Here’s today’s installment of “The Breakfast Buffet”, the morning column on everything that’s happened from the day/night before and everything that’s going to happen in the next 24 hours.
Things To Sample
The door is wide open for Alabama to reach the Final Four
The Crimson Tide are a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever and they’ve got an outstanding chance to reach the Final Four in Houston. All of the other high seeds in the South Region have holes. Arizona is coming off a Pac-12 Tournament title, but doesn’t have the same ceiling or guard play that it had a year ago. Baylor? The Bears have explosiveness on the perimeter and good size up front, but enter the NCAA Tournament on the heels of back-to-back losses to Iowa State. The top of the region features a No. 4 seed in Virginia that just lost a key piece in Ben Vander Plas for the season and a No. 5 seed in San Diego State that goes through long droughts offensively. It’s hard to see Alabama falling short of the Final Four.
Duke could have a pseudo home court advantage if it reaches the second weekend
For years this program has played at least one game each season at Madison Square Garden. That’s where the Blue Devils will play if they win their first two games. “Cameron Indoor Stadium North”? It’s a real possibility. Duke will enter the NCAA Tournament on a nine-game winning streak and fresh off an ACC Tournament title. Jon Scheyer’s squad will open the Round of 64 on Thursday in Orlando against Oral Roberts.
Purdue got a brutal draw
It’s a Final Four of bust season for the Boilers, who won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament title. Their draw is beyond rugged. Memphis — who beat Houston on Sunday in finals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament — could be Purdue’s opponent in the Round of 32. If it advances from there, Duke could be waiting in the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden. The Boilers have their hands full.
On The Side
- Four of UCLA’s last five Final Four appearances came out of the West Region. The one that didn’t? Two years ago during COVID in Indianapolis. The Bruins will open the Round of 64 against UNC Asheville as the No. 2 seed in the West Region.
- The first round game that I’d pay the most to see? UConn against Iona on Friday in Albany. Dan Hurley against Rick Pitino? Yes, please!
- San Diego State has its highest NCAA Tournament seed (five) under Brian Dutcher and its highest NCAA Tournament seed since it was a four seed in 2014 and advanced to the Sweet 16 under Steve Fisher. The Aztecs will face Charleston in the Round of 64.
- Looking for a mid-major guard that could explode later this week? Try UC Santa Barbara’s Ajay Mitchell. The 6-5 sophomore averaged 24 points and 5.3 assists during the Big West Tournament and has been one of the best guards on the West Coast all season. The Gauchos are the No. 14 seed in the South Region and will open the NCAA Tournament against Baylor on Friday in Denver.
- Wednesday night’s First Four matchup between Arizona State and Nevada will present an interesting dynamic for Sun Devils guard Desmond Cambridge, who played two seasons for the Wolf Pack before transferring to Tempe. Cambridge averaged 16 points points during three games last week at the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
- The Breakfast Buffet: UConn’s dominance, Andre Jackson, Florida Atlantic’s path is similar to Loyola Chicago in 2018
- The Breakfast Buffet: Things come full circle for Gonzaga and UConn, Kansas State, Rodney Terry
- The Breakfast Buffet: Markquis Nowell, UCLA will always be left wondering what could have been, FAU
- The Breakfast Buffet: Rick Barnes’ best chance to return to the Final Four, Adama Sanogo, Gonzaga/UCLA
- The Breakfast Buffet: Tobin Anderson, the Big East’s roster of head coaches is elite, Bobby Hurley