Quick impressions about the NCAA basketball tournament after getting a look at the pairings:
- North Carolina earned its No. 1 seed in the East but won’t have it easy getting out of the East. The Tar Heels should escape Winston-Salem, though they’ll be pushed in the second round. Michigan State plays terrific defense but has serious trouble scoring and Marquette has three good guards and a coach, Tom Crean, who’ll have the Eagles convinced they can win if they get past the Spartans.
- Speaking of Winston-Salem, it got a terrific group of teams. Just look at the coaches – Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, Bobby Knight, Al Skinner, John Thompson III and Crean are there.
- If the seedings hold, North Carolina and Texas would meet in the regional semifinal in East Rutherford, N.J. That’s Kevin Durant against Brandan Wright. Think CBS would like that one?
- Winthrop gets an No. 11 seed and gets shipped to Spokane, Wash. That’s a long way to go to become the next George Mason but the Eagles can beat Notre Dame. It doesn’t mean they will but it won’t be a shock. And if they can beat the Irish, they can beat Oregon.
- A No. 6 seed for Duke is about right. If the Blue Devils get the Sweet Sixteen, they’ll have done something because it would mean beating Pittsburgh. For that to happen, Mike Krzyzewski must get his team playing defense again. Without consistent scoring ability, these Blue Devils live and die by their defense – which explains why they’re a six seed.
- Davidson gets Maryland in the first round. The Wildcats will make it tough on the Terps, who can get antsy when their frustration level rises. But Davidson can’t live by Stephen Curry alone. Or can it?
- Syracuse won 22 games and had 10 Big East wins and was left out. They have reason to be angry. So does Florida State, though it wasn’t a surprise when the ‘Noles were left out again.
- Ohio State got a great draw. Memphis, Texas A&M and Virginia are the other top seeds in the Buckeyes’ region. That’s hardly terrifying. Virginia is seeded too high and neither the Aggies nor Memphis have a Final Four look about them.
- The best potential second-round games: Florida versus Arizona; Kansas against Kentucky or Villanova; Duke against Pitt; Boston College-Georgetown; Indiana-UCLA; Davidson-Butler.