Teams contenders don't want to face
Who might present the most problems for top programs?
With Championship Week around the corner and projected No. 1 seeds changing every day, this NCAA tournament has the makings of one of the most unpredictable in recent memory.
Fans get caught up in seeding and the bubble, but once the bracket is revealed, it is more about matchups. Every team has flaws this season, so whom you play in the tournament and when you play them will be major factors in determining this season's national champion.
Which teams do this season's top contenders not want to see in their bracket come Selection Sunday? I've identified a challenging matchup for 10 of the nation's top-rated teams.
Indiana is the most efficient offensive team in the country and, with freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, has improved significantly on the defensive end. The Hoosiers are an excellent passing team that converts long rebounds and steals into easy baskets. Cody Zeller is a tough matchup with his ability to run the floor. He's excellent at driving from the high post and baseline, putting pressure on opposing teams' frontcourts. Victor Oladipo's energy and competitive spirit are unmatched.
Tough matchup: Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Zags would match up well against the Hoosiers. Kelly Olynyk has the ability to run the floor with Zeller and the quickness to defend him on the perimeter. Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos would be a tough pair in the backcourt, and the emergence of Mike Hart as a physical defender with a high motor would help against Oladipo. Elias Harris is a physical frontcourt power forward against whom Christian Watford would struggle. The Zags' frontcourt depth could keep pressure on the Hoosiers and potentially put them in foul trouble.
The return of Ryan Kelly to the lineup changes everything for the Blue Devils. Yes, he scored 36 points against Miami in his return, and there is no doubt he stretches the defense and takes pressure off Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry. But what goes unnoticed is Kelly's contribution on the defensive end.
To read Seth Greenberg's full take on tough potential tournament matchups for top contenders, you must be an ESPN Insider.