NCAA Basketball Tournament 2013: Biggest Threats to Top Seeds After Round of 64

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2013

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 23:  Tim Hardaway Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts in the second half against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 23, 2013 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A top seed in the NCAA basketball tournament theoretically means the easiest road to the Final Four in the region. However, that doesn't mean those top seeds get a pass. Nothing is guaranteed in this tournament.

As the field narrows from 64 all the way down to the last four, the competition only gets tougher and No. 1 seeds can expect everyone's best effort. Every David wants to be the first team to end a Goliath's run.

Now that top seeds got past their gimme-game, they'll have to make sure they execute from here on out. Here are the biggest threats to end the top seeds runs in each of the four regions.



Top Seed: Louisville

Biggest Threat: No. 2 Duke Blue Devils

The Cardinals were the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament, but you'd never know that from their draw.

A trap game against No. 8 seed Colorado State is up next for Rick Pitino's squad. They also have to worry about Saint Louis or Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen.

The real challenge though is Duke. The Blue Devils may be the best No. 2 seed in the whole tournament. They went 9-2 against the RPI top 50 in the regular season and sport a 6-1 record in neutral-court games.

Throw in the fact that they also hold a victory over Louisville in the regular season and there's an argument to be made that Duke is the best team in the Midwest region.



Top Seed: Gonzaga

Biggest Threat: No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes

The good news for Gonzaga is that they'll either be playing a 12 or 13 seed to get to the Elite Eight if they can get past Wichita State in the round of 32.

The West region has been the most crazy thus far, and it's set top seeds Gonzaga and Ohio State on a collision course. Judging by the two team's opening games, you'd have to give the edge to the Buckeyes at this point.

Gonzaga struggled to separate themselves from the Southern Jaguars in their first game. The Buckeyes came out and executed a nearly flawless game with a 95-70 win over Iona.

Both teams have a fairly cleared path to the Elite Eight. Gonzaga will need to show it can pull things together in its next few games if it wants to show it can handle DeShaun Thomas and Ohio State.



Top Seed: Kansas

Biggest Threat: No. 4 Michigan Wolverines

Kansas is technically the favorite to win the region by seeding, but the Wolverines are the team no one wants to play.

Michigan was the first team to punch its ticket to the Sweet Sixteen. Its convincing 25-point win over Virginia Commonwealth was one of the best team performances from anyone in this tournament. The Wolverines have been loaded and dangerous all season, and they appear to be getting hot at just the right time.

As Chad Ford of ESPN points out, the Wolverines are capable of beating anyone when their stars are playing well.


If Michigan can bottle up their effort and tenacity that they played with against VCU, Kansas is in deep trouble.



Top Seed: Indiana

Biggest Threat: No. 4 Syracuse Orange

The Hoosiers breezed right through James Madison in the round of 64. Looking at their round of 32 matchup against Temple, they should be a heavy favorite in that matchup too.

Assuming they don't have a catastrophically bad performance against the Owls, things will really start getting interesting for the Hoosiers in the Sweet Sixteen. The No. 4 seed Orange got hot in the Big East tournament and put on one of the most dominant performances in the round of 64.

The Orange's 2-3 zone can cause any team problems. If anyone is going to give Cody Zeller issues on the inside, it will be Syracuse.

If Indiana wants to cash in on their high seeding with a Final Four appearance, finding a way to cool off Syracuse will be crucial.


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