Dribble Handoff: Gonzaga, Arkansas among No. 2-seeded teams in Basketball that can win 2023 NCAA Tournament

The last time someone went under the No. 1 seed was in 2014. 2 in the NCAA Tournament that won the national championship when the No. 7 Connecticut nets. But if there was ever a season where a team was ready to come out of the fray and win it as a No. 1 seed. 3 or worse, here it is.

Purdue has looked like the best team in the nation for several weeks, but the No. 5 some warts recently. While current No. 1 Houston has only lost two games, the No. No. 2 Alabama has an off-court distraction to tackle, and No. 3 Kansas went through a three-game losing streak this season.

Those are the four teams projected as No. 1 seeds. 1 for the Big Dance in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology, and while they’re all great, they all have some flaws. Meanwhile, teams like Duke and Kentucky are lurking in the background destined for the middle seeds but loaded with talent and prestige. Either could inspire fear in a potentially second-round NCAA Tournament game against a highly-seeded foe and ruin the bracket.

So who are the teams slotted below the No. 1 seed line? 2 in Palm’s Bracketology we can see winning the national championship? Our writers made their picks for this week’s Dribble Handoff.

TCU is 18-10 overall, 7-8 in the Big 12 and ranked outside the top 20 on most computers. On the surface level, the Horned Frogs look like a good team but just barely. But it is important to note that Mike Miles Jr. did not play. but in 19 games this season — he was on the court just four minutes at Mississippi State before leaving with an injury — and TCU is 15-4 in those 19 games. with wins over Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State, Providence, Iowa and Oklahoma State. Put another way, TCU is 15-4 when Miles plays at least five minutes, 3-6 when he doesn’t.

The implication is that the Horned Frogs likely would have claimed the top two seeds in the NCAA Tournament had Miles never been sidelined. Since they are only the No. 1 seed. 6 in Jerry Palm’s latest projected bracket, it looks like TCU won’t be an underseed on Selection Sunday relative to his abilities when he’s at full strength, which is why Jamie Dixon’s team worthy. choose if you want to identify a school that could win it despite having a seed that makes it traditionally unlikely. — Gary Parrish

If we are talking about a realistic national title contender below the 2-line, I think the discussion is reasonable to stop at the 5-seeds. So that gives 12 teams worth discussing. Of the 12 in Palm’s latest bracket forecast, only one is coached by a national title winner. I was tempted to take UConn but there is still a final to be won under Dan Hurley.

My choice is Virginia.

Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers aren’t on the same level as his 2018 and 2019 squads, but this Wahoos team ranks in the top 15 in four of the six NCAA Tournament team sheet metrics. The Cavs are 21-4 in ACC down but my pick would be because of veteran point guard play (Kihei Clark was a big piece in winning a national title), elite lockdown defender (future NBA pick Reece Beekman), 3 other reliable. -point shooter alongside Clark and Beekman (Armaan Franklin) and relying mainly on fourth and fifth year players. It’s not pretty, it’s not sexy, but it’s Virginia. — Matt Norlander

Two Final Fours in the last five NCAA Championships, seven straight trips to the second weekend and two national runner-up finishes for Gonzaga under Mark Few … and you’re telling me if I can pick this team as a potential dark horse ? Where do I register?

Look, I get it, I get it. This Zags team, on paper, isn’t as good as the ones that reached the title game in 2017 and 2021. Defensively, it’s the worst the program has been in over a decade and it’s clear that the ability to play and play the sick guard. present.

But this is a discount worth taking if you’re betting on a team outside of the top two projected seeds. (Gonzaga is a 4 seed in Palm’s most recent bracket.) The talent spread around this roster is good enough to beat anyone on any given night. Drew Timme was my pre-season Player of the Year pick; Julian Strawther could be a first rounder; Hunter Sallis was a five-star recruit; and Nolan Hickman was close to surpassing those criteria.

Offense No. 1 at Gonzaga in college basketball, he beat a projected No. 1 overall seed. 1 Alabama earlier this season, it handled Xavier on a neutral court in non-conference play when X was at full strength. There is a full liked by this Zags team which suggests he could make a real run in March. I’ve been putting stock in the Bulldogs and I’d suggest you consider doing the same. — Kyle Boone

You hear that, right? Turn your ear toward Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the sound is unmistakable. The Muss Bus is picking up speed and starting to hum according to schedule. After reaching the Elite Eight after late-season surges each of the past two years, Arkansas is coming back to life. The Razorbacks (19-9, 8-7 SEC) are only a projected No. 1 seed. 10 and are still considered a bubble team in Palm’s latest Bracketology. But with five-star freshman guard Nick Smith working his way back into a featured role after an extended absence and the Hogs playing nasty defense, this team has the ingredients to compete with anyone this month next in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

Arkansas closes the regular season at Alabama, at Tennessee and at home against Kentucky. It’s a brutally closed stretch at first glance. But a deeper inspection reveals that it is a golden opportunity to build a resume. Alabama is under scrutiny because of an ugly question outside the court and Tennessee has lost five of seven. Finally, Bud Walton Arena will be bonkers when Kentucky comes to town. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Razorbacks go at least 2-1 to close out the regular season and enter the SEC Tournament with a ton of momentum as a team no one will want to face.

Poor 3-point shooting is the biggest issue for this team. Smith helps solve it and adds a new layer of dynamism to a team that was largely written off nationally because of Smith’s knee issues and the early-season loss of big man Trevon Brazile. But Musselman seems to want this team to reach its full potential at the right time — calm, right? – and Arkansas at its full capacity can reduce nets. – David Cobb

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