NCAA Tournament Bracket Analysis: Which 1 Seed Has Toughest Path to Final Four

NCAA Tournament Bracket Analysis: Which 1 Seed Has Toughest Path to Final Four article feature image

Action Network’s Matt Roembke

The Purdue Boilermakers easily have the toughest draw out of all of the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

And here's why in our NCAA tournament bracket analysis.

The Boilermakers found themselves in the Midwest region as the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament.

Many are already skeptical — including myself — about the Boilermakers' ability to go deep in the tournament.

Their draw made a lot of their critics' lives a lot easier.

At first glance, I thought Houston had a tough region to navigate, but it seems like the committee is doing whatever they can to stop Zach Edey and the Edeyettes.

Right away, I could see the Boilers having a difficult time in the Round of 32.

I doubt the Boilermakers lose to a 16-seed for the second consecutive season, but they have little time to relax, as they'll take on TCU or Utah State. I have TCU advancing against Utah State, and that creates a tough matchup for the Boilers.

Jamie Dixon's Frogs are a terrific, gritty basketball team. They're excellent at defending in the half-court, and their physicality is good enough to go blow-for-blow against the Boilers.

Let's pretend that the Boilers escape against TCU/Utah State, they then have to face Kansas in the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks will fly under the radar entering the tournament, but they should have all of their key starters available from the start.

If the Jayhawks survive against a very good Samford team, I expect them to knock off McNeese State or Gonzaga.

The Jayhawks have the physicality and defensive presence inside to give Edey and Co. a headache all evening long. They're sixth in the country in height, and 10th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

The Jayhawks also don't foul on defense, so that should make life much more difficult for the Boilers. It's not an easy matchup at all for Matt Painter's team.

In the bottom portion of the Midwest region, teams worth noting are Creighton and Tennessee. Both of these teams would face off against the Boilers in a potential Elite Eight matchup, which is — once again — a nightmare scenario.

The Vols might be a smaller team, but they're third in the country in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They're also top-10 in effective field goal percentage and 2-point percentage on the defensive side of the floor.

As tough as the matchup against the Vols would be, the Bluejays would toy with the Boilermakers. Not only do they have the big man to counteract Edey in Ryan Kalkbrenner, but the Jays are one of the most balanced teams in the country.

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The Jays foul the least amount in the country on defense and are an elite interior defensive team. Their guards are amongst the most talented in the nation, as the trio of Trey Alexander, Baylor Scheierman and Steven Ashworth can combat the talented Boiler backcourt.

Most importantly, what do all of these teams have in common? They don't turn the ball over on offense.

The Boilermakers are a horrific team in terms of forcing opposing turnovers, and all of the teams they would potentially face off against do a great job of limiting mistakes. The Jayhawks are the worst team on the list, but regardless they rank inside the top half in the country in the category.

Not to mention, the Boilermakers are due for massive regression on the perimeter on both ends of the floor. They're shooting 41% from deep despite not attempting a lot of 3s.

The Jayhawks don't defend the perimeter well, but they have a strong interior presence.

The path to victory in all of these contests on the offensive side of the ball is whether or not the Boilers go ballistic from deep, but the regression monster is looming.

Without question, Painter's team is better equipped this season compared to last, but the committee didn't do it any favors. I have a really tough time envisioning the Boilermakers making the Final Four in Phoenix — unless there's an abundance of crazy upsets in the earlier rounds.

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May 25, 2024 UTC