NCAA Tournament: Which No. 1 Seed Will Be the First To Fall?

Brian McBrideContributor IMarch 25, 2009

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 22:  DeJuan Blair #45 of the Pittsburgh Panthers reacts between plays against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 22, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The NCAA Tournament picks up again tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. ET, with the No. 1 UConn Huskies taking on the No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers.  Will the Huskies be the first No. 1 seed to go down? I don't think so.

Of all the No. 1 seeds (North Carolina, Louisville, Connecticut, Pitt), UConn has been the most dominant so far, averaging a 41-point margin of victory after the opening weekend. 

In light of today's allegations of recruitment violations, the Huskies will face plenty of media distractions, but a veteran coach like Jim Calhoun will have his team ready to play come Thursday night.

Purdue has been hot of late, excelling beyond what I thought they were capable of, but they will not be advancing to the Elite Eight.  Connecticut is strong in both the front and backcourts, and they will be too overpowering for the reigning Big Ten Tournament champions.

The other No. 1 seed that will absolutely be playing in the Elite Eight is Louisville.  The tournament's No. 1 overall seed was tested against a strong Siena team, but the Cardinals came out on top and will be more prepared because of it.

No. 12 Arizona played very well this past weekend, validating their inclusion in the tournament, but they are too reckless with the ball to compete with a team of Louisville's caliber.  Rick Pitino's Cardinals will be advancing to the Elite Eight.

Neither of the remaining No. 1 seeds, North Carolina or Pitt, are a sure bet to be playing past Friday. 

UNC's point guard and ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson looked stellar in the Tar Heels' victory over No. 8 LSU, with 23 points and six assists.  However, the same toe injury that kept him out of their first round game against No. 16 Radford is still questionable.

Right now, UNC is only as good as Lawson, and No. 4 Gonzaga is stacked with talented guards.  If Lawson's toe slows him down either offensively or defensively, he will be a major liability, and this talented Gonzaga team could come out victorious.

The Pittsburgh Panthers have not dominated the tournament in the way I had expected.  DeJuan Blair has barely been a factor offensively as Pitt has sputtered through their first two victories. 

Blair needs to stay out of foul trouble against a defensively strong No. 4 Xavier team that has held No. 13 Portland State and No. 12 Wisconsin to 59 and 49 points, respectively. 

If Lawson plays well on Friday night, North Carolina will defeat Gonzaga.  If Pitt plays the way they have so far in this tournament, Xavier will get the upset and find themselves in the Elite Eight.

Pitt will be the first No. 1 seed to lose in this year's tournament.