Bracket Watch: ACC finally grabs a No. 1 seed – for now
For the first time since I started publishing these brackets in mid-January, an ACC team – North Carolina – claims the fourth No. 1 seed. The 23-5 Tar Heels displaced 22-5 Baylor, which fell off the top line for the first time all season.
I’d say there’s a decent chance an ACC team remains one of the top seeds come Selection Sunday. The question is whether it will still be North Carolina.
Roy Williams’ team sits alone atop the conference right now at 11-3. But it’s also benefited from what Ken Pomeroy ranks as the ACC’s easiest league schedule to date. That will change soon enough; three of UNC’s last four games are against Top 25 foes Louisville, Virginia and Duke.
If the Tar Heels slip up, 22-5 Louisville is sitting just two spots behind them at No. 6 on my overall seed list, and both 22-6 Florida State and 22-5 Duke aren’t far behind. Neither is a pair of Pac-12 teams, 24-4 Oregon and 25-3 Arizona.
Villanova, Kansas and Gonzaga seem entrenched as the first three No. 1 seeds, but the fourth one should remain up for grabs through the conference tournaments.
A reminder: Selection Sunday is March 12, and the tourney begins March 14. The Final Four is April 1-3 in Phoenix.
* — Denotes projected conference champion, automatic berth
This edition’s bracket is East vs. South and Midwest vs. West in the national semifinals, based on the order of my No. 1 seeds.
|4||West Virginia||at Buffalo|
|7||South Carolina||at Salt Lake City|
|15||Florida Gulf Coast*|
|1||North Carolina*||at Greenville, SC|
|16||North Dakota State*|
|16||UC Irvine*/New Orleans*|
|6||Notre Dame||at Orlando|
|7||Oklahoma State||at Indianapolis|
|1||Gonzaga*||at Salt Lake City|
|16||Texas Southern*/Mount St. Mary’s*|
|6||Saint Mary’s||at Greenville, SC|
|15||Cal State Bakersfield*|
LAST FOUR IN: Seton Hall, TCU, Wake Forest, Cal
FIRST FOUR OUT: Syracuse, Tennessee, Illinois State, Providence
NEXT FOUR OUT: Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Indiana, Alabama
MULTIPLE BID CONFERENCES: ACC (10), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (7), Big East (6), Pac-12 (5), SEC (4), A-10 (2), American (2), WCC (2)