No. 1 Gonzaga
A 31-2 overall record, with only losses to Illinois and at Butler. The Zags are riding a 14-game winning streak, complete with regular season and conference championship titles in the West Coast Conference.
Junior forward Kelly Olnyk has been named to various outlets' All-America teams, averaging over 17 points and 7 rebounds a game. The Zags set a school-record with 31 wins.
They would beat Pitt because: The inside presence of Olnyk and Elias Harris, who combined, average 14 rebounds a game. None of the Zags starters average below 42 percent shooting per game.
Pitt would beat them because: Pitt's three-point defensive percentage is .312 for the season (32-170). In two losses, Gonzaga was held to 5-18 against Illinois, and 4-14 against Butler
Though Ohio State has only one player--Deshaun Thomas (19.6 ppg) averaging in double figures, the Buckeyes do it with defense. They allowed 60 or more points in just 12 of 32 games. Only two other coaches have more wins in March, dating back to 2004-05, than Thad Matta, who after Sunday's win, has 50.
They would beat Pitt because: Pitt has struggled in the past, against teams in March, who also rely on defense.
Pitt woud beat them because: On the other hand, both team's offensive makeup is similar. Both teams have one player who averages in double-figures. However, many Pitt players have had breakout games this season, but on different nights. Basically, in a defensive game, Ohio State wins. If it comes down to offense, being that teams rarely score on Ohio State, Pitt wins.
In his previous stint at Iowa, he led the Hawkyes to three NCAA Tournament appearances. In six seasons at New Mexico, he has done the same, taking the Lobos all the way to a Mountain West conference tournament Championship.
They would beat Pitt because: Strength of schedule. They have nine wins over NCAA Tournament opponents. Of course, all four players in the starting lineup shooting at least 40 percent, not to mention another three shooting at least 35 percent from three-point range.
Why Pitt would beat them: A significant edge on the boards. For example, in a 19-point loss to UNLV, New Mexico was outrebounded 41-26.
The Wildcats, who went 27-7 overall, 14-4 in the Big 12, are led by its winningest senior class in school history (101 wins). Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder are just the second senior class to reach four consecutive NCAA Tournaments in their careers.
Why they would beat Pitt: Kansas State may have the most respectable losses of any team in the tournament. Seven losses include No. 4 seed Michigan, No. 1 seed Gonzaga, three losses to No. 1 seed Kansas, a loss to No. 10 seed Iowa State and a loss to No. 5 seed Oklahoma State--seven losses to five different tournament teams; only one below a five seed.
Why Pitt would beat them: The Wildcats lose only when they struggle shooting the ball, and they get outrebounded. When they shoot well and outrebound the opposition, it's simple. They win. When they don't, they lose. Even in losses, they're still able to produce points off turnovers, while limiting their own turnovers in the same instance.
Wisconsin's success this season may have been buried behind the success of Michigan and Indiana. The Badgers beat both teams in the regular season, and also eliminated the Hoosiers from the Big Ten Tournament.
Why they would beat Pitt: All seven of Wisconsin's wins against Top 25 teams have come against teams in the Top 15. Not thought of as a strong shooting team, Wisconsin is tough to beat even with an average shooting performance. They shot 51.0% from the field (25-49) in the win over Indiana on Saturday, and 52.7% in the win over Ohio State--their two best performances of the season. The Badgers are 13-0 when shooting 45.0% or better from the field.
Why Pitt would beat them: Again, it sounds easy, but Wisconsin walks a fine line when it comes to shooting and rebounding. In games where they get outshot by the opponent, the Badgers are 4-10. They're a perfect 17-0 when outshooting the opponent. When tied in rebounding, or getting outrebounded, they are 7-9 this year. They're 15-2 with a rebounding advantage.
No. 6 Arizona
What a great story it would be to see Sean Miller face his alma mate again. As head coach at Xavier, Miller lost to the Panthers in 2009, a game that sent Pitt to the Elite Eight. That was also his last game as head coach at Xavier.
This may me Miller's most talented team in Tucson, if not his deepest. He regulary uses a nine-man rotation.
Why Arizona would win: Arizona has proven to be a successful rebounding team. At 22-11, the Wildcats are 21-2 when outrebounding opponents. On the other hand, they're 1-9 when losing the rebounding battle.
Why Pitt would win: If the Panthers can hold a late lead. Arizona is 3-7 in games when they trail in the game's final five minutes.
No. 7 Notre Dame
Notre Dame has won its last five meetings against Pitt. Of any team in this bracket, Notre Dame is the last team Pitt wants to see, historically speaking.
Why Notre Dame would win: Do we really need to recount what happened a month ago? Not often does a team overcome a 1-18 start from the field, and. 19-3 deficit. Notre Dame did it. It's simple. If the Irish get their open looks from three-point range, they'll always beat Pitt as they have proven.
Why Pitt would win: Conversely, Pitt had a great start against Notre Dame, before letting it slip away. If they take away Notre Dame's looks--especially the ones from three-point range, and manage to keep Jack Cooley under control, they'll win. But, it will be a tough task, as has been proven before.
No. 9 Wichita State
Pitt meets its match in facing a team that also likes to go ten deep. It's the second straight NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach. They've also won 25 or more games four years in a row.
The two teams played three years ago in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, a 68-55 Pitt win, Tray Woodall led with 19 points in that game, and also tied for the team-lead with six rebounds.
Why Wichita State would win: If Pitt is still in a slump from its loss to Syracuse on Thursday. Though the Panthers played better in the second half, and made it a one-possession game late, their sloppy start in the first half was too much to overcome.
