Could a No. 1 Seed Fall for the Second Time?

Basketball on empty court
It’s that time of the year again for the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament to commence. This tournament consistently delivers its share of highs and lows, classic matchups and unforgettable upsets. The biggest of the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament upsets to date came in 2018 when a No.1 seed, the University of Virginia, lost in the first round to a No. 16 seed, the UMBC.

For sports betting enthusiasts, it represented a pivotal moment for March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament picks. It showed that it was possible for a number 1 seed to fall out in the first round. Before then, it was the unlikeliest of picks. This was the first time in the association’s history that a March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament No. 1 seed had been knocked out in the first round.

The seeding system for the tournament is set up so that the best performing teams are spread out in the knockouts so that there is a higher likelihood that they’ll meet in the top four teams. The truth is that this also allows some of the lower-seeded teams an opportunity to take down a top-seeded team.

The interesting paradox is that the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament seeding sets the perfect conditions for an upset. For the top-seeded teams, playing against lower-seeded opposition puts the expectation firmly in their corner. It can be difficult to get that match-winning focus if you’re already thinking about the next round. For the lower seeded teams, playing against tournament favorites can feel like a final in itself. This helps players to play to their full potential.

This season has already had many upsets and unforeseen results. There is certainly a chance that we could see a repeat of 2018. This makes for some potentially lucrative March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament picks. It is important to stress however, that the top-seeded teams are seeded high for a reason – they have been the best four teams of the season thus far. So even if the odds are enticing, you should still use your head when placing a wager.

On March 15, the Sunday when selections take place, we’ll know what the 2020 March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament seeding will be. At this point in the season, we already have a good idea of who the four March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament No. 1 seeds could be. Here are our No. 1 seeds, and what we think their chances are of falling out in the first round.

Kansas

Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives to the basket during the game against the Harvard Crimson at Allen Fieldhouse
Kansas had a disappointing tournament in 2019. They were a No. 4 seed and went out in the second round to Auburn University. This year, they regrouped and came back stronger.

Season to date

This season has seen Kansas University assert themselves as a clear No. 1 seed. They have done so despite a cloud of serious accusations about breaking recruiting rules. The accusations are that an Adidas marketing exec and a Kansas bag man funneled cash to recruit players to Kansas. The investigation is still ongoing but it would form a backdrop to this season, should Kansas University go all the way.

This season, Kansas looks like the best team in college basketball. They will arguably go into the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament as the tournament favorites. This has been fully deserved as their performances on the court have been championship-winning quality.

Their standout performers have been Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garret, and Ochai Agbaji. Dotson leads the Kansas team in scoring, averaging over 17 points and 4 assists per game. Azubuike has been an instrumental player averaging a double-double of over 13 points and over 10 rebounds per game. Garret and Agbaji have been the all-rounders that championship winners need. Garret averages close to 5 assists, 10 points and over 4 rebounds per game. Agbaji averages 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game.

All in all, they look the part and will likely be one of the top seeds for March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Chances of falling out in the first round

Kansas have only lost three times this season, to Duke, Villanova, and Baylor. While none of these are upsets in the true sense of the word, it does show they can be beaten. The recent brawl in the game against KSU also shows that it’s possible to get under the players’ skin.

If the off-court investigation gathers momentum, it could also shift the focus for the team. They’re not the best candidate for an upset at this point, but it’s worth keeping an eye on college basketball news as we approach the first round.

Baylor

 MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears takes a shot against TJ Holyfield #22 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at Ferrell Center

Last season, Baylor weren’t one of the top seeds for March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. They seeded at No.9 and were knocked out in the second round to Gonzaga. This season they’ve maintained a better consistency.

Season to date

Baylor and Kansas have been battling it out to top the Big 12 Conference. They have played twice and each won once. The last spoils went to Kansas by three points. This was only the second loss of the season for Baylor. The first loss was an upset to Washington earlier in the season.

The strength of Baylor’s performances has come from their scoring prowess and collective defense. For points, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague have been immense. Butler has averaged over 15 points and 3 assists so far this season. Teague has averaged over 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Freddie Gillespie has also been immense, averaging 9 rebounds, 9 points and 2 rebounds per game.

With only two losses so far this season, Baylor will be one of the best March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament teams when it comes to seeding.

Chances of falling out in the first round

Baylor will undoubtedly be one of the top seeds for the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. They have been in fantastic form this season. There will be a doubt lingering in their minds though. What if the Washington performance repeats itself in the tournament? For this reason, they might be worth a second look for sports betting pundits.

If you’re looking for potential March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament upsets, it may involve Baylor. They’ve only lost once since then, so they might have already learned their lesson. Perhaps it could be that it will still come back to haunt them.

San Diego State University

Malik Pope forward for San Diego State University
San Diego State didn’t make the March tournament last season. In contrast, it makes this season all the more impressive. SDSU is having their best season since 2016. They aren’t traditionally one of the big teams in college basketball, but have had one of their best seasons ever.

Season to date

San Diego State University has defied preseason predictions. They were one of the last unbeaten teams this season, and look set to be a March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament No. 1 seed. Duke is on their shoulder though and the season-end might determine who takes one of the four No. 1 seeds.

For the most part, SDSU have excelled in offense. This has been thanks to the performances of Malachi Flynn, Matt Mitchell, Yanni Wetzell, and Jordan Schakel. These four players have averaged over ten points per game. Malachi Flynn has been the standout, averaging 17 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game. Mention must also be made of Nathan Mensah who has averaged 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.

If San Diego State University don’t let their recent loss unnerve them, it could be a historical season for them.

Chances of falling out in the first round

Should SDSU maintain their form and be selected as a March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament No. 1 seed, they would be a strong contender for an upset. They have had a remarkable season. But having not qualified last season, they might not have the experience to maintain the form into the first round.

For sports betting fans, it’s a win-win. San Diego State University would have decent March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament odds to go all the way, and equally to be knocked out in the first round.

Gonzaga

Joel Ayayi #11 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts after hitting a 3-pointer against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the championship game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena

Gonzaga is one of the top college basketball teams and have appeared in 21 consecutive National Association tournaments. Having been runner ups in 2017, Gonzaga are still on the search for their first championship title.

Season to date

Gonzaga has had an excellent season and have lost only a couple of games. The most noticeable loss came against Michigan. In a similar way to Baylor’s loss to Washington, it encapsulates a season primed for upsets.

Gonzaga look set to top the West Coast Conference. Their stand out performer has been Filip Petrusev. He has averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds per game. His scoring exploits have been supported by four teammates who are averaging over 10 points per game. These players are Corey Kispert, Admon Gilder, Joel Ayayi, and Ryan Woolridge.

Chances of falling out in the first round

Gonzaga looks in the mood to impress this season. Despite a recent loss to BYU, they don’t seem to be on course for a first round exit. At the same time, the loss against Michigan has asked questions that may still remain unanswered. Ultimately, they should progress comfortably and make a claim for their first championship title.

Will lightning strike twice?

Once the selections and seeding of the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament teams are released, it will be worth browsing through the March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament odds for a first round upset of a No. 1 seed. It has only ever happened once before, but it might have been a watershed moment.

If San Diego State and Baylor are No. seeds, they might be the likely candidates to have the unwanted honor of repeating history. For sports betting fans, it might add an additional level of intrigue to this year’s March Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

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