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Which lower-seed team has the best chance to make the Final Four?

March 19, 2012
  • North Carolina State's C.J. Williams jumps into the arms of teammate Kendall Smith after their team's 66-63 victory over Georgetown in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
North Carolina State's C.J. Williams jumps into the arms of teammate… (Ethan Hyman / Raleigh News…)

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Of the double-digit seeds left, I like No. 11 North Carolina State's chances over No. 13 Ohio and No. 10 Xavier for a couple of reasons. Xavier's path in the South is blocked by No. 3 Baylor and then No. 1 Kentucky or No. 4 Indiana. Good luck there.

If North Carolina State can get past Kansas this week, it will likely face a wounded No. 1, North Carolina, in the Midwest regional finals. UNC, even if guard Kendall Marshall (broken wrist) doesn't play, should be able to handle Ohio in St. Louis.

N.C. State, of course, is also battle-tested, playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference and having just played North Carolina to a two-point loss (69-67) in the conference tournament. The Wolfpack is used to playing in tension-filled arenas and environments.

Todd M. Adams, Orlando Sentinel

Among the four "lower" seeds still left in the NCAA tournament -- N.C. State, Xavier, Florida and Ohio -- I believe Florida has the best chance of making the Final Four.

Having said that, I don't think the Gators will make it.

Putting aside the early upsets of No. 2 seeds, this has basically been a chalk tournament. In all four regions, the top seed is still alive, and 11 of the top 16 seeds total. I don't believe that there will be a Final Four team seeded lower than 4th.

Florida has the best chance to break that trend because it is the best lower seed left, in the most winnable region. Kentucky is a lock, so goodbye Xavier. No way N.C. State beats both Kansas and North Carolina. And Ohio is just not that good.

That leaves Florida. The Gators probably won’t beat Marquette, let along Michigan State or Louisville. But they at least have a shot.

David Teel, Newport News Daily Press

The lowest seed I see chowing on alligator cheesecake at the Final Four in New Orleans is Marquette. But the Golden Eagles are the West’s No. 3 and the Big East regular-season runner-up, hardly what you'd consider a interloper.

So the true low seed with the best chance? North Carolina State, the Midwest’s No. 11. Wolfpack point guard Lorenzo Brown is better than most realize, and if they stay out of foul trouble, C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell are a load inside. N.C. State’s path is difficult, but Purdue proved regional semifinal opponent Kansas vulnerable. Neighbor North Carolina, the probable roadblock in the final, may be without its most indispensable player, point guard Kendall Marshall, who sustained a broken right wrist in Sunday’s victory over Creighton.

RELATED:

2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament brackets

Kendall Marshall fractures wrist during UNC's victory

Ohio teams aren't the retiring types at NCAA tournament

Which lower seed team has the best chance to make the Final Four?

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