The NCAA tournament bracket has been released and the top seeds have been awarded. Louisville, Kansas, Gonzaga and Indiana all earned the honors following a roller-coaster ride filled with plenty of upsets throughout the way.
With the amount of parity in college basketball this season, the top seeds don't mean as much as they did in other years. There is plenty of talent in each region, with many teams capable of making it to the Final Four.
Here are predictions for the top seeds in each region.
The Cardinals enter the tournament scorching hot after winning the Big East tournament. After winning the tournament, they've now won 13 of their last 14 games. Louisville's last loss was the five-OT thriller against Notre Dame in early February.
Despite receiving the top seed in the tournament, Louisville also shares a bracket with contenders Duke and Michigan State. Heading into the tournament, it seems that the Midwest Region will be the toughest. The Cardinals' swarming defense makes them the favorite against any team in the Region, but it certainly won't be easy.
The Cardinals are just too much to handle on defense. Their well-rounded play on offense also helps to put them over the top. If they continue to play as well as they have over the last month-and-a-half, it will be tough for anybody to take down Louisville.
Prediction: Lose in Final Four
The Jayhawks will need their defense to lead them to the Final Four and a championship. Jeff Withey has been a force in the middle of the defense, with athletic and stingy perimeter defenders around him. In addition to their defense, they have a balanced offense behind Ben McLemore and Elijah Johnson.
The Jayhawks also have a tough region with Michigan, Florida and Georgetown. Any of those teams are capable of beating Kansas and making it to the Final Four. Kansas will have to play its best basketball and can't afford a letdown like earlier in the year.
The team genuinely seems past its missteps of a three-game losing streak in early February; however, the worry and concern that it may happen again definitely remain. The Jayhawks are too talented to let it happen again despite a history of early tournament exits.
The Bulldogs are having one of the best seasons in school history. Becoming the first team in the state of Washington to be the top-ranked team in the nation, the Bulldogs have their sights on making more history and reaching the school's first Final Four.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they just don't have enough firepower or the strength of competition to make it though the West Region. At 7'0", Kelly Olynyk will give many teams problems like he did most of the year. More physical teams, like potential opponents Wisconsin and Ohio State, will likely have more success against the big man.
Gonzaga's run has been remarkable and the success of a non-major conference program is great for college basketball; however, their on-the-court product doesn't translate to a Final Four berth.
Prediction: Lose in the Sweet Sixteen
Indiana is playing its best basketball in years and, on paper, has all the makings off a championship team. The Hoosiers are a balanced team with Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller leading the charge. They are capable of beating teams in a multitude of ways with strong offensive play and solid overall defense.
The biggest weakness thus far for Indiana has been its performance down the stretch of close games. The Hoosiers haven't done a good job of consistently executing and getting the most out of its offense. Their lack of composure toward the end of games is alarming, especially heading into the hostile environment of the NCAA tournament.
While the Hoosiers have the ingredients for a championship team, they lack the experience to make it through the tournament. They are capable of beating anybody in the tournament, but they are also capable of falling apart and losing a game they should have won.
Prediction: Lose in Elite Eight
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