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An overview of March Madness, so far

Article is accurate as of 3/15

March Madness are the two greatest words for a fan of college basketball. 68 of the best college basketball teams play in a single elimination tournament to decide who is the best of the best. Any team can win in March, so let’s take a look at the top seeds in each region and some of the potential sleepers.

Alabama was named the highest overall seed of the tournament, led by AP All-American Brandon Miller. After getting upset in the first round of last year’s tournament, the Crimson Tide is looking to make a run in a difficult southern region. They are one of 10 Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools to make the NCAA Tournament. 

Baylor got upset as a No. 1 seed in last year’s tournament by North Carolina in the round of 32. This year the Bears look to redeem themselves, led by their trio of All-Big 12 guards Adam Flagler, Keyonte George and LJ Cryer. Baylor finished the season fourth in the Big 12 and was named the No. 3 seed. The experience and guard play makes Baylor a team no one wants to play against.

Every year in March Madness, a lower seed goes on a Cinderella run, upsetting the higher seeds and busting brackets. Some teams to look out for in the South include No. 6 Creighton, led by talented All-Big East center Ryan Kalkbrenner. No. 13 Furman’s high-powered offense has the ability to score against anyone.

AP All-American Zach Edey and Purdue are the top seed in the stacked East region. Edey, a front-runner for AP Player of the Year, is a dominant interior force averaging 22.3 points per game on 60% efficiency. After winning the Big East tournament, Marquette was awarded the No. 2 seed in the region. Kansas State’s All-American duo of Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell led them to a 24-9 record, earning the Wildcats a No. 3 seed. 

The Tennessee Volunteers lost their star point guard Zakai Zeigler in a game against Arkansas earlier in the year, so many people question how far they can go in the tournament. Their strong regular season performance made them a No. 4 seed and the Volunteers are still a formidable opponent. No. 5 Duke enters the tournament on a nine-game winning streak and is one of the best defensive teams in the country. The ACC tournament champions are led by ACC Freshman of the Year Kyle Filipowski.

Like always, Kentucky has a talented roster that is very well-coached and built for March Madness. Oscar Tshiebwe, last year’s AP Player of the Year and current first-team All-American and All-SEC center, is one of the best rebounders in the country, with averages of 13.5 rebounds per game to go along with 16.2 points per game. 

After a Sweet Sixteen run in the 2021 tournament as a No. 15 seed, Oral Roberts has become a fan favorite and many people pencil them in as a team to go on a Cinderella run. Summit Player of the Year Max Abmas is a dynamic scorer, and when he is playing well, the Golden Eagles can compete with anyone. They do face an uphill battle as they were unfortunately paired with Duke as the No. 12 seed in the region.

31-3 Houston is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region. A nagging hamstring injury to All-American guard Marcus Sasser is concerning, but when Houston is healthy, they are one of the highestscoring and best teams in the country. Texas, who won the Big 12 tournament, are the No. 2 seed led by talented All-SEC guard Marcus Carr and SEC Sixth Man of the Year Sir’Jabari Rice. The duo combined for 29 points per game, leading the Longhorns to a 26-8 record. 

No. 4 Indiana has a very good team, but having one of the best players in the country, Trayce Jackson-Davis, makes this team elite. The All-American senior put up 20.8 points per game and led the Hoosiers to a Big Ten championship game. Penn State, who beat Indiana to win the Big Ten Championship, and Missouri Valley conference champions Drake are popular underdogs to make a run.

Last year’s national champions Kansas Jayhawks are the final No. 1 seed in the West region. First Team All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year Jalen Wilson, along with All-Big 12 teammates Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar Jr. led the Jayhawks to a record of 27-7 and look to repeat as champions.

Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaime Jaquez and All-Pac-12 guard Tyger Campbell look to help UCLA win a national title for the first time since 1995. The Bruins have made it to at least the Sweet Sixteen the past three tournaments, and as a No. 2 seed, it looks like the tradition will continue. An injury to Pac-12 DPOY Jaylen Clark that ends his season is concerning, but UCLA does have bench depth such as talented freshman Amari Bailey to make a strong run in the tourney.

Gonzaga has now made 24 consecutive tournament appearances and has yet to win a championship. All-American center Drew Timme leads the Bulldogs in points, rebounds, assists and blocks. Timme and All-WCC guard Julian Strawther are a formidable offensive duo that led the Zags to a No. 3 seed. Arkansas and Illinois face each other in the 8-9 matchup of the first round, but either one of those teams could be a problem for one of the higher seeds.

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