NCAA tournament bracket winners and losers: The teams impacted the most on Selection Sunday
The brackets for the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were announced Sunday night, with SEC teams taking first place in both tournaments. Alabama is first in the men’s tournament and South Carolina is first in the women’s tournament.
Like every year, there were several surprises and intriguing matches in the bracket. Here are the teams that won and lost the most when the fields for each tournament were cleared.
[Free bracket contests for both tourneys | Printable Men’s | Women’s]
Alabama is the best team
Crimson Tide’s landslide win in Sunday’s SEC tournament cemented their status as the top seed in the NCAA men’s tournament, and it’s hard not to love a draw in Alabama as a result.
Alabama should have more than enough shooting and athleticism to get past Maryland or West Virginia in the second round, and it’s hard to see San Diego State or Virginia as a candidate to beat Alabama in the Sweet 16.
The Arizona Pac-12 Tournament Champions are in second place with Baylor in third place. But the Bears have gone 2-4 in their last six games.
Alabama was to be NCAA tournament history, whether or not he was the No. 1 seed overall, due to how he handled Brandon Miller’s alleged involvement in the fatal murder of Jamia Harris by former Alabama player Darius Miles. And Tide’s status as the best team in the tournament only adds to the attention.
Alabama is more than capable of winning all of this. And it will face more attention as it progresses.
Marquette soared to the No. 2 seed
It’s been an incredible season for Shaka Smart and Marquette. The Golden Eagles have lost three of the team’s top four scorers in 2022 and somehow improved a lot. Marquette is 28-6 overall and has won regular season and Big East titles for the first time. As a result, the Golden Eagles are now second in the NCAA Tournament. This is the best seed in the history of the program.
Point guard Tyler Kolek has developed into one of the best players in the country, and his pick-and-roll efficiency makes Marquette an incredibly difficult team to defend. Marquette will face No. 15 Vermont in the East Region. This is the first time since 2013 that Marquette has competed in back-to-back tournaments.
Mountain West receives 4 applications
The Mountain West Conference drew four teams to the NCAA tournament as Utah, Boise, and Nevada joined the San Diego State Conference tournament on the ground.
Nevada was the last team to take the field, and in the process edged out the likes of Rutgers, Oklahoma State, and Vanderbilt. The Wolf Pack must pass Arizona State in the game of the first four to play TCU in the first round. Nevada is ranked 43rd by KenPom.com and is ahead of five other teams ranked 11th ahead of play games.
Utah State and Boise State drew Power Five opponents as the No. 10 seed. Aggie plays Mizzow and Boise State plays Northwest. Utah is in the top 20 on KenPom.
Four bids for MWC is the same number as Pac-12s. While Arizona and UCLA received the No. 2 seed from the committee, the lack of depth at the conference saw USC take the No. 10 seed and Arizona State snuck into the game. The gap between MWC and Pac-12 hasn’t been that big this season.
Kentucky receives seed #6
Kentucky (21-11) was in the top six on Sunday’s qualifying despite the ups and downs of the season.
No wonder the Wildcats finished 7th or 8th on Sunday after losing to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. Although the Commodores skipped the tournament entirely, Great Britain ended up among the top 24 teams in the tournament, ahead of other SEC teams Texas A&M and Missouri. Both the Aggies and Tigers have finished ahead of the Wildcats in the SEC, with the Aggies also leading Kentucky in the NET rankings.
Kentucky also has a manageable path to the deep tournament – as long as the team plays to its potential. It was a big guess during the season, but with a big man like Oscar Chibwe and a talented roster around him, this British team is capable of beating both Kansas State and Marquette if they play at their best.
Tall Seeds Big 12
Seven of the 10 Big 12 teams made it to the NCAA tournament field on Sunday, and six of those seven teams finished in 6th place or better.
Kansas won the regular season title and finished 3rd overall as the top seed in the West. Texas ranks second in the Midwest, while Kansas State and Baylor ranked third. TCU and Iowa State are ranked 6th each, while West Virginia is the only team not in the top half of their region and is ranked 9th in the South.
