NCAA Brackets 2013: Power Ranking No. 1 Seeds Still in the Field

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 23: Russ Smith #2 of the Louisville Cardinals walks on the court in the first half against the Colorado State Rams during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena on March 23, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Four started and only three remain.

Long the most criticized top seed in the tournament, Gonzaga bowed out of the tournament after a loss to Wichita State. The Shockers outplayed what had been and continued to be a sluggish Bulldogs team.

Last year, the top seeds all advanced to the Sweet 16, with only two making it to the Elite Eight. Despite having what is supposed to be the easiest route to the title, advancing deep in the Big Dance often proves a difficult task for even the most skilled teams.

Two of the remaining No. 1 seeds have looked extremely vulnerable. All of this season's work could be undone with one poor night on the floor. But that's the beauty of the tournament.

Here is how each of the three No. 1 seeds rank in terms of going all the way.


3. Kansas Jayhawks

Jeff Withey has been a beast in this tournament. He played well against Western Kentucky, but that should have been expected against an overmatched Hilltoppers team. It was his performance against North Carolina that raised eyebrows. In the second half, Withey made the difference against the Tar Heels.

Roy Williams simply had no answer for the big man at either end of the court. Withey finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.

The bigger problem for Kansas has been Ben McLemore. He's gone a combined 2-of-14 for 13 points in the Jayhawks' two wins. This is the time for a team's star player to step up and make himself into a March legend. Instead, McLemore has withered in the spotlight. Kansas won't go far if it can't rely on its top scorer.


2. Indiana Hoosiers

The Indiana Hoosiers need to find their shooting stroke. They were one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country coming into the tournament. That skill has largely been absent in Indiana's tournament games. The Hoosiers have picked the worst possible time to go cold from the floor.

Having Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller is great, but so much of the Hoosiers' game is knocking down three-pointers. If Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford can't contribute in a positive way, there's no way the team can get out of this region.

Sooner or later a team will make Indiana pay for its failure to knock down long-range shots.


1. Louisville Cardinals

It seems unfair that the overall No. 1 seeds, the Louisville Cardinals, have what is arguably the toughest road to the Final Four. They've got an extremely hot Oregon Ducks team in the Sweet 16. Should Rick Pitino guide his team to the Elite Eight, it would have a date with either Duke or Michigan State. Both the Blue Devils and Spartans are looking very good as well.

It's hard to argue that Louisville hasn't been the best No. 1 seed in this tournament. The Cardinals have won their first two games by a combined 57 points.

With Russ Smith, they also have the kind of player who can take a game over by himself. There have been few exceptional players across the college landscape, so Smith is of a rare breed in 2013.



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