If your team is ultimately considered one of the top seeds for the NCAA Tournament, you have to feel initially overjoyed that your program has the elite clout and has performed at a high level consistently this season. However, once March Madness commences, that numerical classification goes out the window as any team in this tournament (outside of the 16th seeds) has a chance at dethroning any number one seed especially this season. Still, these programs have every right to be considered the clear favorites to win it all when you consider their victories over top-tier opponents while avoiding a lengthy lapse in competitiveness at any point during the regular season. While all of the following programs have the noticeable weaknesses that could do them in if they are not careful, they also have a multitude of strengths that could serve them well when it comes to pursuing and obtaining the ultimate prize: a National Title.
1. Virginia Cavaliers
Likely the overall number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Cavaliers sustained only two losses this season thanks to an elite defense that is fantastic at preventing their opponents from taking easy shots from anywhere on the court (52.9 PAPG). However, their anemic offense (67.5 PPG) and inability to rebound consistently could be an issue for this well-coached program if they face a team that is tenacious when it comes to forcing steals in the tournament.
1. Kansas Jayhawks
When talking about programs that play unselfish basketball, it’s difficult not to bring up the Jayhawks as the team that is at the top of that list. One of the best teams in the country at moving the ball to their open shooters (17 APG), the Jayhawks are especially deadly when their offense gets into a comfortable rhythm as they are adept at shooting the basketball from anywhere on the court (49.6 FG%, 39.8 3P%). The only thing that could hold the Jayhawks back from winning a National Title is their poor free shooting capabilities, something that has prevented them from being truly great this season (69.9 FT%).
1. Villanova Wildcats
For an average defense that has to contend with the Wildcats in the tournament, watch out. Shooting over 50% from the field and just under 40% from three-point range, the Wildcats are highly effective when it comes to finding and taking high-percentage shots as they possess the quick and cerebral athletes that are adept at locating their teammates consistently (17 APG). On top of that, the Wildcats are one of the better teams in college basketball when it comes to ball security, an attribute that will be vital to their success in the tournament.
1. Duke Blue Devils
Ranked top eight or better when it comes to scoring (85.2 PPG), rebounding (41.9 RPG) and passing the basketball (17.7 APG), the Duke Blue Devils are an elite offensive program that has now come full circle from a competitive standpoint thanks to a burgeoning defense. With all five of their starters averaging double-digit points per game, the sky is the limit for this Blue Devil program that clearly has all of the pieces and coaching to win it all in the NCAA Tournament.