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Andy Wittry | | March 14, 2021

These men's basketball teams could earn their best NCAA tournament seed ever

The longest perfect March Madness bracket ever (we think)

Selection Sunday is today, Sunday, March 14, and a handful of men's basketball teams are in position to potentially earn their best seed in school history. For some programs, that means a potential No. 1 seed; for others, that might mean a No. 12 or No. 13 seed. But for each, if the number next to their seed is low enough, it could cap off a historic season and potentially pave the way for the most NCAA tournament wins in school history.

Using March Madness correspondent Andy Katz's latest NCAA tournament projections, which were based on the games played through Saturday, March 13, I went through the teams in his projected 2021 NCAA tournament field and identified the teams that are currently projected to earn their best seed in school history, or their current projected seed would tie the best in program history, meaning that with a few more quality wins, they could potentially improve their seed line to unprecedented territory.

Here are the schools that could make history in March with their best seeds ever. As a reminder, the NCAA tournament first seeded the entire field in 1979.


Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 1 seed
Previous best: No. 3 seed (four times)

Under coach Scott Drew, Baylor has earned a No. 3 seed on four occasions — in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017 — and the Bears were in contention for a No. 1 seed when last season ended. With a 22-2 record and a No. 2 ranking in the AP poll, Baylor is poised to earn one of the four No. 1 seeds. Though Baylor has been ranked No. 1 in two previous seasons (the 2016-17 season and in 2019-20), it didn't earn a No. 1 seed in either, yet it could earn its first-ever No. 1 seed this season and it could oddly do so without ever being ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, if Gonzaga pulls off a wire-to-wire grasp on the No. 1 ranking.

The Bears' deepest NCAA tournament runs since 1979 have been to the Elite Eight, which happened in both 2010 and 2012, when they were a No. 3 seed. A No. 1 seed would also set Baylor up with the cleanest path to its first Final Four since 1950.


Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 2 seed
Previous best: No. 2 seed (two times)

Could Alabama win the College Football Playoff national championship and earn a No. 1 seed in men's basketball in the same school year? Alabama is the No. 5 overall team – the first No. 2 seed – in Katz's latest projections.

It might be a challenge considering that two of Katz's four projected No. 1 seeds are currently undefeated in Gonzaga and two-loss Baylor, potentially leaving just two No. 1 seeds available, but the Crimson Tide is currently in the midst of what could be its best season since 2002, when Alabama went 26-7 (12-4 SEC) and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Alabama has never been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament but it has received a No. 2 seed twice — in '02 and 1987.

This season, the Crimson Tide started 10-1 in SEC play and it finished 16-2, before winning the SEC tournament, too.


Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 5 seed
Previous best: No. 8 seed (two times)

Among Pac-12 men's basketball programs, Colorado has the worst, best NCAA tournament seed, since the Buffaloes never earning better than a No. 8 seed since 1979. They could achieve a new best in March, thanks to a 14-6 record in Pac-12 play and a trip to the Pac-12 tournament championship game.

Colorado hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2016, when it earned a No. 8 seed.

St. Bonaventure

Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 11 seed
Previous best: No. 11 seed (2018)

The Bonnies have made the NCAA tournament just three times since modern tournament seeding began in 1979. In their last NCAA tournament appearance in 2018, they earned a program-best No. 11 seed and now, they're currently projected to earn a No. 11 seed, according to Katz, after winning the A-10 tournament. With an 11-4 record in the conference, St. Bonaventure swept the A-10 regular season and conference tournament titles.

UNC Greensboro

Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 13 seed
Previous best: No. 13 seed (2018)

UNC Greensboro head coach Wes Miller ended the program's 16-year NCAA tournament drought in 2018, when the Spartans made the tournament and earned a program-best No. 13 seed. That's also what they are projected to be this year, according to Katz's latest projections, so if UNC Greensboro (21-8, 13-5 SoCon) can improve upon that projection by one seed line, it'll be the best in school history.

Grand Canyon

Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 15 seed
Previous best: N/A

Grand Canyon is still in its relative infancy as a Division I program. This is the Antelopes' eighth year in the WAC and the first year under new head coach Bryce Drew, as he guides the 'Lopes into their first-ever NCAA tournament, where any seed will be the best in school history. Grand Canyon was first eligible for the NCAA tournament in 2018 as part of its process of transitioning to Division I and despite winning 22 games that season, the Antelopes fell short.


Andy Katz's latest projected seed: No. 16 seed
Previous best: N/A

Like Grand Canyon, Hartford has never made the NCAA tournament, but the Hawks have been competing at the Division I level for much longer than the Antelopes. They've been playing DI since 1985, which was the first year of the 64-team NCAA tournament but Hartford has never made the Big Dance ... until now.

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