Looking for some bracket tips from of a college basketball expert? Looking to find that under-the-radar team that will explode onto the national stage with some big wins this weekend? Here are four No. 1 seeds capable of making some noise in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Villanova: The defending champion Wildcats have authored a tremendous follow-up season. They went 31-3 while winning the Big East regular season and conference tournament. They sit at No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches polls and are No. 2 in KenPom. Josh Hart (18.9 ppg), a viable National Player of the Year candidate, and Jalen Brunson provide skill and experience in the backcourt. Kris Jenkins already has one of the biggest shots in basketball history to his name. Jay Wright’s calm, steady approach sets a confident tone. Villanova excels in tight games thanks to a brutally efficient offense and a Top-15 defense. They also shoot a blistering 79.4 percent as a team from the line. Don’t be surprised to see them squeak into the Sweet 16.
Kansas: The Jayhawks raced to their 13th consecutive Big 12 crown. Frank Mason (20.6 ppg) and Josh Jackson (16.4) provide the scoring punch. As a team, they shoot 40.5 percent from beyond the arc. Bill Self’s crew has been extremely good in close games this year when tested. If UC Davis gets past North Carolina Central on Wednesday night, that’d be a favorable matchup for Kansas with a trip to the second round on the line. Once there, they could make a little noise against the Miami-MSU winner.
Gonzaga: Sure, they play in a small conference, but the Zags have just one loss on their ledger. Along the way, Mark Few’s team has vanquished tournament foes Florida, Iowa State, Arizona, and St. Mary’s. They are No. 2 in both polls and No. 1 in KenPom. They boast the No. 2 defense and are top-10 in offensive efficiency. Nigel Williams-Goss is a stat-sheet stuffer, and Przemek Karnowski provides girth and length down low. The Bulldogs will be present a significant challenge for South Dakota State and either Northwestern or Vanderbilt. Probably worth taking a flier on them reaching the Regional Final.
North Carolina: Don’t sleep on Roy Williams’ Tar Heels to make it back to the Final Four. Nate Britt quarterbacks an offense capable of scoring from the perimeter and banging inside. Swingman Justin Jackson (18.1 ppg) has a fantastic game and is smooth as slick. Kennedy Meeks is a load down low. North Carolina is the fourth-most efficient scoring team in the nation and won a very tough ACC.