There is just a little over a month separating us from the illustrious March Madness tournament. As most of us know, the 2020 NCAA tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, breaking the hearts of college basketball fans everywhere. This year, however, it is looking like unless something drastic happens, we will see a March Madness tournament played in bubbles around the country.
If you go to ESPN.com and click on the NCAAM tab, you’ll see various “mock” March Madness brackets that analysts have constructed to try and give fans an idea of what the tournament would look like if the season ended today. I could sit here and talk about each of the 64 teams I think would make it into the tournament, but that would take hours and result in an article that is much too long. Instead, I’ve done extensive research into remaining schedules and stats to predict each number one seed for the 2021 NCAA tournament.
FIRST NUMBER ONE SEED: GONZAGA
Okay, if you clicked on this article then you should’ve expected this. Gonzaga is currently the number one team in the nation and if you take a look at their remaining schedule, there is a high chance they end this season undefeated. Gonzaga is currently 14-0 overall and doesn’t even have a ranked opponent left on their schedule. You could argue that maybe they could fumble one of those games, but Gonzaga’s combo of Kispert and Suggs is so strong that I don’t see it happening.
If Gonzaga ends this season undefeated, then it would be virtually impossible for them to get a seed other than one. If they somehow lose their conference tournament in an embarrassing fashion I could see some debate, but the board that picks the brackets loves Gonzaga and will put them in a position to be competitive.
Gonzaga is a great team to roll with when picking your brackets in March, and I feel comfortable saying they will 100% be a number one seed.
SECOND NUMBER ONE SEED: BAYLOR
If you expected me to pick anyone other than Baylor here, I’m sorry. Baylor is the other undefeated team in the country besides Gonzaga, and is showing no signs of slowing down. They recently just won back to back games against top-15 opponents Texas Tech and Kansas, proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in college basketball. The remainder of their schedule is harder than Gonzaga’s and I think they’ll lose a game or two for sure, which is why I have Gonzaga over them.
Baylor still has to play Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia twice, and Kansas this season. If they win at least half of those games then a number one seed is arguably locked in. I really think Baylor is the real deal here.
THIRD NUMBER ONE SEED: VILLANOVA
I wanted to be controversial and select sleeper picks for this article, but Gonzaga, Baylor, and Villanova are all heavy favorites to receive a one seed. Villanova is 9-1 and their only competitive games left on the schedule are UConn twice and Creighton twice. Sure, they could drop one of those games but there isn’t any other team you could put here. Iowa and Texas have too many tough games left, and Tennessee just suffered a terrible loss to Florida. I’m not saying it’s impossible for Nova to miss out on a one seed, but it’s highly improbable.
FOURTH NUMBER ONE SEED: MICHIGAN
Before you go and call me a biased hometown lover, let me convince you why Michigan is a good choice for the final number one seed. Michigan came into this season unproven and unranked, and have since been on an absolute tear. They currently sit at the top of the Big Ten’s rankings, and have only three arguably tough games left. They have to play Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa, and if they lose all three then sure, they won’t be a one seed. But if they win at least two, it should be a lock.
Michigan’s defensive is unreal and they currently have some of the best defensive rankings in the country. They play with intensity and Juwan Howard has shown that he can do more than recruit good players. He can coach. Michigan has already beaten Wisconsin once this year, and I am confident that they will split with Ohio State and Iowa.
We are only a month away from March Madness, and I couldn’t be happier. No matter who gets the number one seeds, let’s just be thankful that we will get to fill out brackets for the first time in two years.