likely go to the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks are the current regular season No. 1 seed and have held a high seed all season as they sit at 27-3. They’ve continued their conference dominance, clinching their 15th Big 12 Championship in 16 years. Kansas gains the majority of its success through their two-headed monster of second-year guard Devon Dotson and fourth-year center Udoka Azubuike. This gives them the versatility of having someone who can dominate the perimeter and someone who can dominate the paint. Dotson leads the team in points at 18.2 per game. With Kansas winning another No. 1 seed, they’ll be a tough out in their efforts to continue their dominant season and have a shot at winning March Madness.
The second No.1 seed, representing the West Coast Conference (WCC) in the tournament is another obvious selection in the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Bulldogs remain the deepest team in college basketball as they have seven players that average over 10 points per game. A large part of their success is their unique forward play. Instead of using a true center, they roll with three forwards who happen to be their three highest scorers. Second-year forward Filip Petrusev leads the team in points and rebounds with 17.8 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs sit at 29-2 and lead the WCC but are always one of the toughest teams to predict as they lack competition in their schedule. Gonzaga has shown glimpses of being the most dominant team in college basketball and many think they have what it takes to win it all this year, but they still need to find their spark.
The third No. 1 seed isn’t nearly as clear cut as the first two, but the play of the San Diego State Aztecs has kept them in high contention for the spot to represent the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs sit at 30-2 and remain in first place of the Mountain West. They have the same dilemma as Gonzaga where they have dominated all season, but lack strength in their schedule to test their mettle. The Aztecs also have strength in depth as they have four players who average above 10 points per game. Third-year guard Malachi Flynn is getting it done all over the court averaging 17.7 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists per game. Their 30 wins have plunged them into contender talk but they still lack any strong victories over a proven opponent. They have not been an actual contender in over a decade and fans wonder if this is the year the Aztecs could finally return to contention.
The fourth No. 1 seed is a very disputed one, it could go to a variety of teams but a sneaky contender is the Dayton Flyers representing the Atlantic 10. After starting the season 1-2, the Flyers have won 29 straight and sit at 28-2, holding first place in their conference and the third seed in the country. The Flyers also have a lot of depth, with four players averaging above 10 points. They are led by second-year forward Obi Toppin who averages 19.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. Dayton is not a usual contender, though the chemistry and their unique roster could give them a strong shot at the title.
March Madness is consistently one of the hardest sports competitions to predict, which is one of the best things about it. Even if these four teams do end up as the No. 1 seeds, there have been countless first seeds knocked out of the tournament early. In the coming weeks, the conference tournaments will commence and teams will start to secure their spot in the big bracket; it’ll be exciting to see how these predictions line up.