The latest March Madness 2018 discussions have started up as the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed just hours ago. There weren’t any major surprises in terms of the top seeds, but when it came to teams that were on the bubble, that’s where the intrigue begins. Among the teams making it into this year’s field are two teams that are surprise entries, as the Oklahoma Sooners and Syracuse Orange both had iffy resumes ahead of selection Sunday. A few of the bubble teams missing out are squads from the Pac-12 and Big 12, who both seemed deserving of spots in this year’s dance.
According to USA Today, while Virginia grabbed the No. 1 overall seed, the biggest NCAA bracket surprise is that the No. 1 team may not have the easiest path. They’ll be in the South region, while Villanova Wildcats, one of the other four No. 1 seeds is in the East. It’s being said that the Wildcats may not have to worry about any teams until they get into the Sweet Sixteen. Meanwhile, Virginia has a potential second-round game against Creighton or Kansas State. They also will face either Kentucky or Arizona should they reach the Sweet Sixteen.
The other two No. 1 seeds in this year’s field of 68 teams will be the Kansas Jayhawks in the Midwest and Xavier Musketeers in the West. Kansas opens with a first-round matchup against Pennsylvania, while Xavier will play the winner of the North Carolina Coastal vs. Texas Southern game this coming week. Kansas could eventually play against Michigan State, Duke, or Auburn in their bracket. Xavier has the potential for a meeting with No. 4 Gonzaga, No. 3 Michigan, or No. 2 North Carolina, as well as a team that Charles Barkley called his sleeper in the region, the No. 6 seed Houston Cougars.
The hot debates arrive with regards to a few teams that made it in, and those who didn’t. Both the Oklahoma Sooners and Syracuse Orange were announced as teams in the “Big Dance.” The Orange have a questionable resume when it comes to qualifying, while a team that didn’t make it in, St. Mary’s, finished out the season ranked No. 23 in the basketball poll.
Arizona State is another surprise team that gained entry into the field of 68. They were reportedly put into this year’s tournament based on their earlier “quality wins,” one of which was against No. 1 seed Kansas. The Sun Devils open up tournament play against Syracuse in a “First Four” game in the next few days.
Oklahoma, along with NBA prospect Trae Young, also made it into the field, while the USC Trojans did not. USC advanced all the way to the Pac-12 Championship game but fell to Arizona on Saturday night. It was mentioned by committee chair Bruce Rasmussen that Oklahoma also had the early quality wins needed to get in.
The Sooners will be a No. 10 seed taking on a tough No. 7 seed Rhode Island in the Midwest region. The winner will potentially play the Duke Blue Devils in the second round. Meanwhile, the Sooners’ in-state rivals, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, did not get into the Big Dance, despite several big wins over conference powerhouse teams this season.
With that said, March Madness 2018 will soon begin. Games for the “First Four” will take place in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. The first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 15, so get those bracket predictions ready.