Top seeds hope to finish strong

first_imgNow that the conference season is over, all teams have either made their case for the NCAA Tournament or have received automatic bids by winning their regular season conference championship. Now, for the first part of the postseason, top teams will hope to improve on their overall records in order to gain higher seeds in the tournament. On the other side of things, lower-seeded teams hope to play spoiler in their respective conference tournaments to try and gain an automatic bid, possibly pushing other teams out of contention. Regardless, in the coming days the competition looks to be a fierce and intense preview of the NCAA Tournament in the following week. Here are Hoops America?s conference tournament predictions.Pac-10 ? UCLA BruinsThe Bruins avoided a big loss with a very lucky shot that won a game over in-state rival California. With that win, the Bruins look to continue their hot play and make a run to win the Pac-10 Tournament. However, watch out for USC as the Trojans have been playing up to their potential recently, culminating their season with a big win over Stanford. O.J. Mayo and Taj Gibson could lead the Trojans over UCLA, but the Bruins, behind Kevin Love, Darren Collison and a strong supporting cast, should win the tournament. Regardless, UCLA is a powerhouse in a strong conference, and whether or not they win the Pac-10 Tournament, it will no doubt be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.Big Ten ? Wisconsin BadgersAfter beating Northwestern on Saturday, the Badgers won the conference outright for the first time since 2003. Now that they have the conference won, however, they don?t want to go into the NCAA Tournament anything lower than a No. 2 seed. That being said, the Badgers will be faced with challenges from the other top five teams in the Big Ten ? Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State. The Buckeyes pose a threat to most teams in the conference because their tournament hopes may be on the line. All-conference guard Jamar Butler will look to lead the Buckeyes to another Big Ten Tournament title, as it may be Ohio State?s only chance to make the NCAA Tournament.Big 12 ? Kansas JayhawksDespite going into the Big 12 tournament as a No. 2 seed, Kansas has played consistently well all season, finishing the season by beating Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, all of which were ranked teams at one point this season. Nevertheless, Texas, with the help of D.J. Augustin, will pose a threat to Kansas? tournament title hopes. Look out for Kansas State to make a run in the tournament ? with probable national player of the year and freshman star Michael Beasley at the helm, there is every reason to believe that the Wildcats should be a very feared team in the conference. Nevertheless, as Kansas is currently slotted at a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, it will look to make its case to the bidding committee and become a possible No. 1 seed.Big East ? Georgetown HoyasThe Big East displays one of the most competitive conferences from top to bottom. Right now, it looks as if the conference will send seven teams to the NCAA Tournament ? more than any other conference in the nation. That being said, several teams can contend for the Big East Tournament title, but Georgetown will end up on top because of coach John Thompson?s ability to keep his team in check and ability to win tough games. Regardless, Jim Calhoun and the Huskies hope to continue their recent strong play as they enter the Big East Tournament as the No. 4 seed. Also, teams like Louisville ? which just barely lost to Georgetown ? could make a serious run at the title. The Big East, more than any other conference, is completely up for grabs. If there are any surprise teams in the NCAA Tournament, chances are they will be one of the several Big East teams getting a chance to show how deep the conference really is.ACC ? Duke Blue DevilsWith the recent showdown between North Carolina and Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, few can assume that any other team in the ACC will pose a challenge to the two top teams in the conference. The Tar Heels and the Blue Devils may be the two best teams in the country, but Duke has much more to play for than does North Carolina. As of now, Duke sits at a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and its only hope to gain a top seed would be to win the ACC Tournament with a bit of help from some other teams across the nation. No matter what happens with North Carolina, it will be a No. 1 seed in the tournament, so it may not play up to par with Duke.SEC ? TennesseeIn an off-year for the SEC, Tennessee was one bright spot that shined throughout the entire season. After beating Memphis, it claimed a short-lived No. 1 national ranking, but even with a loss to Vanderbilt, it maintains a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. With a weak set of teams surrounding it, and when playing in a neutral environment, the Volunteers won?t be seriously challenged by any other team in the SEC. When Tennessee lost to Vanderbilt on Feb. 26, it was in one of the most hostile environments in the country, so if faced with the challenge again, Tennessee will be ready for the task.last_img

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