Shortly after Kentucky defeated Alabama in the SEC Tournament, the Selection Committee revealed that as many as six teams are still in the running for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
#Selections Update: There are as many as six different teams in the running for a 1 seed. pic.twitter.com/ibCaOADprO— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 11, 2017
The obvious teams in the running would be Kansas and Villanova, who are all but locked into one of the four top seeds. Gonzaga is also among them, though their case for a 1 seed isn’t quite as strong, but they’ll likely get one.
The real debate comes for that fourth and final spot, which was North Carolina’s to lose this week, but they lost to Duke in their second ACC Tournament game. That’s allowed other teams to potentially steal that final spot, and it sounds like the Selection Committee has two teams in mind to do so.
One of them is almost certainly Oregon, who is playing for a Pac-12 Championship tonight against a top-10 Arizona team. If the Ducks win that game, they probably deserve that final 1 seed.
As for the other team vying for that 1 seed, it’s probably Kentucky, being that they have won 10 straight and enter Selection Sunday at 28-5.
Even so, Kentucky has almost no hope at earning that 1 seed if they don’t win the SEC Championship game, which comes just hours before the selection committee announces the field of 68.
That would theoretically affect the committee’s ability to seed Kentucky before their game has concluded, but it sounds like they have a solution:
NCAA basketball committee chair Mark Hollis says games played Sunday will impact seeding. Will have multiple bracket contingencies in place.— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) March 11, 2017
If that’s the case and Kentucky can win the Sunday, it sounds like they may have a 1 seed waiting for them, though they probably need Oregon to lose tonight for it to happen.
So to recap, if both Kentucky and Oregon win their conference title games, I think the Ducks get that final 1 seed.
But if Oregon loses and Kentucky wins, the Cats have a great shot at getting it. If they both lose, North Carolina gets it, and it’s not out of the question the Heels get it regardless of what Oregon and Kentucky do.