Let the madness begin: Top storylines to follow as the NCAA season prepares for most hectic time of year

UCLA's Lonzo Ball (2) celebrates after hitting a 3-point basket late in the second half against Oregon at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. UCLA won, 82-79. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)


The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament is only a couple weeks away.

With only a few games left for the best teams to lock up the top four seeds in each district, teams are making sure they can get into the best position possible.

As of right now, the top four seeds consist of Kansas, Villanova, UCLA and Gonzaga.

All of those teams have been impressive this year, especially Gonzaga, since they were undefeated until last week.

However, Gonzaga does not play the power conference teams nearly as much as squads like UCLA, Villanova and Kansas.

Don’t expect the top four to change unless Gonzaga falls again.

With 68 teams looking forward to the big tourney, what should be some sleeper teams that could really make an impact down the stretch?

Many experts are high on squads like Baylor, Butler, Louisville and Florida State.

They all have had very solid seasons, and the sleeper teams in the field are just part of what makes the tournament so intriguing.

A team many should look out for is Duke.

The Blue Devils have struggled all season, although they have one of the most talented freshmen classes in years.

It seems as if coach Mike Krzyzewski’s midseason surgery and some  immaturity issues from star Grayson Allen caught up to them, but you can never count out Coach K and the Blue Devils in the tournament.

Being a lower seed will hurt them a little bit, but they shouldn’t be too far down in the bracket.

The big question, of course, is who will be cutting that net down at the end of March.

Villanova is looking like they could repeat, even playing better than they did last year at times.

They have a passionate young squad, and players like Donte DiVincenzo have really helped them maintain their winning mentality this year without the experience from some departed seniors from last year’s title squad.

On the other hand, Kansas looks as scary as anyone in the nation right now.

UCLA has also enjoyed just as good of a season as Villanova and Kansas.

The Bruins are led by star Lonzo Ball, who has been making some headlines lately.

His father said Ball will play only for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA after leaving college, which he later said he takes back. 

Any team would want a player with Ball’s talent, but his ego could hurt him not only in the future, but in this tournament if he doesn’t discipline himself.

Gonzaga is a well-coached, talented squad that probably isn’t as good as the other top seeds, but they play near-perfect team basketball and have improved more and more all season.

No matter what happens, it will be hard to knock down any of these top teams with elite coaching and players.