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The 2006 #1 Tournament Seeds

2006 March Madness #1 Seeds Preview


Duke, Villanova, Connecticut and Memphis are the number one seeds in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Of course, they’re all bound to make it to the Final Four or at least the Sweet Sixteen, because they are considered to be the best of the best. Well, not so fast—none of these teams are guaranteed anything and each has had its ups and downs in 2005-06. In fact, every prognosticator agrees about one thing—there is no dominant team this year. The Championship is up for grabs. Here’s how the top four look.

Duke is the royalty of college basketball. They finished first in the ACC and also were the champs in their conference tournament. The team plays in one of the best leagues in college basketball and when team leader J.J. Redick gets in a rhythm, they are unbeatable. This is the 10th time Duke has been chosen as the top seed in the tournament. However, it has been noted that the Blue Devils did not play some of the best teams in their league all season and that teammates can rely too much on Redick. Their inside game is controlled by Shelden Williams (10.4 RPG), who can secure and maintain position, giving the Blue Devils another shot at the hoop. The team was 30-3 this season, which leaves little room for doubt that they could and should be in the Final Four. They faltered a bit down the stretch, losing two but had a strong and decisive tournament, beating Boston College in the final game. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a lot of big game experience and is one of the best in the college ranks.

The Huskies may be the most talented and well-rounded team in the entire country. They earned a 27-3 record in the regular season, winning the Big East but were knocked out of the conference tournament by the Syracuse Orangemen. A record eight Big East teams received bids to the Big Dance this year. Many consider this conference to be the most competitive in the country. The Huskies have a well-balanced attack with each of the starting five—forward Josh Boone, forward Rudy Gay, center Hilton Armstrong, guard Marcus Williams, and guard Denham Brown averaging 9.7 or more point per game. Plus, they have a formidable bench, led by Rashad Anderson. It’s tough to know which guy to key on when playing this team. Coach Jim Calhoun is a bright, experienced guy who is cool under pressure. Although they didn’t do well in their tournament, that’s in the past for this team. They’ll be in every game and that’s likely to include the final one.

More times than not in recent history two teams from the same conference have made it to the Final Four. If that’s going to happen this year, then it’s likely but not certain to be Connecticut and Villanova. The Wildcats pass well and hit an average of 9.2 three-pointers per game. Senior guards Allen Ray and Randy Foye averaged 19.1 PPG and 20.2 PPG respectively this season. The starting five is composed of juniors and seniors that can control the ball and get it to the open man. They are not as physical as many of the other premiere teams, which could take its toll in the tournament grind, but they bring valuable experience from last year’s Big Dance when they got to the Sweet Sixteen. Coach Jay Wright has had only 3 tournament experiences where he’s 2-3, but he’s a solid helmsman who knows how to make adjustments. The team, which went 25-4 overall, played a tough schedule and beat Connecticut, Marquette, and Oklahoma along the way.

The Memphis Tigers were the team in Conference USA this season, however they were playing in a league in which many of the best teams transferred to other conferences. This versatile team possesses a strong defense, holding clubs to 38% from the field and outscoring opponents an average of 15 points per game. They can play an up tempo game but are also adroit at slowing the pace down and being patient. Coach John Calipari knows how to get the most out of a club. This year 9 Tigers averaged 11 minutes or more a game, which can be an important factor as the 19-day tournament heads down the stretch and the five starters from other teams start to tire. Senior forward Rodney Carney (17.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG) and senior guard Darius Washington (13.9 PPG, 3.4 APG) are solid teammates and seasoned leaders. Of the four first seeds, people tend to be the least convinced about Memphis’ ability to get to the Final Four due to the weakened C-USA. But they were a high scoring team and had impressive wins against Tennessee, Gonzaga, UCLA, and Alabama.

All four of these clubs are quality teams who had dominant seasons. But this is a one-game elimination tournament on the biggest stage in the nation, which means strange things can happen. It is also an even tournament year (2006) and if you’re into numerology and trends you’ll be interested to know that in even years first seeds do not do well. Of course games aren’t played or based on trends, they’re played in the here and now on a court where skill, experience, and determination can turn any game around. With that in mind—let the madness begin.

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