Inside the Bracket: No. 1 seed scenarios …
Kentucky will be the No. 1 overall seed. The only question – for weeks now, really – is whether the Wildcats will be in the South or Midwest. Geographically, St. Louis (Midwest) is a few miles closer, but it’s a small enough margin not to matter much. The South is UK’s more natural region. This is where North Carolina comes into play. Winning the outright ACC title and reaching the ACC tournament final means the Tar Heels should be the third No. 1 seed. UNC is an obvious fit for the South Region.
Here are the other considerations: If the committee has decided that the Michigan State – Ohio State winner today (Big Ten championship) will be a No. 1 seed, this affects the bracket. Either MSU or OSU will be No. 4 on the s-curve and be fourth in the Region pecking order – meaning a trip West. If, however, the committee has decided that Kansas/Missouri will be the fourth No. 1 seed regardless of the Big Ten outcome, then MSU or OSU will be two seeds. In this case, one of Missouri/Kansas will be West and one will be in the St. Louis location. The committee can balance the regions with the three or four seeds.
How will it shake out?
Missouri’s weak non-conference strength-of-schedule (No. 294 at collegerpi.com) will probably keep the Tigers as a two-seed. Kansas, the Big 12 regular season champ, lost to Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals. Normally, not a big deal. But both Michigan State and Ohio State have been projected as top seeds this season – and the Big Ten is a deeper league overall.
Will the starting time of the Big Ten title game be a factor? We may not know until 5:30 (or after) today whether Michigan State or Ohio State wins. From a bracketing standpoint, this isn’t a huge deal as both are from the same conference. It becomes an either-or scenario, and the winner is just plugged into the appropriate slot.
Here’s our take in order: Kentucky (Midwest), Syracuse (East), North Carolina (South), Michigan State/Ohio State (West). The two line: Kansas (West), Missouri (Midwest), Michigan State/Ohio State (South), Duke (East).
Enjoy Selection Sunday. Our final bracket projection will be posted later this afternoon. Then the debate ends and the Madness begins.