Here is your NCAA tournament printable bracket.
To enlarge the bracket, click on the image. If you prefer a PDF of the bracket, you can get that right here.
1. Where is Duke going to get seeded?: The Blue Devils have the look of a No. 1 seed. They just steam-rolled through the ACC tournament, picking up wins over Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame in the span on three days. That brings their tally of top 50 wins this season to 13, the most in the country. Eight of those 13 wins came away from Cameron Indoor. They have eight top 25 wins, six of which came away from home. They have four top ten wins, three of which came away from home.
The concern for Duke is their overall record. No No. 1 seed has ever had eight losses to their name before, but it is worth noting that Duke has dealt with as many injuries as anyone in college hoops this season. Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Harry Giles III, Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and head coach Mike Krzyzewski have all missed time. Considering that Duke is now fully healthy and rolling, will that factor into the committee’s decision-making process? Will that be enough to close the gap between the Blue Devils and North Carolina? Will it be enough to slot Duke over Gonzaga or Arizona?
It will not. Duke ends up as the No. 2 seed in the East, setting up a thrilling potential showdown with No. 1 overall seed Villanova.
2. This would mean that Gonzaga has to be the No. 1 seed out west, right?: It should. For all the talk about how weak the conference is that Gonzaga plays in, they’re sitting here on Selection Sunday with six top 25 wins. Arizona, who won the Pac-12 tournament and a share of the Pac-12 regular season title, has just three top 25 wins and five top 50 wins. Five of Gonzaga’s six top 25 wins came away from home, and one of them came against Arizona on a neutral floor, albeit without Allonzo Trier. I just don’t see anyway that you can look at Arizona’s profile and Gonzaga’s profile and think that the Wildcats are more deserving of a No. 1 seed than the Bulldogs.
3. So who, then, is the top-seeded Pac-12 team?: This is still an under-discussed story line as we careen towards the Selection Show. Only one of the three Pac-12 teams is going to end up being slotted in the West Region. The favorite probably has to be Arizona, as the Wildcats won the Pac-12 tournament, a share of the Pac-12 regular season title and a pair of games against UCLA this season, but the Bruins have more — and better — top 10 and top 50 wins, including a win at Kentucky. I would lean towards Arizona getting the No. 2 seed out west because of their wins over UCLA, the fact that the Bruins played a poor non-conference schedule and the way Arizona has looked since Trier returned from his suspension.
The x-factor in that conversation is Oregon, who will be fascinating in their own right. The Ducks won a share of the Pac-12 regular season title and, since Dillon Brooks got healthy, have looked like the best team in the league for long stretches of the season. But Oregon just lost Chris Boucher for the tournament to a torn ACL. Boucher was averaging 11.8 points, 6.1 boards and 2.5 blocks, but Oregon looked fine in their loss to Arizona on Saturday night.
4. How does the committee value the Big East teams?: Villanova should probably end up being the No. 1 overall seed. Butler, who swept Villanova this season, will probably be a top four seed. But beyond that, every other Big East tournament team is fascinating. Creighton made the finals of the Big East tournament despite playing without Mo Watson, who tore his ACL, but the Bluejays are just 7-8 since Watson’s injury. Xavier won two games in the Big East tournament, including a win over Butler in the quarterfinals, but that was their first win over a team not named DePaul since Feb. 4th. They are just 6-7 since they lost Edmond Sumner to a torn ACL.
But here’s the kicker: the three Big East bubble teams — Seton Hall, Providence and Marquette — all bolstered their résumé with wins over Creighton and Xavier after those injuries. Marquette has four wins over those two teams in the last seven weeks. I don’t think that will be enough to keep those teams out of the tournament, but I do think that it could end up affecting where they get seeded.
5. Where does Wichita State get seeded?: The Shockers are currently, as of this exact moment, ranked eighth on KenPom. Eighth. As in No. 8. In the country. KenPom is widely considered the most accurate metric for ranking teams in college hoops circles, which should tell you just how good this team is. But they haven’t actually done anything during the season to back those numbers up. They only have two top 65 wins on the season, and both of those came against Illinois State, who may not get to the NCAA tournament. How about this for a thought: If Wichita State ends up as a No. 10 seed, they could end up being favored in both the first round and second round game against the No. 2 seed. The current No. 2 seeds in our latest bracket are Kentucky, Arizona, Duke and Oregon. Kentucky is the only one rated above Wichita State on KenPom.
6. Will Syracuse get a bid?: The Orange have quickly turned into one of the most polarizing bubble teams in the country. On the one hand, they have six top 50 wins to their name, including wins over Duke, Florida State and Virginia. On the other hand, all six of their top 50 wins came at home, and they are just 2-11 away from the Carrier Dome this season. The Orange also have lost to Boston College, Georgetown, UConn and St. John’s, the latter of which came at home by 33 points. Their best road win is Clemson, who finished 6-12 in the ACC, or N.C. State, who finished 13th. They lost at Boston College, who finished at the bottom of the conference. Will that be enough?
