N.C. State could surprise
N.C. State could surprise
The lowest seed I see reaching New Orleans is Marquette. But the Golden Eagles are the West's No. 3 and the Big East regular-season runner-up, hardly what you'd consider a interloper. So the true low seed with the best chance? North Carolina State, the Midwest's No. 11.
Wolfpack point guard Lorenzo Brown is better than most realize, and if they stay out of foul trouble, C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell are a load inside. State's path is difficult, but Purdue proved Kansas vulnerable.
North Carolina, the probable roadblock in the final, may be without its most indispensable player, Kendall Marshall, who sustained a broken right wrist in Sunday's victory over Creighton.
Florida has best shot
Todd M. Adams
Putting aside the early upsets of No. 2 seeds, this has basically been a chalk tournament. In all four regions the top seed is still alive, and 11 of the top 16 seeds total. I don't believe there will be a Final Four team seeded lower than 4th.
Florida has the best chance to break that trend because it is the best lower seed left, in the most winnable region. Kentucky is a lock, so goodbye Xavier. No way N.C. State beats both Kansas and North Carolina. And Cincinnati is just not that good.
That leaves Florida. They probably won't beat Marquette, let alone Michigan State or Louisville. But the Gators at least have a shot.
Los Angeles Times
Of the double-digit seeds left, I like No. 11 North Carolina State's chances over No. 13 Ohio and No. 10 Xavier for a couple of reasons.
Xavier's path in the South is blocked by No. 3 Baylor and then No.1 Kentucky or No.4 Indiana. Good luck there. If North Carolina State can get past Kansas this week, it will likely face a wounded No. 1, North Carolina, in the Midwest final.
UNC, even if guard Kendall Marshall doesn't play, should be able to handle No. 13 Ohio. N.C. State, of course, is also battled-tested having played in the Atlantic Coast Conference and just played North Carolina to a two-point loss (69-67) in the conference tournament. The Wolfpack is used to playing in tension-filled arenas and environments.
Wolfpack could make run
It's the right time and No. 11 North Carolina State is in the right place to make a run.
The Wolfpack already knocked off higher seeds No. 6 San Diego State and No. 3 Georgetown, which boasted some serious size. Now they'll have to take care of No. 2 Kansas, which struggled to shrug off an undersized Purdue team.
A regional final against No. 1 North Carolina would be a nice matchup for the Wolfpack, who have the personnel to fight the Tar Heels' post players and don't have an injured point guard like the Tar Heels' Kendall Marshall (broken wrist). North Carolina State has been waiting for a return to prominence. This could be the year.