The Final Countdown Begins…

North Carolina has finally made its way onto the No. 1 line here.  What took so long?  Well, prior to yesterday’s win over Miami, the Tar Heels–believe it or not–did not own a single win against an ACC tourney-bound team away from Chapel Hill.  That made yesterday’s win very significant and enough for us to finally justify UNC’s inclusion on the top line.  A loss to Duke tonight would make the Heels vulnerable to Kentucky or the Pac-12 champ stealing the final No. 1.

Locks added to the field since yesterday include Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Xavier.  The former two won games each was expected to, but more importantly avoided a questionable loss heading into Selecton Sunday.  The latter earned its lock with a huge win over Butler in the Big East Quarterfinal.

Along with Xavier, Kansas State vaulted itself out of First Four territory and up a seed line with a big win.  The Wildcats’ win over Baylor, its second this season, puts them in fairly safe territory.  Losing to West Virginia tonight wouldn’t hurt at all, but the handful of bubble-hopefuls still playing have a chance to surge past K-State with deep tourney runs.

1 Kansas (Big 12) Villanova (BigEast) Gonzaga (WCC) North Carolina (ACC)
2 Oregon (Pac-12) Baylor UCLA  Kentucky (SEC)
3 Duke Florida State Butler Arizona
4 Virginia Florida Louisville West Virginia
5 Purdue (B1G) Notre Dame Cincinnati Maryland
6 Creighton Wisconsin Minnesota Iowa State
7 St Mary’s South Carolina SMU Virginia Tech
8 Miami FL Michigan Northwestern Seton Hall
9 Marquette Dayton (A-10) Oklahoma State Vanderbilt
10 Arkansas Xavier VCU Wichita State (MVC)
11 Kansas State UNC-Wilmington (CAA) Wake Forest / Michigan St Middle Tennessee (CUSA)
12 Vermont (A-East) Houston (AAC) Nevada (MWC) Rhode Island / USC
13 E Tenn St (SoCon) Winthrop (BigSouth) UT-Arlington (SUN) Princeton (IVY)
14 Akron (MAC) Cal St Bakersfield (WAC) Bucknell (PAT) FGCU (A-Sun)
15 Iona (MAAC) Northern Kentucky (HOR) EWU (Big Sky) Texas Southern (SWAC)
16 New Orleans (SLAND) / South Dakota State (SUM) Mt St Mary’s (NEC) / Jacksonville State (OVC) UC Irvine (BigWest) NC Central (MEAC)

First Four OUT:  Georgia, Clemson, Indiana, Providence

Still Alive:  California, TCU, Ole Miss, Alabama

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