Reseeding the 2019 NCAA tournament field for the round of 32
After the past two full days of action in the NCAA tournament, Saturday’s and Sunday’s games will present their participants with the opportunity to advance to the Sweet 16. The selection committee acted admirably in seeding the 68 teams in the field on Selection Sunday. After the opening round, however, we’ve decided to do our own reseeding of the remaining teams.
1. Duke Blue Devils (Original seed: No. 1; Reseed: No. 1)
The Blue Devils needed the first half to get loose against a stubborn North Dakota State squad that took an early seven-point lead. After the break, Duke stopped messing around and outscored the Bison 54-35, as RJ Barrett recorded 26 points and 14 rebounds and Zion Williamson finished with 25 points in the latest edition of “We have a pair of top-three NBA draft picks, and you don’t.”
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (Original seed: 1; Reseed: 1)
When Gonzaga scored just 47 points in a loss to Saint Mary’s in the WCC title game, critics wondered if the Bulldogs were an overrated team that only secured the No. 1 mark in adjusted offensive efficiency due to lopsided wins over subpar programs in league play. But their 1.28 points per possession and 43 percent clip from the 3-point line against Fairleigh Dickinson reminded all of Gonzaga’s offensive potential.
3. Virginia Cavaliers (Original seed: 1; Reseed: 1)
When Gardner-Webb took a 14-point lead over Virginia in the first half, visions of another UMBC-like upset circulated among viewers and on social media. De’Andre Hunter (23 points), however, led a come-from-behind rally as Virginia outscored Gardner-Webb 41-20 after halftime in a great finish that shouldn’t mask the current slump (12-for-47 from the 3-point line in the past two games) for one of America’s top shooting teams.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels (Original seed: 1; Reseed 1)
The Tar Heels mimicked Virginia as they too entered halftime down, trailing by five points against 16-seed Iona in the first round. But Cam Johnson (21 points) and Nassir Little (19 points off the bench) rejuvenated a Tar Heels squad that outscored Iona by 20 points after halftime and recorded a 46 percent offensive rebounding rate.
5. Kentucky Wildcats (Original seed: 2; Reseed: 2)
John Calipari’s team was dominant in a win over Abilene Christian in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, despite not having PJ Washington, who was injured. Yeah, the Wildcats didn’t play a great team, but the 39-13 tally in the first half, sans the team’s best player, was a strong start for Keldon Johnson (25 points, 10-for-16 shooting) and the Wildcats.
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Original seed: 3; Reseed: 2)
There was an unexpected stretch in the first half of Texas Tech’s win over Northern Kentucky on Thursday when the Norse kept things close. But Jarrett Culver (29 points, 10-for-17) played like a lottery pick, and Texas Tech’s defense (0.81 PPP allowed) maintained its status as America’s most effective D in the victory.
7. Michigan State Spartans (Original seed: 2; Reseed: 2)
Although the Spartans outscored Bradley 42-30 in the second half of their first-round win, the game was tied 55-55 with 6:24 to play. With Nick Ward still not 100 percent after suffering a fractured hand late in the regular season and Kenny Goins shooting 1-for-10 in the win, the idea of Cassius Winston (26 points) going cold and Michigan State crumbling in the future remains a concern.
8. Michigan Wolverines (Original seed: 2; Reseed: 2)
This is not John Beilein’s most potent offense within his tenure at Michigan. But last season’s national runner-up possesses a suppressing defense that used the same formula on Thursday that could guide the Wolverines to another Final Four after the team held Montana to a 38 percent mark inside the arc and a 25 percent success rate from the 3-point line.
9. Tennessee Volunteers (Original seed: 2; Reseed: 3)
The Volunteers, who are 7-4 in their past 11 games, had a healthy lead in a first-round win over Colgate before they allowed a 22-8 run to a Raiders squad that scored more points against Tennessee (70) than it did in a loss to Boston University (68). Tennessee’s defensive slip in recent weeks isn’t something folks should ignore.
