NCAA Bracket 2012: Breaking Down Each No. 1 Seed's Path to National Title

MichaelContributor IIMarch 12, 2012

NCAA Bracket 2012: Breaking Down Each No. 1 Seed's Path to National Title

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    The suspense is gone.

    Well, there wasn't much suspense when it came to the No. 1 seeds, but it still is an extremely interesting field this year.

    Historically, the Final Four does not feature all four No. 1 seeds, so this year we have to plan for these situations.

    Who has the easiest path to the final? Who has the hardest? Which No. 1 seed will go down first? Is there a chance a 1-seed won't make it past the Sweet 16?

    All these questions are going to be analyzed in this slideshow, so sit back and take a look at Michael Pietrzak's Bracketology 101—No. 1 seeds.


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    The Kentucky Wildcats earned the No. 1 overall seed in this year's NCAA tournament despite their loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC title game.

    With a boatload of freshman talent, the Wildcats have been described as inexperienced and erratic at times, but this overall No. 1 seed helps them out tremendously.

    They are in the South Region with Duke and Baylor as the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively.

    Clearly, Duke showed its weaknesses against North Carolina and Florida State late in the season.

    Although no one should ever doubt a Coach K team, this year just seems different.

    As for Baylor, I cannot pinpoint their potential.

    This team upset Kansas in the Big 12 tournament but then got torched by Missouri.

    The Bears have a chance to do some damage if they play consistently, but that is their biggest question mark.

    Besides the top two challengers to Kentucky, the Wildcats will also have to go through Indiana and possibly a few mid-majors.

    Their Final Four opponent seems to be beatable, as well. Michigan State, Missouri and Marquette are the top three seeds that have the best chance of escaping their regions.

    Overall, Kentucky has a good path to the final.


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    The East Region in the 2012 NCAA tournament has Syracuse as its No. 1 seed.

    The Orange, who fell to Cincinnati in the Big East tournament, seem to have the toughest road out of all the No. 1 seeds.

    With Ohio State, Florida State, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt as the top five seeds along with the Orange, Syracuse will have to play their best basketball of the season to survive.

    Along with those four teams, the No. 6 seed in the East happens to be Cincinnati.

    A possible Elite Eight matchup between the two would be intriguing to say the least, but to get there will be a difficult challenge for both teams.

    If they make it out of the East, they will most likely play UNC, Kansas or Georgetown, each of which would be a difficult matchup.

    Due to the opposing teams in the East Region and the Midwest Region, Syracuse looks to be the No. 1 seed that could be the first knocked out.

North Carolina

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    North Carolina had the best record in the ACC throughout the regular season, and that was good enough for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

    The Tar Heels are extremely talented with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall and have a good enough bench to get back to the final.

    The only problem for UNC is its competition.

    As the season showed us, North Carolina is a streaky team that can beat the best but lose to mediocre competition.

    With Kansas and Georgetown in their region, the Tar Heels need to take it one game at a time and try to rest John Henson's wrist as much as possible.

    If Henson is fully healthy, this team has championship potential.

    Overall, UNC should be the favorite to come out of this region and, if they play consistent basketball, possibly make an appearance in the final.

    Their potential Final Four matchup could be against Syracuse, Ohio State or Florida State, all of whom have the talent to beat any team in the nation.

Michigan State

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    Sparty is an interesting No. 1 seed.

    Picked to be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed at best, Michigan State ran the table and took the Big Ten tournament crown from Ohio State.

    Draymond Green powered this team all season and created problems for many opponents.

    With momentum on their side, the Spartans should be a popular pick to make a run to the final, right?

    In my opinion, that statement is wrong.

    Michigan State has to go through Missouri or Marquette, along with possible early matchups against Memphis or Louisville.

    This road for Sparty will be tough and it may catch up to them by the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

    I enjoy watching this team play and watching Tom Izzo coach these men, but unfortunately Michigan State's road to the final is extremely difficult.

    Even if they get out of their Region, they will have possible matchups against Kentucky or Duke.

    Never count them out, but I have my doubts.