7. Where will Purdue get seeded?: The Big Ten is going to get seven teams into the tournament and actually rates higher in the metrics than the league did last year, but the reason the league feels down this season is that there just isn’t anyone in the conference that feels like a true title contender. That includes Purdue, the regular season champ who bowed out of the Big Ten tournament in the quarterfinal. The committee showed us during the bracket reveal in February that they didn’t have much respect for the Big Ten, so it will be interesting to see where they decide to slot the Boilermakers.
LAS VEGAS (AP) Allonzo Trier scored 23 points and hit four free throws in the final 17 seconds, helping No. 7 Arizona outlast No. 5 Oregon 83-80 on Saturday night in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.
Arizona (30-4) lost a lopsided game at Oregon earlier this season on a barrage of 3-pointers by the Ducks. The Wildcats were better defensively while building a 14-point lead and shot 58 percent to hold off Oregon’s second-half charge.
Next up for Arizona: A possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon (29-5) got bad news before tipoff, learning senior forward Chris Boucher is out for the season with a torn ACL sustained in the semifinals against California.
The Ducks struggled in the first half before rallying in a dazzling second half by both teams.
Dillon Brooks carried Oregon through the early struggles and finished with 25 points. Tyler Dorsey added 23.
Oregon ran over Arizona in the team’s only meeting during the regular season, hitting 16 3-pointers in an 85-58 victory that was never close.
The Wildcats got one dose of payback in the Pac-12 semifinals by avenging an emotional regular-season loss to No. 3 UCLA and were hoping to do it again against the Ducks.
Oregon had a setback before the game even started with the loss of Boucher, the versatile 6-foot-10 forward who was the team’s third-leading scorer and the Pac-12’s leading shot blocker.
Arizona took advantage of Boucher’s absence by attacking the rim, hitting 13 of 26 shots to lead 35-29 at halftime.
Brooks carried the Ducks almost by himself, scoring 17 first-half points. Unlike the game in Eugene, the Ducks struggled from the perimeter, going 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
Arizona continued to hit shots and disrupt Oregon’s offense, pushing the lead to 14 in the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the second half.
The Ducks finally started to hit shots and disrupted Arizona’s offensive with full-court pressure, cutting the lead to 60-56 midway through.
Oregon kept hitting shots, but so did Arizona to keep its slim lead. The Wildcats missed four free throws in the final minute to allow Oregon to pull within two, but Trier sealed it with his free throws.
Arizona took down top-10 teams in consecutive games and is playing well at both ends of the floor at just the right time.
Oregon is still a dangerous team, as this game showed, but the loss of Boucher could be huge for its hopes of a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Both teams should be high seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
BROOKLYN — Before Duke’s season began, before the injuries to the three star freshmen and before Grayson Allen tripped his third opponent in a year and before the patriarch of the Duke program missed a month of the season to undergo back surgery, head coach Mike Krzyzewski coined a phrase that would become the motto for this group team: ‘Uncommon Winning.’
He had no way of knowing just how prescient that phrase was.
On Saturday night, Duke became the first team in the history of the ACC tournament to win four games in four days and take home trophy. They did it by erasing an eight-point second half deficit against Notre Dame, winning 75-69, the third-straight night that the Blue Devils turned a loss into a win with a scintillating second half run. Against North Carolina on Friday night, Duke used a 29-9 surge to turn a 13-point deficit into a seven-point lead. On Thursday, in the quarterfinals, Duke erased a 12-point deficit in the final 12 minutes of the game.
Everything about that is uncommon.
Everything about the Duke season has been uncommon.
And yet here they are, less than 24 hours before the bracket is to be released, and Duke is right where we thought they would be: Champions of the ACC and in line to get a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.
Uncommon Winning indeed.
I know people don’t want to hear it, but the fact of the matter is that Duke is in line for a No. 1 seed.
The Blue Devils have more top 50 wins than any other team in the country with 13, and eight of those 13 wins came away from home. They have eight top 25 wins — six of which came away from home — and four top ten wins — with three of those away from home. They are 26-8 on the season. They have beaten North Carolina, the team that just about everyone thought was a lock to be the No. 1 seed in the South, in two out of the three matchups between the two teams, including in Brooklyn on Friday night.
Does that mean the Blue Devils are a lock for the No. 1 seed?
Of course not.
It’s foolish to speak in absolutes when talking about the Selection Committee and the decisions that they make, especially in a year where there is so much uncertainty on that top seed line. Will Gonzaga, at 32-1, get a No. 1 seed? What about Arizona, the Pac-12 tournament champion and regular season co-champion? North Carolina has a résumé that, in a vacuum, is deserving of a No. 1 seed. When you win a league as tough as the ACC by two full games, you have to get put into that conversation.
And then there’s Duke.
The Blue Devils have an argument that is as valid as anyone, and the fact that they have gotten to this point given where they were midway through ACC play is incredible. Jayson Tatum missed the first six weeks of the season with a foot injury that kept him from being himself until much later in the year than anyone expected. Harry Giles III’s third knee surgery has ensured that he will likely end his college career as a shell of the player he once was and, hopefully, can still be. Coach K missed a month after back surgery, a stretch where the Blue Devils went 4-3 on the season. Grayson Allen has been a shell of himself thanks to foot and ankle injuries and the scorn that comes with being The Villain Of Durham.
