March Madness has officially arrived. The NCAA Tournament committee unveiled the 68-team bracket live on CBS on Sunday evening, so seeding is locked in, matchups are decided and the lasting drama of the bubble has finally popped.
At the top of the bracket, Gonzaga, as expected, clinched the committee’s No. 1 overall seed and will play out of the West Region. It’s the fifth time under Mark Few the Bulldogs have earned a No. 1 seed and the second time in as many years it will enter the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. They’re joined on the No. 1 seed line by Arizona (South Region), Kansas (Midwest Region) and Baylor (East Region)
Auburn (Midwest) and Kentucky (East) headlined the next line of teams at the No. 2 spot by the committee after both turned in impressive resumes that might’ve been good enough for 1-seeds if not for early SEC Tournament exits. Villanova (South) and Duke (West) are the final No. 2 seeds in the field.
In bubble drama, Sunday caused some shifting in the landscape after Richmond won the A-10 and stole a bid from teams on the bubble. Indiana, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Wyoming were the last four teams to get into the field, according to the committee. Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas A&M weren’t as fortunate, however, and they were the first teams out of this year’s field.
Here are a few takeaways from the 2022 NCAA Tournament bracket reveal on Selection Sunday.
1. No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga gets tough draw
As a reward for earning the top overall seed in the tournament, the committee stuck the Zags with a gauntlet of a region. In the West, Duke is the No. 2, Texas Tech is the No. 3 and Arkansas is the No. 4. Each of those teams could be in the Final Four, and each presents unique challenges should it face Gonzaga. Now, the Bulldogs are the top team in the tourney for a reason, and they’ve got the goods to overcome the tough draw. But it’s about as brutal a region as it could possibly have gotten. Even if their path to the Final Four for a third time in the last four tournaments would only include Arkansas and one of either Duke or Texas Tech, it’s a nasty path and they will certainly have earned it.
2. Richmond steals Dayton’s spot
Richmond’s win in the A-10 title game Sunday over No. 1 seed Davidson threw a huge bid thief into the mix on the final day of action. The win, which moved Dayton from the last team in the field to the first team out of the field — a point confirmed by NCAA Division I basketball committee chair Tom Burnett on the CBS broadcast. It’s a double whammy after Richmond knocked the Flyers out of the A-10 tourney on Saturday.
3. Tennessee gets jobbed with No. 3 seed
Despite winning the SEC Tournament and entering Sunday’s Selection show as winners of 15 of its final 17, Tennessee drew a No. 3 seed in the South — arguably the most obviously under-seeded team. I’ll let my colleague Matt Norlander expound.
It’s a pretty big shock to the system to see the Vols as a 3-seed and Duke as a 2-seed in the West. But on its face, it might just work out. The South’s a far more winnable region than the West, where Duke is, and there’s a real chance the Vols continue their incredible few weeks with a deep tourney run.
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