There are 353 teams playing Division I basketball, and of those only 68 were selected to be part of the NCAA Tournament. Over the next three weeks we will whittle down the field and determine which team is the best in America. Most brackets will have Duke as their pick to win it all now that Zion Williamson is healthy once again, but it’s usually not good to follow the herd. There are two other No. 1 seeds that won’t get the same attention, and those are the two teams I am picking as the national champions in my brackets. No matter if you agree or disagree with my picks, BetDSI is the place to bet the NCAA Tournament and they are having a free bracket challenge this year.
Yes, I can already hear the laughing with this pick. The Cavaliers became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed last year, but this is again one of the best teams in the country. Virginia only lost to two teams this season (Duke and Florida State), and no one plays better defense in the country than the Cavaliers.
Right now, Ken Pomeroy has Virginia as the best team in the nation by a significant margin. They are in the top five in both offense and defense, and this team is great in all the right areas. Virginia is hitting better than 40 percent of its three-pointers, and Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter are both sinking more than 45 percent of their triples.
This team doesn’t turn the ball over either. They are giving it up on just 14.7 percent of possessions (13th in the country), and they are miles better than anyone at defending the three-point line with their pack line defense. Virginia is allowing opponents to hit just 27.2 percent of their threes this season.
Virginia has a very manageable road to the Final Four too. In the South Region, the next best teams are Tennessee, Purdue, and Kansas State, and those teams have flaws that the Cavaliers can exploit. I think the Volunteers are the only team with a good chance to pull off the upset, and if the Wahoos reach the Final Four they will likely play North Carolina or Kentucky instead of behemoths Duke and Gonzaga.
Speaking of the Zags, they are my second pick to win it all. Gonzaga is a veteran team that has already proven it can beat the best teams in the country. They nipped a fully healthy Duke team out in Hawaii in November, and they will be looking to prove they can do it again.
Gonzaga has the most efficient offense in the country, and this is the second-best team in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy. They hit 62.3 percent of their two-point attempts, and their effective field goal percentage of 59.6 percent is bonkers. The Bulldogs do struggle to hit the three, but they have arguably the best starting five in the country.
They are about to get even better too. Killian Tillie has only played in 11 games this season, but he is ready to go again. He was a great role player for the Zags last year and having a talented player like him that is able to come off the bench and provide instant offense is huge during the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs have a great low-post scorer in Rui Hachimura, a great matching piece in Brandon Clarke, and phenomenal guards in Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell. This could be the year that Gonzaga finally breaks through.
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