NCAA Basketball Bracket 2018: Latest Bracketology Before Selection Sunday

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2018

Kyle Guy and Virginia are almost certain to go into the NCAA tournament as the top overall seed.
Kyle Guy and Virginia are almost certain to go into the NCAA tournament as the top overall seed.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The full 68-team field for the men's NCAA Tournament will be announced Sunday, and while a number of the bottom slots have yet to be determined, the top seeds may already be decided.

Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier appear set to be named as the top seeds, with ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi listing them as such. That is not likely to change before the announcements are made.

Here's a look at the teams that appear to have the best chance of winning the championship, along with betting odds, per OddsShark.

Virginia +600
Villanova +600
Duke +600
Michigan State +700
Purdue +1,200
Michigan +1,200
Kansas +1,600
Arizona +2,000
Xavier +2,000
North Carolina +2,000
Florida +2,000
Cincinnati +2,000
Tennessee +2,000
Wichita State +2,500
West Virginia +2,500
Gonzaga +2,500
Texas Tech +2,500
Kentucky +4,000
Texas A&M +4,000
Ohio State +4,000

Virginia is the No. 1 team in the nation, receiving all the votes in both the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll. Many of the top basketball observers have called this a wide-open tournament because it appears a number of teams have a great opportunity to win.

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.Steve Helber/Associated Press/Associated Press

The Virginia Cavaliers have been the strongest and most consistent team in the nation. They won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title by four games and advanced to the ACC tournament championship game by outlasting Clemson 64-58 on Friday.

Whether or not they are victorious in Saturday's title game against North Carolina, there is little doubt they will be the No. 1 overall seed. Virginia has a dominating defense under head coach Tony Bennett, and while that has been the case for several seasons, they appear even stronger this year. The Cavaliers are allowing 52.9 points per game, and that ranks first in the nation.

Virginia is not close to an explosive offensive team, as the Cavaliers average 67.5 points per game. However, they have done an excellent job of scoring at key moments. Kyle Guy is averaging a team-high 14.0 points per game, and he is getting support from Devon Hall and Ty Jerome, who are both averaging in double figures.

Bennett's team has been strong all season, and the coach believes his team plays consistently every night.

"This is a complete group," Bennett said Friday, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "Their unity is as good as any as I've ever coached. They're relentless the way they play, and that's the way we have to play to be good."

While Virginia is at the top of the spectrum, teams like St. Mary's, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are fighting to stay inside the tournament bubble, according to Lunardi, while Louisville, Notre Dame, Baylor and Oklahoma State are just on the outside.

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

Friars complete the comeback! Providence erases a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat No. 3 Xavier 75-72 in OT for a spot in the #BIGEASThoops Finals! https://t.co/FKQMCFCezy

Providence, UCLA and USC appear to be in the tournament, and while those teams are likely to be double-digit seeds, they may be dangerous.

The Friars made a move to cement their position with a 75-72 victory over potential No. 1 seed Xavier Friday in the Big East tournament Friday. Providence rallied from a 17-point deficit, led by Rodney Bullock and Alpha Diallo, who both scored 17 points against the Musketeers.

Bullock is averaging 14.1 points per game to lead the Friars, while Bullock is scoring 12.5 points per game. Kyron Cartwright is also playing a key role, as he averages 11.5 points per game.

UCLA is led by Aaron Holiday, who is averaging 20.5 points per game, and he is getting support from Kris Wilkes, who is scoring 13.9 points per night.

The Trojans suffered through a three-game losing streak at the start of February, but they have performed well since then. They won six of their next seven games and will meet Arizona in the Pac-12 title game Saturday. 

Chimezie Metu, Bennie Boatwright, Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart are all averaging in double figures, and the Trojans are a solid offensive team, averaging 77.7 points per game.


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