10. Houston Cougars (Original seed: 3; Reseed: 3)
Prior to Houston’s defeat against Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference tournament title game, the Cougars — one of America’s best defensive teams — had lost only two games throughout the season. An 84-55 win (Corey Davis Jr. finished with 26 points) over Georgia State allowed the Cougars to display their ability to morph into an efficient scoring outfit, as well.
11. Kansas Jayhawks (Original seed: 4; Reseed: 3)
The Jayhawks seemed vulnerable after entering the NCAA tournament dealing with injuries and other unknowns. Yet the output in their 24-point win over Northeastern in the opening round (Dedric Lawson finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds) suggested that this Kansas team has moved forward without Udoka Azubuike and Lagerald Vick and can still play at a high level if Lawson gets help (Devon Dotson scored 18 points).
12. Auburn Tigers (Original seed: 5; Reseed: 3)
The Tigers claimed the SEC tournament title on Sunday with a 20-point win over Tennessee, elevating themselves to “sleeper” status entering the NCAA tournament. Then the Tigers barely escaped in the final seconds against New Mexico State (69 percent clip inside the arc) with a one-point victory in the first round on Friday, halting some of the chatter about a team that forced 16 turnovers but nearly squandered the win.
13. Villanova Wildcats (Original seed: 6; Reseed: 4)
Don’t let Villanova’s 61-57 tally over Saint Mary’s in the opening round of the NCAA tournament fool you. Jay Wright’s squad connected on 55 percent of its shots inside the arc and 40 percent of its 3-pointers, while committing just seven turnovers in the 56-possession matchup.
14. Buffalo Bulls (Original seed: 6; Reseed: 4)
Nate Oats protested an emotional matchup against Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley, his good friend and mentor, in the opening round. But CJ Massinburg, Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins combined to score 60 of their team’s 91 points in a strong win for Buffalo.
15. Virginia Tech Hokies (Original seed: 4; Reseed: 4)
Buzz Williams’ squad did the bulk of its best work in the first half of a win over Saint Louis when Virginia Tech outscored the Billikens 40-18. The Hokies fizzled a bit after halftime, but they managed to force 18 turnovers in the victory.
16. Murray State Racers (Original seed: 12; Reseed: 4)
Ja Morant lived up to the hype as one of America’s top playmakers and a projected top-three pick in this summer’s NBA draft when he registered just the eighth triple-double in NCAA tournament history in a 19-point upset of Marquette in the first round. Plus, big efforts by Shaq Buchanan and Tevin Brown showed that Morant has talent around him, which should scare the field.
17. Florida State Seminoles (Original seed: 4; Reseed: 5)
Leonard Hamilton’s squad failed to adjust as Vermont connected on 16 of 32 attempts from beyond the arc in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In the end, a Florida State squad that played without injured veteran Phil Cofer overwhelmed the Catamounts in the final minutes with its size and athleticism.
18. Wofford Terriers (Original seed: 7; Reseed: 5)
Fletcher Magee (24 points) and the Terriers had a bark — sorry, couldn’t help it — down the stretch of a 84-68 win over Seton Hall on Thursday, after squandering a double-digit lead at halftime. Still, they scored 27 points and made five of six 3-point attempts in the final 9:26 of the game, which is why this hot-handed Wofford squad is a sexy upset pick in Saturday’s game against Kentucky.
19. Washington Huskies (Original seed: 9; Reseed: 5)
Utah State won the Mountain West tournament championship, the culmination of a 17-1 stretch. But Craig Smith’s team had nothing for Pac-12 champion Washington, which forced 21 turnovers in a convincing 78-61 win for a Huskies squad that needed one.
20. Oregon Ducks (Original seed: 12; Reseed: 5)
Dana Altman’s program started the NCAA tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country — the Ducks were riding an eight-game win streak — with a defense that had given up 60 points or more just twice since late February. If there were any doubts about Oregon’s improvement in the subpar Pac-12, the Ducks secured validation with their 72-54 win over Wisconsin, a top-five defensive team and Big Ten contender.
21. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Original seed: 10; Reseed: 6)
Gabe Kalscheur (24 points) was one of five players who produced double figures for Richard Pitino’s squad in a 10-point win over Louisville in the first round. The Cardinals had struggled since early February. And it showed Thursday, as the Golden Gophers made 11 3-pointers (1.34 PPP), did what they wanted around the rim and dominated a program that had played top-25 defense.
