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NCAA Tournament Bracketology 2018: The 9th Seeds


One of the hardest initial contests to pick accurately is almost always the matchup between the 9th seed and the 8th seed during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Certainly, an 8th seed could very well be swapped out for a 9th seed and vice versa, making it particularly difficult to gauge which program has the slight edge. Yet, this is what March Madness aficionados live for every year as every pick could be the difference between winning your tournament pool or having your bracket busted after the first weekend of the postseason. While the following projected 9th seeds have had their issues when it comes to winning consistently within their respective conferences, each one has a unique collection of specialized athletes that are capable of taking down higher ranked and more reputable opponents when they are playing with elevated confidence and poise. They may not be the best or elite programs in college basketball, but the 9th seeds certainly possess the potential to go far in the tournament if they play their cards right.

South Region:
1. Texas A&M Aggies

Simply put, the Aggies are at their absolute best when they are attacking the glass relentlessly to take away opportunities from their respective opponents while garnering extra scoring opportunities for themselves (41.1 RPG). While they may not be a prolific scoring team, the Aggies have a particularly tenacious defense that rarely lets up when blanketing shooters while blocking shots consistently to prevent overly confident scorers from getting hot from the field (six BPG).

West Region:
1. Florida Gators

Once one of the best scoring programs in college basketball, the Gators have since cooled off noticeably in that department as they are only averaging 76.1 points per game. Luckily for Florida, they are adept at holding onto the basketball and are defensively versatile, which has been vital in allowing them to stay afloat in a deep SEC Conference (seven SPG, five BPG). If the Gators can be a bit more dynamic when it comes to seeing the floor effectively to find their open shooters, they could easily frustrate and overcome most of the opponents they will face in the tournament.

East Region:
1. Florida State Seminoles

When the Seminoles are able to find their shots and garner rebounds consistently, they are a dynamically competitive program that can strike fear into anyone that they face (81.9 PPG, 38.1 RPG). Although their outside shooting abilities leave a lot to be desired (35.2 3P%), they do have the aggressive athletes that can consistently get to the basket and wear down their respective opponents that are physically inferior.

Midwest Region:
1. Virginia Tech

One of the most prolific scoring teams in college basketball (80.6 PPG, 50.1 FG%), the Hokies live and die by their fearless albeit streaky sharpshooters. However, while the Hokies have struggled to string together impressive wins consistently, the fact that they have defeated Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia this season suggests that this program has the intangibles and capable athletes to contend with anyone they will face in the NCAA Tournament.

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