You’ve probably read countless pieces focusing on why the best teams in college basketball will win the NCAA Tournament. Experts everywhere have picked teams like Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Gonzaga to win it all. Admittedly, they’re all very strong teams with a lot going for them. It’s easy to see why they have a great shot at winning. On the flip side, we’re here to spot the weaknesses of those teams. We want to see what might stand in the way of them cutting down the nets. The things you should know when filling out your bracket so you aren’t just picking a winner based on their seeding. For this list, we’ll be looking at the four No. 1 seeds in this year’s bracket.
The lowest ranked of the top seeds are the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They’re kind of tough to dissect because they’ve been such a well-oiled machine all year, yet they haven’t faced much competition. Therein lies the problem. Their strength of schedule was so poor, it’s hard to tell how they’ll fare in the tournament. Sure, they beat Duke but they also lost to UNC and Tennessee. Those were the only other notable teams they faced this season. Teams that haven’t been tested often don’t fare well in the Big Dance. Gonzaga also struggles to guard the three and grabbing defensive rebounds. Those three key programs they faced this year all destroyed them on the offensive glass.
A Roy Williams coached team is always a threat to win it all and this year’s UNC squad is no different. But, they are certainly not without their faults. A consistent issue for the Tar Heels in recent years has been defending the deep ball. If a team gets even a little hot from downtown, UNC could be on the heels on a major upset. Four of their six losses came when they gave up a double digit amount of three pointers at a high percentage. There’s also the question of Nassir Little. He and Cody White combine for a talented duo, but he’s been inconsistent. If he isn’t at his best, UNC might be in store for some serious trouble against the other top teams in the bracket.
Based on recent memory, this one should be clear. Virginia was the number one overall seed last year and made dubious history by losing to a No. 16 seed. And it wasn’t even close, as they were blown out by 20. This goes back further than 2018. Under head coach Tony Bennett, the Cavaliers are just 7-6 in the NCAA Tournament. And they almost always are a respectable seed and the favorites in their games. Simply put, this is a program that has been known to come up short in recent years. No matter how impressive they looked during the regular season, can you really trust Virginia at this point?
It is hard to find flaws in this Duke team. They’re one of the most talented groups in NCAA history. Freshmen phenoms Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones make for a scary opponent. But, we’ve kind of been here before. Teams loaded with talent that are about to head to the NBA usually don’t make for NCAA Tournament winners. If they did, John Calipari would have more than one title on his resume. We’re not saying these guys don’t want it, but when the bright lights of the NBA are on the horizon, it can blind you. Teams with guys who don’t exactly have All-Star caliber NBA careers ahead of them sometimes see this tournament as the biggest moment of their careers. They typically do better here. For a more statistical reason to bet against Duke, they are wildly average as shooters. Since an explosion against Virginia a while back, they’re barely hitting 26% from deep and have key players under 70% at the free throw line.