With Selection Sunday a week away, the top seeds for each region are coming into focus. With only the conference tournaments remaining for the contenders, championship week will determine which teams will be placed in the drivers' seats come tournament time.
Here are my predictions for the top seeds in each of the four regions:
The Orange would seem to have this region on lock. Even if they were to lose in their first game in the Big East tournament, the only way they could be challenged for the top spot is if the committee feels that both Duke and UNC have earned top seeds.
That would require both to progress through the ACC tournament and play a close game in the championship. The winner would likely grab the Southeast top seed, while the loser would have a slim chance to steal it from Syracuse.
The likelihood of the Orange dropping their first game to DePaul, UConn or West Virginia is not very high.
The Orange will be the top seed.
Confidence Meter: 9.5 out of 10
With no real quality teams on the west coast, we're force to make our way across the country from left to right to find contenders for the top seed out west.
The Kansas Jayhawks are in control right now, but their hold is not as firm as Syracuse in the East. At 26-5, they are looking good, but they face potentially tough games in the Big 12 tournament.
Baylor or Kansas St. would await them if they beat the winner of Oklahoma and Texas A&M, as expected. A rematch with the tough Missouri Tigers is likely awaiting them in the Big 12 tournament final.
The Tigers also represent their stiffest competition for the top spot out west. They split the season series so a conference-title matchup would be the rubber match.
Missouri is 27-4, and they have been impressive all year. If they reach the Big 12 title game and win it, they will be the top seed out West.
A sleeper here is Baylor. The Bears stumbled a bit in Big 12 play, but if Kansas and Missouri falter in championship week, the Bears could win the conference tournament.
They would have a case based on the postseason tournament and geography.
Missouri is my pick to earn the top spot, as I think they will knock off Kansas in the tournament final.
Confidence Meter: 7 out of 10
The Kentucky Wildcats have the Midwest region locked down. They could even lose their first game in the SEC tournament and still be the top seed. Kentucky will likely blow through the SEC tournament, just as they have the last month of the regular season.
Missouri, Kansas and Michigan State are so far in the rear view, there isn't enough time for the Wildcats to fall far enough off to be caught.
Kentucky claims this spot easily.
Confidence Meter: 10 out of 10
This is primarily between North Carolina and Duke. The ACC Championship could decide who gets the top seed. With the Orange possessing a strangle hold on the East region, it stands to reason the Tar Heels and Blue Devils will battle it out for this region.
They split the season series with the Tar Heels' blow out victory over Duke on Saturday. Now, if they meet again in the ACC tournament, just like the Big 12 final, it will be the rubber match.
My pick here is Duke, these two teams are so evenly matched, they really do need a series to determine the better team. Duke will win the third game, and grab the top seed.
Confidence Meter: 7 out of 10
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