22. Purdue Boilermakers (Original seed: 3: Reseed: 6)
The Boilermakers played an ugly affair against Old Dominion, which is top-40 in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom, to advance to the second round. Carsen Edwards (7-for-23), who has not made more than 35 percent of his shots in the past four games, scored 26 points. A Big Ten co-champion registered just 0.94 points per possession against Conference USA’s top team.
23. Oklahoma Sooners (Original seed: 9; Reseed: 6)
The post-Trae Young Sooners have relied on their improved defense (top-25). But an explosive offense registered 95 points in a win over Ole Miss (a team that has been in a free-fall for weeks) and connected on 61 percent of its shots inside the arc to advance Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament.
24. Baylor Bears (Original seed: 9; Reseed: 6)
Scott Drew’s squad has been impacted by injuries throughout the season, but the Bears possessed the most efficient offense in Big 12 play. And Syracuse learned as much when Jim Boeheim’s zone surrendered a 16 for 34 mark (47 percent) in falling to Baylor, which ended a four-game losing streak, in the first round.
25. Maryland Terrapins (Original seed: 6; Reseed: 7)
Although Belmont’s Dylan Windler finished with 35 points, Maryland largely suppressed a good Bruins team in the second half of a 79-77 victory on Thursday. But the Terps had to fight through a double-digit hole before the break in a game that properly illustrated the frustrating team Mark Turgeon has coached over the past two months.
26. LSU Tigers (Original seed: 3; Reseed 7)
The Tigers have aimed to show the world they can still play at the same level that helped them capture the SEC championship after losing coach Will Wade (indefinite suspension for potential ties to a pay-for-play scheme) and exiting their conference tournament with an opening-round loss to Florida. In the second half of a win over Yale, interim coach Tony Benford’s squad was outscored 45-34, which didn’t help the program make its case.
27. Ohio State Buckeyes (Original seed: 11; Reseed: 7)
Chris Holtmann now has won an NCAA tournament game in five consecutive seasons after Ohio State held off Iowa State, the Big 12 tournament champion, on Friday night in a 62-59 win. The Buckeyes are 4-2 over the past six games in which Kaleb Wesson (21 points against Iowa State on Friday after missing a recent three-game stretch due to suspension) has logged minutes.
28. UC Irvine Anteaters (Original seed: 13; Reseed: 7)
The Anteaters, who boast the nation’s top defense inside the arc, held Kansas State to a 43.7 percent mark on 2-pointers in their upset of the Big 12 champs, who played without star Dean Wade. Max Hazzard & Co. made some big shots in the final minutes to seal the win.
29. Iowa Hawkeyes (Original seed: 10; Reseed: 8)
The Hawkeyes, who had won just two of their past eight games entering the NCAA tournament, overcame another challenging situation when they turned an early 13-point deficit into a 79-72 win over a Cincinnati squad that finished second behind Houston in the American Athletic Conference. The Hawkeyes, who made 54.7 percent of their shots, were led by Luka Garza (20 points).
30. Florida Gators (Original seed: 10; Reseed: 8)
The Gators beat a Nevada squad that finished 5-4 after winning 24 of its first 25 games. Jalen Hudson (15 points) and his teammates made fewer than 30 percent of their 3-point attempts, but they held a top-40 offense under one point per possession.
31. UCF Knights (Original seed: 9; Reseed: 8)
Tacko Fall (13 points, eight rebounds and five blocks) was brilliant in a 15-point win over VCU in the first round on Friday. Johnny Dawkins has a team that has held its opponents under 65 points in the past five wins.
32. Liberty Flames (Original seed: 12; Reseed: 8)
Mississippi State finished with a 2-4 record in its last six games when it suffered an 80-76 loss to Liberty in the first round. The Flames, who made just 34 percent of their 3-point attempts in the Atlantic Sun Conference, made 12-of-25 against the Bulldogs.
More at http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/26335371/reseeding-2019-ncaa-tournament-field-round-32