Countdown to tip-off

As January games wrap up, there’s one more month before March Madness begins


Jeremiah Renner, Reporter

This season of men’s basketball has been one for the books. From Indiana’s upset victory to Kansas’ in-state rivalry, the NCAA can only go up from here. I predicted the four #1 seeds for the NCAA March Madness tournament along with the other 15 seeds in a chart, as well as explaining conference play and why it is important.


Purdue remains the AP Poll’s number-one ranked team in the nation. Representing the state of Indiana, the Boilermakers continue to steamroll through their schedule. With two top-15 wins, there’s no doubt Purdue has been the powerhouse all season. Their 7’4 Canadian center Zach Edey is one of the main reasons they’ve got there and will look to continue to help his team to the Final Four. 


Oklahoma is a major underdog right now. They are currently not ranked as of early February but if they get it together and turn their season around they have a fair chance of achieving the number one spot. With one of the most complete rosters, the Sooners will prove to everybody the Big 12 Conference can produce lethal teams. Their fanbase at Lloyd Noble Center is unmatched and the school environment is just what you need for the top spot in the nation.

Demolishing  #2 Alabama 93-69, the Sooners accomplished the largest margin of victory ever from an unranked team to a top-two team. This is also OU’s first AP top-two victory since 2002 when they beat #1 Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game.


Currently the third-ranked team in the AP Poll, the Cougars will compete again for their awaiting National Championship. Houston has been a top contender for years now and many people still have them winning it all this year. Their victory over #6 Virginia was a huge morale booster for them and they definitely needed that. Without a doubt, in anyone’s mind, the Cougars will go deep in their run this March.

Kansas State

The #7 ranked Kansas State Wildcats are unstoppable. After beating highly ranked Baylor, Texas, and Kansas, they’ve really made a name for themselves, especially always being in the shadow of their state rival, Kansas, who they’ve actually won one game and lost the other too, expanding their deep rivalry. We can only hope that these two teams face each other in the Tournament this March.


Conference Play

Of all 32 NCAA D1 basketball conferences, there are five that stand out among the rest. Southeast, Big 10, Big 12, Atlantic Coastal, and PAC 12 are considered the “Power 5” conferences. Although there’s more diversity in basketball than in football, 64 percent of the currently ranked teams are in those five conferences.

Arguably the best conference currently is the Big 12. 60 percent of the conference is ranked in the top 15 in the AP Poll, more than any other conference. The rest of the unranked Big 12 Conference has their own feats including Oklahoma defeating #2 Alabama, West Virginia beating a ranked team and both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State beating a top 15 team.

Conference play is very important when it comes to “strength of schedule.” The better teams should theoretically play the other good teams. Every team plays every opponent twice, one home and one away game. Most teams play about 31 games a season and depending on how many teams are in your conference over half of your games are just conference games. Since you play that team twice a season, every year, you need to learn and adapt to those teams. Different rivalries will come up and that can influence the fans, media, and tone of the game.