“I’ve had a lot of years,” Coach K said. “They’ve been through more than anyone group has been through that I’ve coached.”
“It was not like anything I’ve been through. That’s pretty cool, when I’ve been through more than anybody. And I’ve been lucky to be successful, but for them to take me through a journey that I’ve never been through before, it’s amazing.”
To a man, everyone in that Duke locker room credits Coach K with being able to keep this team together throughout everything that they’ve dealt with. “He is such a good leadership coach,” Allen said. “It’s way more than x’s and o’s. He teaches us how to be together as a group, all that cliché stuff, that, it sounds really cliché, but that’s what we try to do.”
How did he make it work?
Live in the moment. Instead of worrying about what is going to happen two or three weeks in the future, focus on doing what you have to do to win the next game.
“We live in a world of predictions, expectations and a very shallow analysis of what a player or team does, because it’s instant,” Coach K said. “I just try to stay deep. We’re concentrating on us. Just like this tournament, we didn’t come here to win it, we came here to win the next game. Having that approach throughout the year.”
“‘What’s this next week going to be like? When can we get this kid healthy?’ Instead of looking at the whole thing and saying, ‘Poor us’, it’s, ‘No excuses.'”
“All that stuff brought us together as a team,” Allen said. “I think that’s what’s showing.”
I don’t think he’s wrong.
The incredible part about Duke’s tournament win was how easy it would have been for them to quit. They trailed by 12 points and were getting run off the floor by Louisville, but they made the switch to a zone that they never practice and it changed the game. Duke won. Against North Carolina, the Blue Devils were getting manhandled on the interior, but then Joel Berry II picked up his fourth foul, UNC’s transition game stalled and Duke took advantage, using a 29-9 run to win the game. On Saturday night, it was Amile Jefferson that prompted the change.
He stepped up and slowed down Bonzie Colson, who finished with 29 points. He stepped up and took away the ball-screen action that Notre Dame had been eviscerating the Blue Devils with. He stepped up and scored a series a big buckets in the post in the final 10 minutes.
And in those final ten minutes, Duke didn’t run one single play.
“The last ten minutes, we didn’t call a play, we just said you play, take ownership, and you could see out guys just make plays,” Coach K said. “When you give ownership to a team, they don’t get tired. Because they’re not playing for you.”
“They’re playing for them.”
This is great:
NEW YORK — Josh Hart scored 29 points and No. 2 Villanova beat Creighton 74-60 on Saturday to win the Big East Tournament and probably lock up the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Hart, the conference player of the year, became just the third player to win the tournament MVP award twice, joining Patrick Ewing of Georgetown and Peyton Siva of Louisville.
Villanova (31-3) played Villanova basketball, just as the Wildcats did last season in winning the national championship. Good defense, sharing the ball and making 3-pointers is the formula that has led them to four consecutive Big East regular-season titles.
This was their third Big East Tournament crown, the others coming in 1995 and 2015.
The Wildcats had their hands on so many Creighton passes, they forced 17 turnovers that led to 21 points. And with Hart leading the way, they made every big shot they needed.
Jalen Brunson added 17 points for Villanova. Kris Jenkins, whose 3-pointer won the national championship game last year, had 14.
Cole Huff and Marcus Foster each scored 13 points to lead Creighton (25-9).
Villanova, which lost last season’s Big East championship game to Seton Hall, closed the first half on a 25-11 run to go up 36-22. Hart had 12 points in the spurt and Brunson added eight. The two combined to score the Wildcats’ final 20 points in the semifinals.
The lead reached 46-26, and the closest the Bluejays got the rest of the way was 12.
Hart, who along with Brunson defended Foster, scored every way imaginable, from 3-pointers to acrobatic drives. He finished the tournament with 63 points and was 21 of 41 from the field. The 29 points marked his third-highest total of the season.
Creighton was 2 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and the Bluejays committed 10 turnovers, only 2.3 fewer than they averaged per game this season.
The title game was played before a sellout crowd of 19,812 at Madison Square Garden, which hosted the tournament for the 35th consecutive year.
Creighton: The Bluejays’ only other championship game appearance was in 2014 when they lost to Providence. … Creighton lost three of four games coming into the tournament. … The Bluejays beat Providence 70-53 in the quarterfinals and Xavier 76-72 in the semifinals. … The 14-point halftime deficit was Creighton’s largest of the season, and its 22 points were five fewer than its previous low for the season.
Villanova: The Wildcats swept the season series with Creighton, winning by 10 and 16 points. … Villanova beat St. John’s 108-67 in the quarterfinals and Seton Hall 55-53 in the semifinals. … The Wildcats came into the game 2-2 in Big East championship games.
The game’s first free throw was taken with 4:30 left in the first half.
Jenkins, Brunson, Foster, Angel Delgado of Seton Hall and Trevon Bluiett of Xavier comprised the all-tournament team.
Creighton: Will wait to hear where it is headed in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.
Villanova: Should hear its name called first when the brackets are announced.