As the bracket will be revealed tomorrow, the most talented teams become easier to identify. However, a talented team is not necessarily a tournament-ready team. These teams are loaded with experience and motivation to take the NCAA tournament by storm. These are the 10 teams that outshine the others in terms of tournament-readiness:
10. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
The Blue Raiders, as a 15 seed, upset 2 seed Michigan St. last year with the leadership of Reggie Upshaw and Giddy Potts. A year later, this team is even better, as almost everyone has returned for another tournament run.
9. Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines are loaded with experienced players. Leading scorers Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton decided to return for a senior season. Juniors Muhammad Rahkman and Duncan Robinson give solid minutes to this team. Sophomores DJ Wilson and Mo Wagner have emerged into elite big men. Watch out for this team.
8. Duke Blue Devils
Duke is arguably the most talented team in the nation. However, with leaders Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, Matt Jones, and Amile Jefferson returning for this season, Duke has experience, too. This experience combined with freshman talent can lead to a deep tournament run.
7. Iowa St. Cyclones
Iowa St. made a sweet sixteen run last year, and with the loss of top scorer Georges Niang, the Cyclones faced some adversity. However, this team rallied with the leadership of point guard Monte Morris, big man Deonte Burton, and sharp shooter Naz Long. Don’t sleep on this team, because they are very talented and motivated to make another run.
6. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas lost top scorers Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden from last year, but POY finalist Frank Mason and sharpshooter Devonte Graham have emerged into one of the best backcourts in the nation. Plus, the edition of freshman Josh Jackson adds a spark to the Jayhawks’ front court.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame always plays hard. Even though they lost big man Zach Auguste and point guard Demetrius Jackson, the Fighting Irish have still made its way to the ACC championship, partially due to the emergence of junior guard Matt Farrell.
4. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin made a sweet sixteen run as a 7 seed last year. Their whole starting lineup returned for this season, and the Badgers look even better. Big man Ethan Happ and guard Bronson Koenig will lead Wisconsin for a potential tourney run.
3. Villanova Wildcats
The defending champion is back again as the potential #1 overall seed. The loss of Ryan Arcidiacano and Daniel Ochefu has led to the emergence of point guard Jalen Brunson, but the Wildcats still have no post play. Regardless, Villanova’s starting lineup, led by senior Josh Hart, is still loaded with experienced players looking for another deep run.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels
As the defending runner-up, North Carolina is one of the favorites to win it all. Seniors Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks have combined as one of the best front courts and rebounding duos in the nation. Joel Berry and Justin Jackson have greatly improved to fill the empty role that Marcus Paige occupied last year.
1. Oregon Ducks
Oregon made an elite eight run last year. Almost all of their players have returned for this season. With the leadership of junior Dillon Brooks, the Ducks are better than ever, and they are destined to succeed in the NCAA Tournament.