18 Mar 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
North Carolina was the third team from the ACC to receive a No. 1 seed, following Duke and Virginia.
Its selection is slightly more controversial.
The two best wins on the Tar Heels’ resume came against the Blue Devils when they were without their best player.
In both instances, their archrivals did not have their star freshman Zion Williamson on the floor. Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain in the early minutes during their first meeting in late February when his shoe split and later was out for the second matchup in Chapel Hill. When he returned for their third game in the ACC tournament last week, Duke prevailed.
This region is filled with other blue-blood programs, including Kentucky and Kansas, making for a competitive side of the bracket. A No. 4 seed is the lowest for the Jayhawks since 2006. The seeding was not a sudden surprise. They had suffered various setbacks during the season as their run of 14 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships ended.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section”]
Washington, which won the Pac-12 regular-season championship, was seeded ninth, knocked due to the strength of the conference. It was the only Pac-12 team in the top-50 of the NET rankings used by the selection committee. Other major conferences such as the ACC and Big Ten had nine and eight teams ranked in the top-50.
FAVORITE: North Carolina
It’s unlikely a No. 1 seed will have a more challenging path to the Final Four than the Tar Heels, but they do have experience getting there. Senior Luke Maye was on both the 2017 national championship team and 2016 national runner-up.
SLEEPER: Iowa State
The sixth-seeded Cyclones are ranked 16th in statistician Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, just one spot lower than Houston, the third seed that represents their major roadblock to the regional semifinal. They also have a senior point guard with Nick Weiler-Babb, a key for any run in the tournament.
UPSET ALERT: Seton Hall over Wofford
The Pirates are clicking at the right time, beating Marquette and Villanova to end the regular season and nearly winning the Big East tournament. They reach the second round for the second straight season.
The bracket is headlined by North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas, but the teams with momentum might be Auburn and Iowa State. The Tigers won the SEC tournament and the Cyclones won the Big 12 tournament, making for the deep set of teams.
1. North Carolina (27-6): at-large, ACC
16. Iona (17-15): automatic, MAAC
8. Utah State (28-6): automatic, Mountain West
9. Washington (26-8): at-large, Pac-12
5. Auburn (26-9): automatic, SEC
12. New Mexico State (30-4): automatic, WAC
4. Kansas (25-9): at-large, Big 12
13. Northeastern (23-10): automatic, CAA
6. Iowa State (23-11): automatic, Big 12
11. Ohio State (19-14): at-large, Big Ten
3. Houston (31-3): at-large, American
14. Georgia State (23-9): automatic, Sun Belt
7. Wofford (29-4): automatic, Southern
10. Seton Hall (20-13): at-large, Big East
2. Kentucky (27-6): at-large, SEC
15. Abilene Christian (27-6): automatic, Southland
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – Number of teams in the region to win an NCAA championship in the previous 11 seasons.
1984 – The last time Houston was seeded as high, a season in which it reached the national title game.
Cameron Jackson, Wofford, guard, 14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.0 bpg
Cameron Johnson, North Carolina, guard, 16.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg
Keldon Johnson, Kentucky, guard, 13.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
Dedric Lawson, Kansas, forward, 19.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.1 bpg
Matisse Thybulle, Washington, guard, 9.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.4 spg, 2.2 bpg