NCAA

14 NCAA Tournament teams to cheer for based on school colors and uniforms

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14 NCAA Tournament teams to cheer for based on school colors and uniforms

OK, so the NCAA Tournament starts this week and everyone around you is buzzing about which team is the best and which ones will get to the Final Four.

They’re filling out brackets and are confident about their upset picks, and you want in on the fun. But the problem is you haven’t followed college hoops closely this season, or you went to a football school, or you simply don’t care.

That shouldn’t stop you from having fun and making a bracket, and we’re here to help. The good news is that no matter how much or how little you know about college basketball, it’s practically impossible to correctly pick the national champion. So why not make a bracket based on something fun and still have it be competitive?

Going into the first round, here are 14 teams to cheer for based on the best uniform color schemes.

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South Region

No. 1 seed Virginia

There are only a couple orange-based color combinations that work, and the Cavaliers have it figured out. Against a dominantly navy backdrop, the orange letters really pop. And on the white uniforms, the orange is clean and not obnoxious.

No. 4 seed Arizona

The Wildcats sport a classic red, white and blue look, and that’s a popular color combination. But they also tend to play around with shading, starting with blue at the top and bleeding into a slight purple before hitting full-blown red. They do something similar with their white uniforms too. Overall, it’s a creative take on traditional colors.

No. 6 seed Miami

The Hurricanes’ all-orange uniforms are polarizing: You either love them or hate them. The bright orange is not my favorite. But their forest green look with subtle orange letters is fantastic and unique among this season’s tournament teams.

No. 10 seed Texas

The Longhorns put all their eggs in one basket with their burnt orange uniforms, but they’re standouts. There’s no question about which team is playing when you see these uniforms, and it’s a great look. If not paired with navy or dark green, this is really the only other way to make orange look amazing.

West Region

No. 2 seed North Carolina

Love or hate the Tar Heels, their colors are so universally adored that “Carolina blue” is an actual color name that people regularly use. Even if you always root against Roy Williams and UNC, you’ve got to admit that Carolina blue is an easy color to like.

No. 4 seed Gonzaga

The Zags rock a similar color scheme to Arizona, and they’re not quite as creative with it, but their colors are still pretty great. Their regular uniforms are timeless, but their alternates are actually spectacular. Regardless of which ones they wear in the tournament, you can’t hate on their look.

No. 9 seed Florida State

Variations of red and gold are a popular color scheme, but the Seminoles always look good with their garnet and gold combo. As opposed to a bright red that can be abrasive, sporting one of the darkest shades of red is a subtle and classy look. 

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East Region

No. 11 seed UCLA

The Bruins’ blue and gold is a timeless look, and it’s easy to like because the blue often deviates from the versions of royal blue that we get with teams like Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. UCLA’s blue is softer, and the light gold lettering and embellishments make this scheme a classic.

No. 13 seed Marshall

The Thundering Herd might have the most standout, eye-catching colors and uniforms in the whole NCAA Tournament. There is nothing bad you can say about a bright Kelly green and white, with black on the alternate uniforms. It’s not an obnoxious, highlighter shade of green; it’s a cool, chill shade that will still make people do a double take.

No. 14 seed SF Austin

The Lumberjacks do purple, and this is another polarizing color. However, not many teams rock purple, and they do it well. If you’re really big on purple and want to back more teams with this color scheme, Kansas State and TCU are solid options as well.

Midwest

No. 3 seed Michigan State

While the Spartans’ vivacious green uniforms aren’t the greatest, the traditional forest green is distinct yet not over-the-top. The green and white is similar to what’s great about Miami’s colors. They’re unique but not in a bad way.

No. 7 seed Rhode Island

The Rams have a great take on white and two variations of blue. With a lighter shade that resembles Carolina blue, a dark navy gives their uniforms a great contrast. More teams should try playing with different shades of the same color because Rhode Island really makes it work.

No. 10 seed Oklahoma

OK, so I can’t advise picking both Rhode Island and Oklahoma because it’s impossible if you play in a traditional bracket. These two teams play each other in the first round, but the Sooners still have great uniforms. This is another way red can work as the dominant color. It’s not insanely bright, but it’s not overly dark either.

