No. 1 and done: No Kansas, Purdue, Alabama, Houston in
Perhaps we should have seen this sort of NCAA tournament coming, specifically after a 16-seed and 15-seed advanced out of the first round for the first time in history. It’s just become more wild given that Fairleigh Dickinson and Princeton won their opening games. For the very first time in NCAA tournament history, there won’t be a single 1-seed in the Elite 8– or the Last 4. No matter Texas’ outcome against Xavier on Friday night, there will also be the fewest variety of top-two seeds in the Elite Eight because seeding began.Alabama losing
to San Diego State and Houston getting burnt out by Miami made it main: This is the most unpredictable NCAA tournament we’ve ever seen.How did we
get here? Why is it taking place? ESPN’s guys’s college basketball professionals Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway, Joe Lunardi and Myron Medcalf simplify.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images What can we conclude about all the 1-seeds being out before the Elite Eight?Joe Lunardi: Let the overreactions begin. The very first general rule in March is that practically any group– A-N-Y T-E-A-M!– can win a 40-minute game played by college kids. That stated, the variety of surprises in the last 2 weekends is equal parts mind-numbing (for the losers) and breathtaking (for the rest of us). This year’s result, with all No. 1 seeds gone by the Elite 8, is no various than all 4 1-seeds reaching the Final Four in 2008. Neither has occurred in the past, or considering that; they are merely the severe ends of the probability scale.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated John Gasaway: We can deduce that Fairleigh Dickinson, Arkansas, San Diego State and Miami were all underrated. Truly! The 64 groups outside the front runners all had a better chance than we understood when we were filling out our brackets last week.( Yes, it was just last week. )The strongest teams on paper this year, including Houston, tended to be a bit on the young side, and even if that weren’t the case, we actually ought to have gained from Virginia’s experience in the 2018 round of 64 that any team can lose. Now, every team that was a No. 1 seed has lost.Myron Medcalf: Men’s college basketball didn’t have any one terrific team, which provided some of the more
experienced groups an edge in the NCAA competition. We’re seeing a lot of older groups progress to the next stage, and a number of younger groups go home. It may appear that Houston and Alabama do not satisfy that requirements, however Kelvin Sampson has actually spoken about the loss of his 4 elders from last year’s team and the addition of players like freshman Jarace Walker. There was a knowing curve with the Cougars. And Brandon Miller is a sensational player, however if you get rid of 2012 (Anthony Davis )and 2015(Duke’s three first-round picks), you will not discover a nationwide champ that was led by freshmen in the one-and-done era. This states more about the parity in this landscape and the worth of experience than anything.Jeff Borzello: In retrospection, I ought to have simply re-read the introduction to the Power Rankings I wrote actually every week throughout the routine season. Every single week, the
rankings’shuffle on top demanded a brand-new No. 1 group, a new top-five group, a big rework in the middle. Throughout the regular season, one of the biggest narratives was that there was no dominant team in college basketball this season, which parity was at an all-time high. Alabama was terrific, but it likewise lost five regular-season games. Houston had a home loss to Temple and a 10-point conference competition loss to Memphis. Purdue hit a wall in February. Kansas didn’t have its coach, and got blown out by Texas two times in the week prior to Choice Sunday. None of these teams was foolproof. play 1:07 Miami uses 2nd-half run to upset Houston and advance to Elite Eight After Houston cuts ball gameto 51-49, Miami goes on a huge run to remove the top-seeded Cougars and advance to the
Elite Eight.What brought the 1-seeds down?Medcalf: Depends on the team. Fairleigh Dickinson bothered Zach Edey, and his colleagues could not hit the
shots to give Purdue a chance to advance.
Kansas, withstanding the final minutes of a close game without Costs Self, got outworked by a stimulated Arkansas team that outplayed the Jayhawks in the clutch moments that have actually often worked in their favor this season. Alabama just lost to a San Diego State team with adequate experience to not crumble early in the second half when the Crimson Tide made a run. Bama’s shots stopped falling, and SDSU got back into the game. That’s a perseverance that only includes experience.And Miami simply appeared like the much better group against Houston. The Hurricanes beat them off the dribble. They beat them in shift. They were much better defensively. Miami was much better at all spots.Borzello: Alabama forgot how to shoot. The Crimson Tide weren’t an exceptionally precise 3-point shooting team during the regular season, but they relied heavily on generating offense from the boundary. They had a top-10 3-point attempt rate and more than 36% of their offense came from threes. On Friday, they shot 3-for-27 from behind the arc: their second-worst efficiency of the season and their worst because the season opener against Longwood.Houston has asserted much of its success by being the harder team, the more physical team, the group that imposed its will on its opponent. Miami didn’t let that happen. The Canes looked after the ball, matched Houston on the glass– and, most notably, won the backcourt battle. Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack were great
, and the Hurricanes had the ability to go out and run versus a group that wants to manage pace. Miami landed the first punch and just kept coming.Gasaway: What brought Houston down was the reality that Miami was the better team. The Hurricanes were harder, more precise, older, quicker and far more prepared for their moment. Yes, all of the above was something of a surprise. Both of these teams were in the Sugary food 16 a year earlier, and this was supposed to be the Cougars’time. Lastly, Kelvin Sampson had everyone healthy. Miami was not impressed.Alabama, on the other hand, combined on-paper strength with puzzling moments on the court(such as the blowout loss at Oklahoma) for much of the season. The Crimson Tide bowing out was certainly a surprise, however not precisely a shock.Lunardi: In the Sweet 16, Alabama and Houston lost since their challengers played much better. In Houston’s case, W-A-Y better. The Cougars quiting 80 points might be an even bigger surprise than all 4 front runners leaving the competition. It had not occurred for 35 games, and probably will not for 35 more.Alabama’s loss reminded me more of Duke’s loss to Tennessee. Two reasonably young teams eventually withering against older, more physical enemies.Kansas, like Houston, picked the wrong time for a bad trip, whereas Purdue was merely not a 1-seed over the last month of the season.What does the rest of the tournament appearance like?Borzello: It looks like madness, for lack of a better word. The simple fact that San Diego State, Creighton, Princeton, Florida Atlantic or Kansas
State will be using the last Monday night of the season for a championship game is bonkers. The ideal side of the bracket provides a couple of more favorites, but simply as much intrigue.Medcalf: Turmoil and unpredictability. But there is a part of me that marvels if a UConn group that won its first 3 games by 62 points combined might pull off its very first go to
the national title given that 2014. The Huskies are the most dominant team in the field now. However that’s what we like about the tournament.Gasaway: The tournament appears like the 2022-23 season in a nutshell, right? Surprises, “top” teams being knocked off left and ideal and simply basic trouble. It’s what we love about March. Likewise, may I provide a memo to everybody in March 2024? Whenthe choice committee solemnly intones that the two dozen or two quotes they’re providing to the Big Ten and SEC will look smart in retrospection, do not believe them.Lunardi: My instinct is that the entire field appears to have parted for UConn, which still hasn’t lost to a non-Big East group. Of course, the Huskies still need to get past Gonzaga in Las Vegas– no gim me– and it deserves noting they were simply 1-3 against Creighton and Xavier in the routine season.Your 2023 NCAA national champion pick.Gasaway: UConn. The No. 4 seed has become the closest thing 2023 needs to a No. 1 seed.Borzello: UConn Medcalf: UConn Lunardi: Let’s not forget the 2-seed still on the board. Texas was fifth on the committee’s seed list, and my choice amongst the current survivors.