The NCAA Selection Committee awarded the overall No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers with a trip to the South Region with the possibility of heading to Atlanta for the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, should they win their first two games. We know how the South looks. The Arizona Wildcats, the Kentucky Wildcats, and the Tennessee Volunteers all are formidable opponents that could be in the way of the Cavaliers on the road to the Final Four. But how does this compare to the other regions? Does any one of them
In the West region, while top-seeded Xavier seemingly got easier 4/5 seeds in Gonzaga and Ohio State, the Musketeers would have to get through the Fightin’ Michael Porter Jrs, or the most underachieving super-athletes of Florida State. Not to mention, Xavier’s 2-seed is North Carolina, and the 3-seed is Big Ten Tournament champion, Michigan.
In this writer’s opinion, Kansas has the easiest road to the Elite 8 among the one seeds. Fourth-seeded Auburn and fifth-seed Clemson are both playing with injuries to one of their top players and struggled down the stretch. However, the Jayhawks might have the best pair of 2- and 3-seeds in the bracket with Duke and Michigan State. Let us also all take a moment to thank the Selection Committee for putting the Spartans almost literally as far away from UVa as possible.
In the East, Villanova is the other favorite to reach the title game and play Virginia—not surprising, since Nova is the No. 2 overall seed. They’ll have to get through either Virginia Tech or Alabama to make it to the second weekend. Collin Sexton vs. Villanova could be a fun game to watch. West Virginia and Wichita State are the 4/5 matchup paired with Nova. Everyone remembers the Mountaineers beating Virginia in December, but could they replicate that against the Wildcats? On the bottom half of the East bracket, Purdue, Texas Tech, and Florida all have legitimate shots to reach the Elite 8. Purdue was considered one of the top teams in the country before dropping three straight in February and losing to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game.
All in all, Virginia got a pretty even bracket like much of the other brackets. Yes, the eye test says Arizona and Kentucky might be the hardest 4/5, but Cincinnati and Tennessee could be argued as the weakest 2/3.
One thing is certain though, March is here, and the madness is coming.