March Madness 2019: 68 NCAA Tournament Team Field Revealed on Selection Sunday

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2019

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 05: \(L-R) Cam Reddish #2, Javin DeLaurier #12, RJ Barrett #5 and Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils huddle during their game against the Boston College Eagles at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 05, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 80-55. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Before the madness can truly begin, the selection committee had to lay out the full 68-team field for the 2019 NCAA tournament.

The tournament brackets were revealed Sunday during CBS' broadcast. Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga will occupy the four No. 1 seeds, with the Blue Devils the top overall seed in the tourney.

Here's the full bracket for the Big Dance, followed by three questions to follow over the next month.


Full Bracket

East Region

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

East Region: 🔹No. 1 Duke-No. 16 NC Central/N Dakota State 🔹No. 8 VCU- No. 9 UCF 🔹No. 5 Miss State-No. 12 Liberty 🔹No. 4 V Tech-No. 13 St. Louis 🔹No. 6 Maryland-No. 11 Belmont/Temple 🔹No. 3 LSU-No. 14 Yale 🔹No. 7 Louisville-No. 10 MN 🔹No. 2 MSU-No. 15 Bradley https://t.co/UwuljDW7DV


South Region

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

South Region: 🔹No. 1 UVA-No. 16 Gardner-Webb 🔹No. 8 Ole Miss-No. 9 Oklahoma 🔹No. 5 Wisconsin-No. 12 Oregon 🔹No. 4 KSU-No. 13 UC Irvine 🔹No. 6 Nova-No. 11 Saint Mary’s 🔹No. 3 Purdue-No. 14 Old Dominion 🔹No. 7 Cincinnati-No. 10 Iowa 🔹No. 2 Tenn- No. 15 Colgate https://t.co/jPZ59BI51M


Midwest Region

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Midwest Region: 🔹No. 1 UNC- No. 16 Iona 🔹No. 8 Utah St-No. 9 UW 🔹No. 5 Auburn-No. 12 New Mexico St 🔹No. 4 KU-No. 13 Northeastern 🔹No. 6 Iowa St-No. 11 OSU 🔹No. 3 Houston-No. 14 Georgia St. 🔹No. 7 Wofford-No. 10 Seton Hall 🔹No. 2 UK-No. 15 Abilene Christian https://t.co/QllGqhX2Gm


West Region

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

West Region: 🔹No. 1 Zags-No. 16 F Dickinson/PV A&M 🔹No. 8 ‘Cuse-No. 9 Baylor 🔹No. 5 Marquette-No. 12 Murray St. 🔹No. 4 FSU-No. 13 UVM 🔹No. 6 Buffalo-No. 11 ASU/St. John’s 🔹No. 3 Texas Tech-No. 14 N Kentucky 🔹No. 7 Nevada-No. 10 Florida 🔹No. 2 MICH- No. 15 Montana https://t.co/lUVir2Jsu0


Storylines to Watch

Does a Healthy Zion Williamson Make Duke All but Unbeatable Again?

Zion Williamson missed Duke's final five games of the regular season after suffering a knee sprain in the Blue Devils' 88-72 loss to North Carolina on Feb. 20. Despite that, he still won the ACC Player and Freshman of the Year awards.

As Williamson was on the brink of his return to the court for the ACC tournament, some wondered whether he was feeling any lingering effects from his knee injury. He answered that question mere minutes into Duke's 84-72 quarterfinals win over Syracuse.

ESPN @espn


Over Duke's three ACC tournament games, Williamson averaged 27.0 points and 10.0 rebounds and shot 76.7 percent from the field.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Zion Williamson averaged 27 PPG and 10 RPG during the ACC Tournament. Zion and Kevin Durant are the only freshman to average at least 25-10 in a conference tourney over the last 20 seasons (min. 3 games) https://t.co/pGnwZaJBkQ

When the freshman phenom was healthy, the Blue Devils got off to a 23-2 start, with their two losses coming by a combined six points.

Duke was relatively vulnerable as Williamson nursed his knee injury, though. It lost to Virginia Tech and North Carolina and narrowly avoided an upset bid by Wake Forest.

Now that Williamson is back to his best, the Blue Devils look to be the clear title favorites heading into the NCAA tournament.


How Far Can Jarrett Culver Carry the Texas Tech Offense?

LUBBOCK, TX - FEBRUARY 27: Jarrett Culver #23 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders shoots the ball over Cameron McGriff #12 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first half of the game on February 27, 2019 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. (Phot
John Weast/Getty Images

Texas Tech is a year removed from reaching the Elite Eight, ranks first in adjusted defense on KenPom.com and ended the regular season on a nine-game winning streak.

A Big 12 quarterfinal defeat to West Virginia doesn't change the fact that the Red Raiders have the pieces to reach the first Final Four in program history.

Texas Tech's offense does offer some reason for skepticism, though. One must look no further than Virginia to see how a defense-first team can come undone in the NCAA tournament. For all of the Cavaliers' regular-season success under head coach Tony Bennett, they have one Elite Eight trip in six tourney appearances.

The Red Raiders are tied for 158th in scoring offense, averaging 73.1 points. Jarrett Culver is their engine on that end of floor, averaging 18.5 points per game. The sophomore guard has put Tech on his back multiple times this year.

His 25 points helped keep Texas Tech within striking distance of Duke in a 69-58 loss on Dec. 20. He had 23 points in the team's 66-59 win over the Oklahoma Sooners on Jan. 8 and 26 points in its 91-62 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on Feb. 23. He closed out the regular season with a 31-point effort as the Red Raiders defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 80-73 on March 9.

Not coincidentally, Culver's efficiency noticeably suffered in his team's losses: 51.4 percent in the Red Raiders' 26 wins and 40.9 percent in their six defeats, according to Sports Reference.

Teams that face Texas Tech in the NCAA tournament would be smart to smother Culver on and off the ball and make the Red Raiders' supporting cast pick up some slack.


Will Another Mid-Major Make a Final Four Run?

OXFORD, OHIO - MARCH 01: CJ Massinburg #5 and Jeremy Harris #2 of the Buffalo Bulls reacts after a play in the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Millett Hall on March 01, 2019 in Oxford, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers were one of the biggest stories of the 2018 NCAA tournament as they advanced to the national semifinals. A year earlier, the Gonzaga Bulldogs reached their first-ever Final Four.

The 2019 tournament field includes plenty of teams that could make it three years in a row that a mid-major earns a Final Four berth.

One could argue whether the AAC and Mountain West technically count as mid-major conferences, but they sit outside the Power Five. Houston has lost just three times and sits 15th overall on KemPom.com. Nevada retained the top three scorers from last year's Sweet 16 squad.

Like Nevada, the Buffalo Bulls are battle-tested in March. They have eight seniors on the roster and remain largely the same group that upset the fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the 2018 tournament.

Considering Buffalo is the sixth seed in the West Region, the Bulls are starting this year's tournament from a much stronger position than they did a year ago.

If you're looking for a bigger underdog, the Wofford Terriers are averaging 83.0 points and making 11.0 three-pointers per game. Senior guard Fletcher Magee, at 20.5 points per game, has the potential to light up an opponent.

Wofford isn't a one-man show, either, with Cameron Jackson and Nathan Hoover averaging 14.6 and 13.3 points, respectively.