2014 NCAA Tournament: Wide Open Race For Final Two No. 1 Seeds

By Matthew Sturgeon
Florida Gators
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Selection Sunday is only 12 short days away.

The NCAA Tournament selection committee is getting closer to finalizing the bracket and helping realize the dreams of some teams while crushing the hopes of others. In these final two weeks of the regular season, teams all across the college basketball landscape will be vying to qualify for the big dance; some will make it, some won’t. Others that are certain to qualify will be jockeying for seeding as it is ever so important to avoid those difficult first-round match-ups.

While the next couple of weeks will focus on who’s on and off the bubble, the biggest and most interesting uncertainty that this year’s tournament still has is which two teams are going to rise up and earn the final No. 1 seeds.

The Florida Gators and the Arizona Wildcats are virtual locks; but, for the other two spots, there is a plethora of candidates which will surely lead to great debate amongst the selection committee.

As many as eight, yes eight teams can make a strong case for being a No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. That says all you need to know about the crazy college basketball season we’ve had. Year after year, the “parity” talk gets thrown around NCAA hoops — fair or not — but for this particular season, I can’t remember that ever being more true.

Florida, Arizona and certainly Wichita State fans will argue with me here, but the way I see it, there is absolutely no dominant team this season. That’s why this tournament is setting up to be fantastic.

Billy Donovan‘s Gators — at least right now — look like the best team in all of college basketball. They’re experienced, cohesive and play with tremendous energy and toughness. Based off of that and their terrific resume (currently 16-0 in SEC), they’re going to be the No. 1 seed in the south region.

For Sean Miller‘s Wildcats, a lot of the same can be said. They have tremendous talent, length and they can really defend. Arizona’s guard play is exceptional as well with Nick Johnson and T.J. McConnell — maybe the best backcourt in America. Like Florida, based on their overall body of work, Arizona is going to be a No. 1 seed out West.

The third No. 1 seed is going to go the ACC Tournament winner. Whether it’s VirginiaSyracuse or Duke, whichever team wins that conference tournament is going to receive a No. 1 seed.

And then it gets interesting. Very, very interesting.

Wichita State is 31-0; they haven’t lost; how could they possibly not be a No. 1 seed? Well, I’m one of those guys, Shocker fans, who firmly believes you have to beat somebody to earn respect. Sure, they’ve ran the table so far and that’s a wonderful accomplishment. Having said that, their best win is Saint Louis and the Missouri Valley Conference is to be kind, awful. If the Shockers win their conference tournament this weekend, they’ll be a No. 1 seed. If they don’t, they won’t.

Kansas‘ resume is better and quite frankly, so is a team like Wisconsin‘s. The list doesn’t end there. Villanova is more deserving, and if they win out in the regular season and go on to win the Big Ten Tournament, so are the Michigan Wolverines. If three of these teams (obviously only one Big Ten team) and Wichita State win their respective conference tournaments, it’s going to make for one heck of a Selection Sunday.

The reason I’ve grouped these five teams together is because they’re going to be competing for the final No. 1 seed. I can’t stress this enough: I have no disrespect towards the Shockers. I just feel that based on resumes and overall body of work, other teams have done far more and thus should be rewarded ahead of them.

Only time will tell who steps up to earn the final two No. 1 seeds in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. One thing’s for sure, though. This next month is going to be absolutely awesome, and I can’t wait to watch the madness unfold.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27

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