The bracket has officially been released for the 2013 NCAA tournament (printable version here). We're already analyzing matchups and poring over predictions.
And this year, like every year, we're all dreaming of that "perfect" bracket.
However, part of the problem with picking that perfect bracket is that the high-seeded teams—the ones we're often banking on to progress to the next round with ease—disappoint.
Maybe they end up getting embarrassed in the round of 64, or maybe they just don't win the close game we thought they would. Either way, they just end up disappointing and leaving us with a less-than-perfect bracket.
This year, however, can be different. This can be the year where high-seeded teams won't disappoint, as long as you know which top teams are locks in 2013.
Read on to find out three teams you can have full confidence in this year.
Miami Hurricanes (No. 2 seed, East region)
Miami comes into the NCAA tournament as the No. 2 seed in the East. The Hurricanes have a somewhat difficult schedule. They should cruise through their first game against Pacific, but the Illinois Fighting Illini could be a tough matchup, and their Sweet 16 game against Marquette or Butler might also cause them some problems.
However, given what they've done in 2013, it's hard to see Miami as anything other than a lock for at least the Sweet 16 in March Madness.
The Hurricanes have one of the most complete inside and outside combinations in the tournament this year. Coupled with their tough defense, they're a very tough team to beat.
Had it not been for a handful of losses in the final few games of the year, Miami could very well have earned themselves a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Yet as it stands, even with the No. 2 seed, expect the ACC tournament champions to be absolute locks through the first few rounds this year.
Ohio State Buckeyes (No. 2 seed, West region)
Any team that has Deshaun Thomas starting for them is going to be a tough team to beat, and Ohio State will prove it this year.
Thomas is a legitimate star who hasn't scored in single digits all season. He'll lead the Buckeyes well in the tournament.
Ohio State emerged as the champions from a difficult Big Ten tournament (and regular-season schedule), and if they can do that, then they'll win through easily here. They're due to play Iona in the round of 64 and then probably Notre Dame in the round of 32—which, given what we've seen from them this year, shouldn't be too much of a problem for the Buckeyes.
Louisville Cardinals (No. 1 seed, Midwest region)
Just putting it out there now—if you have Louisville as anything other than a Sweet 16 lock, then you really need to take another look at your bracket picks.
This team is not only a sure thing to make it that far, they're one of the top contenders for the title this year.
Their offense is explosive at its best, and their defense continues to force turnovers whenever they have the opportunity. Moreover, with players like Russ Smith on board, the Cardinals could very easily chalk up a big lead in a short amount of time and put their opponents to bed.
Louisville will play the winner of Colorado State and Missouri in the round of 32, but neither should cause them too many issues. Their first big test looms as Saint Louis in the regional semifinals, though you'd still expect the Cardinals to emerge from that one with a win also.
Look for this team to be a top contender at the overall title this year. You can definitely bank on them being an early-round lock in the 2013 tournament.
Which top seeds do you think are early-round locks in March Madness 2013?
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