No. 16 seed Penn

First, it’s important to note that a 16 seed has never upset a No. 1, and it’s unlikely that Penn will do it against Kansas this year. However, the Quakers embrace their centuries-old roots with their red and blue colors and uniforms. They have a colonial vibe to them, and their road dark blue ones are simple yet solid.

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Don't fret Terps fans, Maryland is still in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed

Don't fret Terps fans, Maryland is still in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed

Maryland missed a golden opportunity on Sunday to rise to the No. 1 seed conversation for the NCAA Tournament. But despite losing after being in a prime position, they still are the best team capable of earning the final top seed in March. 

Three of the then-projected No. 1 seeds by ESPN's Joe Lunardi lost on Saturday. Baylor lost to a fellow No. 1 seed Kansas, but Gonzaga and San Diego State both lost to teams outside of the AP Top 25. And in San Diego State's case, a team that isn't making the NCAA Tournament. 

It was a prime situation for Maryland to rise from the No. 2 line that they have been strapped to all season long. Alas, they fell on the road to Ohio State to pause the conversation for the time being - albeit in a loss that was not without some controversy

The loss, however, does not permanently remove the Terrapins from becoming a No. 1 seed. In fact, Maryland is in the driver's seat for the final No. 1 seed currently occupied by San Diego State. 

Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga are untouchable for Maryland unless one of those teams fall down the stretch. Kansas has 11 Quadrant 1 victories, Baylor is 10-1 in Q1 chances and 6-0 in those on the road and Gonzaga is 22-0 in non-Q1 chances. No one is passing one of those three based on that alone.

The final spot is open. SDSU, Maryland, Duke, Dayton and Florida State are the last remaining teams in consideration for the final No. 1 seed. A crowded field to say the least.

None of them have what Maryland has though: four Q1 opportunities left on their regular-season schedule. 

SDSU has none, Duke and Dayton have one, while Florida State has two after beating Louisville on Monday evening.

IF the committee regards Quadrant 1 wins as much as the NET rankings claim, then logic dictates that Maryland has the best opportunity to take that spot. Quadrant 1 games are defined as a home game against an opponent ranked 1-30 in the NET, a neutral site opponent from 1-50 or a road opponent from 1-75.

Before losing to Ohio State, Lunardi said that Maryland "would [ascend] to the No. 1 seed" with a win over the Buckeyes. That would slide the Aztecs to the No. 2 seed line. And losing to Ohio State is just another Q1 loss. Of all the losses from the top teams last week, including Duke's loss to NC State, Maryland's was the second-best in the eyes of metrics. They really shouldn't be hurt from that loss whatsoever. 

On top of those four regular-season games, the Terrapins would likely get at least two more Q1 chances in the Big Ten Tournament in the semifinals and the championship game, assuming they kept winning. But all of this hinges on continuing to win down the stretch. 

Maryland would have a better resume than any team that wins the ACC (Duke, Florida State or Louisville) and definitely better wins than either Dayton or San Diego State. 

The opportunity for a No. 1 seed is still there, now they can just focus on themselves. 

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Maryland keeps top-10 spot in latest AP poll despite loss to Ohio State

Maryland keeps top-10 spot in latest AP poll despite loss to Ohio State

For the first time since Jan. 14, the Maryland men's basketball team lost on Sunday, ending their nine-game winning streak.

But despite the loss to Ohio State in Columbus, the Terrapins did not dip much in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Terps (22-5, 12-4 Big Ten) fell two spots from No. 7 to No. 9 and remain the highest-ranked team in the conference. With just four regular-season conference games remaining, Maryland holds a two-game conference lead over Penn State and Iowa.

Earlier in the week, the Terps defeated Northwestern at home, 76-67.

Maryland has a tough schedule this upcoming week, as they travel to Minnesota on Wednesday before returning home to host No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday. College Gameday will be in College Park for the contest against the Spartans, the first time the show has come to Maryland since 2005.

Here's the rest of the latest AP Poll.

1. Kansas
2. Baylor
3. Gonzaga
4. Dayton
5. San Diego State
6. Florida State
7. Duke
8. Kentucky
9. Maryland
10. Creighton
11. Louisville
12. Villanova
13. Seton Hall
14. Oregon
15. Auburn
16. Penn State
17. BYU
18. Iowa
19. Michigan
20. West Virginia
21. Colorado
22. Texas Tech
23. Ohio State
24. Michigan State
25. Houston

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