Things will look slightly different in this college basketball preview post. No different from usual, I will show the AP top ten entering the week. Then, I will preview each of the power 6 conference tournaments (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, note also that mid major conference tournaments happened this past week). The preview will include a link to each of the conference tournament brackets, a link to my video preview of each that includes my predictions on my YouTube channel, and a few thoughts I have for each conference tournament.
Note: I will update the AP top ten in this post when a new one comes out tomorrow.
Note: I will add the hyperlink of every video preview when they come out in the next few days.
AP Top 10 entering week:
1.Gonzaga 24-0 Next: vs.Saint Mary’s (3/8-WCC Semifinal)
2.Baylor 21-1 Next: vs.TBD (3/11-Big 12 Quarterfinal)
3.Illinois 20-6 Next: vs.TBD (3/12-Big Ten Quarterfinal)
4.Michigan 19-3 Next: vs.TBD (3/12-Big Ten Quarterfinal)
5.Iowa 20-7 Next: vs.TBD (3/12-Big Ten Quarterfinal)
6.Alabama 21-6 Next: vs.TBD (3/12-SEC Quarterfinal)
7.Houston 21-3 Next: vs.TBD (3/12-AAC Quarterfinal)
8.Arkansas 21-5 Next: vs.TBD (3/12-SEC Quarterfinal)
9.Ohio State 18-8 Next: vs.TBD (3/11-Big Ten Second Round)
10.West Virginia 18-8 Next: vs.TBD (3/11-Big 12 Quarterfinal)
Thoughts: The ACC is in uncommon ground. This will be the first year in awhile without a team from the conference as a one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Florida State, despite multiple losses the last few weeks, should be the favorite.
Thoughts: Behind the Big Ten, the Big 12 is the second best conference in the country. Regular season champion Baylor, West Virginia, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma are all teams that can make it to the second and third weekends of the NCAA Tournament and beyond. The key to winning in Kansas City this week is using defense to create opportunities offensively. Most of the Big 12 offenses are fantastic but its going to be up to terrific defensive backcourts like Baylor’s Jared Butler and MaCio Teague to win games. Baylor should be the favorite but watch out for any of the other teams I listed above.
Thoughts: Both Villanova (losing veteran PG Collin Gillespie for the season) and Creighton (suspending head coach Greg McDermott) have their issues at the moment. But three seed Connecticut has been playing great lately, winning four of their last five games. They should be the favorite this week at Madison Square Garden without a doubt.
Thoughts: The Big Ten is the best conference in the country without a doubt. Regular season champion Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio State are all in the AP top ten and have chances to lock up number one seeds. Purdue is ahead of Ohio State in the Big Ten standings and are at number 23 in the polls. Michigan State, like many blue bloods this season, need a few wins to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth. But, Michigan should be seen as the favorite in Indianapolis this week.
Oregon has been terrific as of late with wins over second place USC and third place UCLA. USC swept the season series with UCLA yesterday with a buzzer-beater. Arizona State, a team that was in many pre-season polls has fallen to ninth in the conference. They will need to win in Las Vegas to reach the big dance. USC, though, should be considered the favorites with projected lottery pick Evan Mobley and his brother Isaiah Mobley as focal points for the Trojans.
Thoughts: Arkansas comes in winners of their last 11 SEC games. Top seed Alabama lost to Arkansas on February 24 but have won every game since. Three seed LSU should not be counted out because of lethal shooting freshman Cam Thomas. Florida, Tennessee, and Missouri are other NCAA tournament locks that have a chance to win the SEC Tournament Championship next Sunday. Auburn will not participate in the SEC Tournament due to self imposed violations. For me, there is no clear favorite after Arkansas, clearly the hottest team in the league, struggled against Texas A&M, who was playing just their second game since they came off of their COVID-19 pause.