NCAA Tournament Bracket Picks: Toughest Draws
by Aaron Smith - 3/16/2015
March Madness is here once again! It's the best time of the year for college basketball fans. All of the fantastic finishes, upsets, and bracket pools that have made this period so famous are back once again. Doc's Sports wants to help you with filling out your bracket this year. In order to win your bracket pool, you have to be better informed than the average player. We're going to take a look at the toughest draws in this year's field. Who was given a rough trip by the committee? We'll take a look at the five toughest draws in this bracket. Remember, this isn't to say that these teams can't make a run, but it does mean the task ahead isn't an easy one.
NCAA Tournament Toughest Draws- #1 Seed Wisconsin Badgers (West Region)
Isn't the top seed in the region supposed to have the easiest path to the Final Four? That definitely isn't the case for Wisconsin in the West Region. Wisconsin would have to play against what I believe is the best No. 4 seed in the bracket in North Carolina. The Tar Heels are a really deep team, and they are capable of beating anyone in the nation on a good day. That's something I wouldn't say about the other No. 4 seeds. The real problem for Wisconsin, though, is the fact that they would have to play what is essentially a road game against Arizona in the Elite Eight. The game would be played at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and you know the crowd would be very pro-Arizona. This shouldn't happen, and it's one of the bigger mistakes made by this committee. Wisconsin is certainly capable of making it to the Final Four even with this tough path, but the tournament committee did them no favors.
NCAA Tournament Toughest Draws - #2 Seed Virginia Cavaliers (East Region)
Virginia was widely assumed to be a No. 1 seed until the past few days when the Cavs were passed up by a couple of teams. Why were they passed? Virginia didn't finish the season playing the best basketball of the year. Justin Anderson looks like a shell of his former self, and the Cavs need him to be their consistent outside shooter. Still, Virginia has been awesome this year, and there is no one in the country that would want to play this team. Tony Bennett is a fantastic coach, and the way this team defends is amazing. Virginia was sent to the very deep East Region, where they'll have a tough road ahead. The Cavaliers first play a tricky Belmont team. The potential third-round matchup with Michigan State is a brutal one. If they reach the Elite Eight, they'll have to play Villanova in the Carrier Dome.
NCAA Tournament Toughest Draws #2 Seed- Gonzaga Bulldogs (South Region)
I believe this is the best team Mark Few has ever had at Gonzaga, and there have been some very good ones. It won't be easy for them to reach the Final Four, though. Gonzaga was put in an absolutely loaded South Region with Duke and Iowa State. Duke has the most impressive wins of anyone in the country this year with their road victories over Virginia and Wisconsin. Gonzaga would play Iowa State in Houston, which is essentially a road game for a team from Washington. If they get by that game, they would likely play Duke in another road game scenario. Gonzaga's draw might not be quite as tough as the two above because they play their first couple games in Seattle, but once they reach the Sweet 16 then the draw becomes tremendously tough for the Bulldogs.
NCAA Tournament Toughest Draws #5 Seed- Northern Iowa (East Region)
What on earth did Northern Iowa do to deserve being a No. 5 seed? With Wichita State being a No. 7 seed, it's clear the committee didn't think much at all of the Missouri Valley Conference. While I realize this conference isn't on par with the best conferences, I also don't think it's as bad as the committee believed. Northern Iowa has one of the best players in the country in Seth Tuttle, and that is worth a lot. Tuttle can take over a game at any point. In addition, Northern Iowa is one of those teams that forces the opposition to play at their tempo, and that makes them a really tough team to beat. The Panthers were screwed into playing a Wyoming team that plays the same style as them in their first game. They would then play against Louisville in the Round of 32. If they get past that one, they'll play top seeded Villanova. No love for the mid-major here.
NCAA Tournament Toughest Draws #6 Seed- Providence (East Region)
Obviously a team that is a six seed won't get as many favorable draws from the committee as a team ranked higher, but Providence would likely run into Dayton in their first game in the NCAA Tournament. Dayton is far better than a normal No. 11 seed, and to make matters even worse, the game would be in Columbus, Ohio. The Flyers would get to host a Providence team ranked five seeds higher than them. That doesn't make very much sense to me. If Providence is able to get past Dayton, they'll take on a talented Oklahoma team that is much better on the defensive end than most people realize. The Friars had some impressive wins this year, but it will surprise me if they do much damage in the NCAA Tournament with this type of a draw.
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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