March Madness Bracket Projections, Week 15: No. 1 Seeds

    March Madness bracket projections for Week 15 of the 2015-16 season. The No. 1 seeds are starting to become clearer with each passing week.

    February 15, 2016


    March Madness bracket projections for Week 15 of the 2015-16 season. The No. 1 seeds are starting to become clearer.


    The NCAA Tournament is about matchups as much as anything else.
    A good draw in the Big Dance could mean the difference between having to play some of the toughest underdogs around or getting to stay comfy cozy near home most of the way to the Final Four. Sure, every team wants to win its conference championship, but for the elite clubs in the country, every win takes a program one step closer to a coveted No. 1 seed in one of the four regions of the NCAA Tournament.

    Which four will it be? We’ll see in just about a month’s time, but here’s the four who deserve it the most right now in this week’s March Madness bracket projections. 

    East

    Villanova Wildcats

    The Wildcats are the No. 1 team in the country and would take home the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament bracket if Selection Sunday went down right now. No, the Wildcats aren’t the consensus No. 1 in the land, but they’ve run off five straight wins and have lost just once since Christmas. Forward Josh Hart is playing his best basketball of the season to lead ‘Nova, and Jay Wright’s team only has one ranked team—at Xavier Feb. 24—left on the schedule in the regular season. A hiccup would hurt and could permanently knock Villanova out of a top seed, but right now, the Wildcats have a clear path to the top spot in the tourney.

    Midwest

    Kansas Jayhawks

    Yes, we know about the losses to West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. And yes, this Kansas team can be pretty inconsistent in stretches. But KU also has knocked off Oklahoma twice this season, both in epic style (the triple OT thriller in January) and at OU’s place Saturday in a game the Jayhawks controlled most of the way. Bill Self’s team can still improve, but its balance and ability to close is going to make KU tough to beat down the stretch. Road games at Baylor and Texas loom large, as does a revenge match at Kansas State Feb. 20.

    South

    Maryland Terrapins

    How can a team that lost at home Saturday take a top seed in the tourney if it started right now? Maryland suffered a double-digit loss to a so-so Wisconsin team, but it could be the last time the Terps lose if they avoid trouble at Purdue and at Indiana at the end of February and into early March. Maryland fell victim to an off-shooting night vs. the Badgers, partially thanks to UW’s defense and partially because shots just weren’t falling. Diamond Stone, Jake Layman, Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon are the toughest foursome in the country, and Trimble won’t have many 1-of-14 outings the rest of this season. Fear the turtle come tourney time.

    West

    Oklahoma Sooners

    Did Oklahoma peak too early? That’s a legitimate concern, and it’s one of the reasons a strong Xavier team nearly took this spot. But even with the loss to Kansas, OU only has four defeats this season, and two of those have been to another No. 1 seed on our list. The other two losses were on the road, and one of those came vs. a very good Iowa State squad. Those are the facts. Here’s the fun. OU will have to prove it deserves a top seed down the stretch by going on the road to West Virginia and Texas, and the Sooners need a bit more out of the guys around Buddy Hield. Hield’s supporting cast has been solid so far this year, but the target on Hield’s back grows with each passing game, and Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard could stand to take on a bit more of the load. If OU finds its consistency, look out.

    MORE: Projected AP Top 25 Rankings, Week 15

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