We aren’t even halfway through December, but I’m guessing that I could narrow the list of legitimate one seed candidates to less than ten. Without further adieu:
9. Baylor – Wins over Xavier, Louisville, Oregon, and Michigan State look really good on paper. If they can win the Big XII, they’ll land a one seed. The only problem? I don’t see the Bears winning the Big XII while Kansas has Mason, Graham, and Jackson in the guard rotation.
8. Indiana – The Hoosiers already have wins against Kansas and North Carolina, so a bad loss against Fort Wayne can be forgiven. But a bad overall non-conference schedule doesn’t help the cause.
7. Louisville – I don’t think the Cardinals will end up on the one line, but they’ll have their chances to get there in an uber-challenging ACC.
6. UCLA – The Bruins have a huge win at Kentucky already on the resume, but the PAC-12 is easily the weakest of the power conferences this season. This young team will have to be nearly flawless to get on the top line.
5. Kentucky – The Wildcats have a home loss to UCLA and nothing much in the way of good wins, but they still have Kansas and UNC on the non-conference slate to bolster the resume.
4. UNC – The Tar Heels are struggling right now, but they are winning. When healthy, UNC can play with anyone.
3. Villanova – The nation’s top ranked team desperately needs an interior presence that I don’t see in the lineup. But the smartest guards in college basketball could be enough to win the nation’s top RPI-rated league and deliver a one seed to the defending champs.
2. Kansas – The Jayhawks have the best guard play in college basketball, but a tricky Big XII and a road game at Kentucky means the one line will be well-earned.
1. Duke – They’re so incredibly talented. It would be a major disappoint to not be on the one line.