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Arizona and Virginia Could Be in Trouble Against Gonzaga and Memphis, History Says

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Fans of Arizona and Virginia, you’ll want to look away for a moment.

History says that No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament that don’t dominate a 16 seed in the first round don’t fare well way the rest of the way. First, the bad news:

Arizona, a No. 1 seed, beat Weber State, a #16 seed, 68-59 Friday. The Wildcats gave up 13 offensive rebounds, shot 56 percent from the line, and let the Big Sky Tourney champs hang around long enough to make it moderately interesting.

Virginia, a No. 1 seed, was able to pull away from 16th-seeded Costal Carolina to register a 70-59 win. Double digits, at least.

And more bad news, from the Wall Street Journal:

A No. 1 seed struggling with a tournament doormat is an even worse omen. No. 1 seeds that make the Final Four win by an average of 28.5 in the round of 64, compared with 24.8 for all one-seeds. Last year, Gonzaga struggled to put away Southern in its first game and then got bounced in its next game.

Wichita State, the other No. 1 seed playing Sunday, won handily, by 27 points over 16th-seeded Cal Poly. Of course, the Shockers play Kentucky (2:45 pm, CBS), by far the toughest opponent any of the top seeds have to play today. Arizona is in the nightcap (9:40 pm, TNT) against Gonzaga. Virginia plays Memphis at night (8:40 pm, TNT).

 

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