Why Pitt would win: If they come out confident to start the game. Pitt has made the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the last 12 seasons. After reaching the Sweet 16 in four of those first five tries, they've only made the Sweet 16 once in its last six tries. It will all come down to confidence in this first round matchup.
No. 10 Iowa State
A surprise team out of the Big 12, Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg has his team ready to play every night. Eight of the team's 11 losses came to NCAA Tournament teams, including three losses to No. 1 seed Kansas. Three losses this season were overtime losses.
Hoiberg emphasizes three-point shooting. All five starters on the court are three-point threats, creating matchup problems for many opponents.
Why Iowa State would win: If they get from three-point range. They don't have one player who is a threat. All five players on the court are equally dangerous. They have five players with at least 30 three-pointers made, including Tyrus McGee with an impressive 90-197 (45.7%) clip.
Why Pitt would win: Forcing turnovers. That's one area Iowa State is susceptible to. They average 13.3 turnovers a game, while only forcing an average of 13.2 a game, a difference of -0.1 per game for the season.
No. 11 Belmont
Champions of the Ohio Valley Conference, thanks to a 70-68 win over Murray State in the championship game.
Four of Belmont's starters average in double figures. The only exception is forward Blake Jenkins, who averages 9.9 points a game.
Why Belmont woud win: The Bruins have an experienced team, with five seniors in the regular rotation. They're also ranked in the Top Ten in four key statistical categories-- field goal percentage (4th), steals per game (6th), total points scored (9th) and three-pointers per game (6th).
Why Pitt would win: If the Panthers employ their brand of defense. Since they're a very good shooting team, with a lot of experienced scorers, this is a team that if shooting hot in the Tournament, they could be dangerous in this bracket. In 32 games, and with a record of 26-6, Belmont has scored less than 70 points in just seven of those games, going 3-4.
No. 12 Ole Miss
Ole Miss was one of the biggest stories from over the weekend, claiming the SEC Conference Championship. Andy Kennedy is in his seventh year as head coach. He served one year as the interim head coach at Cincinnati, for landing in Oxford.
Ole Miss comes in with a 26-8 record, including nine wins over teams in the Top 100 in RPI.
Why Ole Miss would win: a continuation of the BBVA Compass Bowl. Similar to Belmont, this is a good shooting team. This is a team that always seems to shoot well. Yet, some of their wins have come even when they have an off night shooting. They're 12-4 when shooting between 40-49 percent, and a perfect 9-0 when shooting 50 percent or better. Even when under 40 percent, they still have a winning record at 5-4.
Why Pitt would win: Winning the turnover battle. The only thing consistent in Ole Miss losses, is when they don't take care of the ball. That's been rare. They're 3-4 when turning it over more than the opposition.
No. 13 Boise State or LaSalle
Boise State is known for their football success, but the Broncos had an impressive basketball season in 2012-13, going 21-10. Their success got buried behind the success of other Mountain West teams such as New Mexico and UNLV.
LaSalle, like the Broncos, were considered a bubble team. The Explorers finished 21-8 overal with an RPI ranking of 40. They have an impressive road win over No. 5 seed Virginia Commonwealth.
Why Boise State would in: The Broncos rely on three-point shooting and rebounding. They're 13-4 when they convert at least eight or more three-pointers. They're 15-4 when outrebounding the opponent. Similar to Pitt, Boise State likes to make the extra pass. They're 14-1 when having more assists than the opponent.
Why LaSalle would win: Shooting, and holding a lead down the stretch. The Explorers are a perfect 15-0 when outshooting the opposition, and 20-0 when leading the game with under five minutes to play.
Why Pitt would beat Boise State: If they can defend the perimeter and control the glass.
Why Pitt would beat LaSalle: Getting out to an early lead, and keeping it late. LaSalle is 3-8 when trailing at halftime, 1-9 when trailing under five minutes.
No. 14 Harvard
The Crimson Tide are have won three consecutive Ivy League titles, and enter the NCAA Tournament with a record of 19-9.
Why Harvard would win: Much like some other teams in this bracket, the Crimson Tide rely on the three-pointer. They're 17-4 when shooting at least 35 percent or better from three-point range, 2-5 when when under 35 percent.
Why Pitt would win: Getting a big lead and keeping it. The Crimson Tide have only had five games decided by five points or less, going 2-3 in those games. When it's close, Harvard hasn't been able to pull of the the win. They're 17-6 in games decided by ten points or more.
No. 15 Iona
The Gaels captured the MAAC championship, and now face the task of taking on Ohio State in Dayton, roughly two hours from Columbus. The Gaels also have MAAC Player of the Year Momo Jones, who averaged over 23 points a game.
Why Iona would win: A big game from Jones. In addition to being the team's leading scorer, he's a true point guard with a team-high 116 assists. More than half of Iona's field goals came on assisted baskets.
Why Pitt would win: Iona hasn't had much success out of conference, and has the most losses of any team in the West Regional. Iona also struggles in close games. Six of their losses have been by three points or less.
No. 16 Southern
Southern gets the unenviable task of facing top-seed Gonzaga. Though it's pointed out every year, but there hasn't been a No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in this tournament format.
Why Southern would win: The Jaguars enter the Tournament with an overall record of 23-9, but only 8-6 in non-conference play. They rely heavily on Derick Beltran and Malcolm Miller, who combine for an average of 32 of the Jaguars 68 points. The Jaguars also have Madut Bol, son of the late NBA legend Manute Bol.
Why Pitt would win: You can beat Southern by simply shutting down Beltran and Miller. In losses to schools from BCS conferences, Southern is 0-3 (Iowa State, Nebraska, TCU). All three were double-digit losses.