No. 1 seed wipeout: After losses by top seeds Houston, Alabama, who is the favorite?
The collapse of No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament is complete, and it’s happened earlier than ever.
The final two No. 1-seeded teams did not survive the Sweet 16 with losses by Houston in the Midwest Regional and Alabama in the South Regional on Friday.
The teams not only were top seeds, they were the nation’s top ranked teams with the Crimson Tide topping the AP poll, and the Cougars No. 1 among the coaches entering March Madness.
Both favorites lost to fifth-seeded teams. At T-Mobile Center, Miami shredded Houston and one of the nation’s top defenses in an 89-75 victory.
Alabama fell to San Diego State 71-64.
This tournament will be the first since seeding was introduced in 1979 without a No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight. Houston was bidding to play the Final Four in its home city.
“Everybody else was thinking about that,” Houston guard Marcus Sasser said. “We knew how hard it was to get to the Final Four.”
The Cougars, who hadn’t surrendered more than 77 points in a game this season before Friday, were undone by barrage of three-pointers, especially from Nijel Pack, who made 7 of 10 on his way to 26 points.
Only once, in 2000, did the regional final round include just one top-seeded team, and this will be the fourth Final Four without a No. 1 seed. The last five NCAA champions, including Kansas last season, were top seeds.
Earlier in the tournament, Kansas, the top-seed in the West, was knocked out in the second round. Purdue, the top seed in the East, became the second No, 1 seed in tournament history to lose its first game. The Boilermakers fell to Fairleigh Dickinson.
Friday’s outcome also meant the likely end of college careers for two All-America players, Houston’s Marcus Sasser and Alabama freshman Brandon Miller, who is expected to be selected early in the NBA Draft.
“It’s definitely tough,” Miller said. “You know, just playing around these guys, working hard every day in practice, to fall short ... it’s a bad feeling now.”
Now, who is the favorite in a tournament that appears wide open?
The East and West finals will be played on Saturday with third-seeded Kansas State taking on No. 9 Florida Atlantic and No. 3 seed Gonzaga challenging fourth-seeded Connecticut.
Miami will meet Texas (2) in the Midwest and San Diego State takes on the Creighton (6) in the South.