Pitt leads race for No. 1 seed

The NCAA Tournament selection show is less than three weeks away and all the top teams are making a case for the four coveted No. 1 seeds.’

The committee looks at several deciding factors including record, strength of schedule, Ratings Percentage Index, key wins, key losses and conference records.Here are my four No. 1 seeds for March Madness.

The No. 1 overall seed should be the Pittsburgh Panthers (25-2, 12-2 Big East), who are led by their incredible tandem at forward in senior Sam Young and sophomore DeJuan Blair. Pittsburgh is atop the very competitive Big East and has already beaten previously top-ranked Connecticut, Syracuse and Florida State this season.

Senior point guard Levance Fields is averaging 10.9 points with 7.5 assists with a phenomenal assist-to-turnover ratio of four-to-one. The Panthers lost two tough road games to top-15 ranked Louisville and Villanova, but with Blair breaking out this season (15.8 points and 13 rebounds per game) the Panthers should go deep into the tournament.’

Despite a loss to Pittsburgh, the Connecticut Huskies (25-2, 13-2 Big East) also deserve a No. 1 seed. The Huskies have a low block tandem with senior Jeff Adrien and junior Hasheem Thabeet, both averaging double-doubles this season.’

The loss of junior guard Jerome Dyson to a torn MCL will set the Huskies back, but head coach Jim Calhoun has faith in senior guards A.J. Price and Craig Austrie to step up. The Huskies have huge wins over Villanova, Gonzaga and Miami and should be a threat in this year’s tournament.

It may seem like I am a Big East fan since my first two No. 1 seeds play in that conference, but I believe the Oklahoma Sooners (25-2, 11-1 Big 12) should receive one as well. The Sooners have had an amazing season, led by sophomore stud Blake Griffin, who is averaging 22 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. Despite their loss at Texas on Saturday, the Sooners have dominated the Big 12 this season.

Griffin, who may be the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, has scored in double figures in every game this season until he was literally knocked out of the Texas game with a concussion. The Sooners will need a healthy Griffin to carry them in the tournament or else an early exit is looming for the Sooners.’

The final No. 1 seed goes to North Carolina (24-3, 10-3 ACC), simply because they have the most talent despite three ACC losses. The Tar Heels, led by senior forward Tyler Hansbrough, are first in the ACC and have five players who are averaging double figures in scoring.’

Freshman seven-footer Tyler Zeller has recently returned for injury and junior point guard Ty Lawson is an exciting player to watch and will lead the Tar Heels to the Final Four for the second consecutive year.’

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