Breaking down the NCAA Tournament top seeds
NEW YORK -- Louisville rode a dominating Big East Tournament title to the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Indiana, Kansas and Gonzaga joined the Cardinals on the top lines of the tournament bracket.
Louisville won't have to go far from home in its first game, as it kicks off its tournament appearance in Lexington. Kansas will have a similar advantage, opening play in Kansas City.
Here is the breakdown of the top seeds:
Rick Pitino's Cardinals have only lost once in the last 14 games, completing their run with a resounding victory over Syracuse in the Big East Tournament final. The Cardinals finished 29-5 with the third-best RPI in the nation. Lead by senior guard Peyton Siva and hot-shooting junior guard Russ Smith, Louisville attacks on both ends, pressing and pressuring teams into submission. The Cardinals finished second in the country in steals per game.
The Jayhawks have looked like the best team in the nation at times, but still suffered some embarassing defeats, particularly to TCU. Kansas emerged on the occasions when it mattered most, winning the regular season and tournament titles in the Big 12. Freshman sensation Ben McLemore spearheads an offense in the top 25 in points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage. Senior center Jeff Withey is one of the best defensive players in college basketball and gives the Jayhawks one of the top inside-outside duos in the tournament.
An inglorious exit in the Big Ten Tournament didn't stop the Hoosiers from landing at No. 1 thanks to perhaps the deepest and most talented roster in college basketball. The Hoosiers were Big Ten Champions in the regular season and finished the year 27-6. Player of the Year candidates Victor Olidipo and Cody Zeller front a dynamic offense, ranking third in the nation in points per game. Indiana also has three players who shoot better than 44 percent from deep, including sharp-shooting Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls.
Concerns over Gonzaga's schedule didn't prevent the 'Zags from grabbing a top seed. The Bulldogs, 31-2, head into the tournament as the top-ranked team in the AP poll thanks to the stellar inside play of center Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris. The duo accounts for nearly 33 points and 15 rebounds per game. Mark Few's team hasn't lost since January and didn't drop a single conference game in the regular season or WCC tournament.