Historically, 3-seeds don’t do well in the tournament, especially as of late. In each of the last four tournaments, a three seed has fallen at the feet of a 14. But that doesn’t mean that at least one 3-seed doesn’t have a deep run in them this tournament season. Let’s have a look at the field.
East Region: Baylor Bears
After not receiving a single vote in the preseason AP polls, Baylor catapulted through the ranks, and found themselves at #1 within a month of the season’s commencement.
But their lack of depth and reliance on size was exploited near the end of the season. They wound up losing 6 of their final 11 games, hence the 3-seed after being near the top of the AP polls for the majority of the year.
History isn’t on their side, either. In each of the past two tournaments, Baylor has fell victim to two major first round upsets: first against Georgia State as a 3-seed, and then again last year, to Yale as a 5-seed.
Likeliness of a Final Four Appearance: 16-1
West Region: Florida State Seminoles
One of the most balanced teams in the nation, the Seminoles have a real crack at this thing because of just that. They don’t rely on anything too heavily, and have 12 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game.
It’s a tight knit group where every player knows their role. And they accept those roles, no matter how minuscule. From defensive specialist to sharpshooter, from full court presser to savvy scorer, these roles were carved out as the season progressed, and give Florida State a reasonable chance in a rather weak region.
Chance of a Final Four Appearance: 6-1
Midwest Region: Oregon Ducks
After being run out of the gym by Buddy Hield in last year’s Elite Eight, Oregon are back, and in a very similar position.
With four returning starters, the Ducks haven’t missed a beat, and, led by Dillon Brooks, have pulled off some of the most impressive wins of the season.
Despite a recent history of disappointment in the tournament, Oregon’s wins against top-5 teams during the regular season send a message that they’ve matured, and are ready for the big time. But in a region with some of college basketball’s notorious powerhouses (Kansas and Louisville) only time will tell.
Chance of Final Four Appearance: 9-1
South Region: UCLA Bruins
The revolution of UCLA basketball could very well become to revolution of college basketball. Not only do they win, but they win with an aesthetic style.
Led by Lonzo Ball, the Bruins play the most NBA-like style out of any college team in recent memory. Advocates for the corner three, and deadly on the break, their offense (somewhat) makes up for their sometimes lackluster defense.
Even in arguably the toughest region, UCLA present matchup problems for every team in the nation, and have the best chance of a deep tournament run out of all of the 3-seeds.
Chance of Final Four Appearance: 7-2