The Big 12 seeding is further proof of how good the conference has been during the 2022-23 season. The Big 12 has been the best conference in the country all season, and it’s fair to wonder whether Oklahoma State and even Oklahoma and Texas Tech could have made it into the tournament if they hadn’t had to go through the gauntlet that the Big 12 represented in this season.
UConn vs. Iona in Albany
We are lucky enough to have an incredibly intriguing first round game in the Western Region as UConn takes on none other than Rick Pitino’s Jonah Gaels in a 4v13 matchup in beautiful Albany, NY. It’s only a two-hour drive for both fanbases and you know Pitino will be thrilled with the opportunity.
Pitino’s career took a sharp turn to the left after the tumultuous end of his time in Louisville. He spent time training in Greece before landing in Iona. He has coached the Gaels in two NCAA tournaments in three seasons and looks set to move on to more important work soon, perhaps in the Big East.
Pitino was associated mainly with the vacancy at St. John’s. Before he makes that potential move, he’ll get a taste of Big East competition in the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton’s strong finish brings 6th place
The selection committee was impressed with how the Bluejays ended the season. Creighton went 14-3 to finish the season 22-8 for a 6th seed in the Greenville 1 region. In the first round, the Bluejays would face the winner of Illinois State vs. Mississippi State.
Creighton finished the season outside of the AP top 25 but was ranked 18th in the NCAA NET rankings. The Bluejays had a brilliant 12-3 away record as their only losses since January 4 came to UConn and Villanova.
A season ago, the Bluejays were the darlings of the tournament, finishing 10th with an upset win over Iowa in the second round and a convincing victory over Iowa State in the Sweet 16 before losing to South Carolina in the Elite Eight. Creighton is once again in the South Carolina region but could be a popular pick against Notre Dame in the second round.
Indiana and Virginia Tech Receives #1 Seeds for the First Time
On Sunday, both Indiana and Virginia Tech made history. Both the Hoosiers and Hokies were selected as the #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in their respective program history.
IU had a terrific season, coming through the Big Ten almost unscathed at 16-2 to win her first regular season title since 1983. The Hoosiers were upset in the semi-finals of the Big Ten tournament, but that didn’t stop them. line number 1.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech finished the game in first place in the ACC standings, but won the conference tournament. The Hokies enter the NCAA Tournament on an 11-game winning streak, with nine of them by double-digit margins.
Notre Dame took third place
The Fighting Irish finished 3rd in the Greenville 1 region despite the absence of Olivia Miles from the ACC tournament.
Notre Dame lost to Louisville in the ACC semifinals without Miles in the roster. She has been out of action since injuring her right knee while diving for a lost ball against the Cardinals on February 26.
It’s unclear if Miles will be available for the NCAA Tournament, and it’s fair to question Notre Dame’s chances of qualifying for the second weekend if she fails to play. Miles averages 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game and is one of the most powerful players in the country when she’s on the court.
Selection criteria may include the presence of key players; perhaps Miles could return to the tournament. If it doesn’t, Notre Dame could be seeded at number 3, and don’t be surprised if Creighton gets the upper hand in the second round.
If you’re a fan of the Iowa Division I program, chances are you had a smile on your face on Sunday. Iowa, Iowa State and Drake have competed in the NCAA tournaments in men’s and women’s basketball. Those are three of four DI programs in the state (sorry, Northern Iowa). There are few real contenders on the women’s side, with Iowa in second place and ISU in fifth place. Drake, meanwhile, is in 12th place.
[Free bracket contests for both tourneys | Printable Men’s | Women’s]
ACC leads with 8 stakes
For the fifth consecutive women’s tournament, the ACC received the most entries from any conference. The ACC has fielded exactly eight teams to the tournament in five consecutive seasons.
In 2022, the ACC was tied with the SEC, but that score was the best of any league in the other four seasons, including the current one. Showcasing the depth of the conference, there was not a single seed lower than Miami as the No. 9 seed.
In addition, other seeds ranged from Virginia Tech at number 1 to Florida State and North Carolina at number 7. There were also Duke and Notre Dame seeds at number 3, Louisville at number 5, and North Carolina at number 6.
Monmouth ends 40-year drought
For the first time in 40 years, Monmouth heads to the NCAA…