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Looking at the early favorites to reach the Final Four in Minneapolis

These are the top teams in the country, and in bracketology.

The Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium is still months away, but the top dogs in college basketball have been identified, giving us an idea of who the favorites are to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. 

Of course, 16-seed University of Maryland-Baltimore County beat 1-seed Virginia and 11-seed Loyola-Chicago made it to the Final Four last year, so just because a team is highly ranked doesn't guarantee a trip to Minneapolis awaits.  

That said, No. 1 seeds have taken up half of the Final Four slots since 2015, and 11 of the 16 Final Four teams since then have been top three seeds. But from 2010 to 2014 there was never more than a single 1-seed in the Final Four and in 2011 none of the 1 or 2 seeds made it. 

Seeds in the Final Four each year since 2010: 

  • 2018: 1, 1, 3, 11
  • 2017: 1, 1, 3, 7
  • 2016: 1, 2, 2, 10
  • 2015: 1, 1, 1, 7
  • 2014: 1, 2, 7, 8
  • 2013: 1, 4, 4, 9
  • 2012: 1, 2, 2, 4
  • 2011: 3, 4, 8, 11
  • 2010: 1, 2, 5, 5

Regardless, the favorites will be top seeds in the tournament and ESPN's Joe Lunardi currently has Duke, Virginia, Michigan State and Tennessee as the four No. 1 seeds. 

Lunardi's No. 2 seeds are Kentucky, Michigan, Gonzaga and North Carolina, and the 3 seeds are Purdue, Marquette, Kansas and Houston. 

Minnesota, if you're wondering, is an 11-seed in Lunardi's latest bracketology. The Gophers are an 8-seed in Jerry Palm's latest bracketology at CBS Sports

Palm's No. 1 seeds: Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, Duke

Palm's No. 2 seeds: Kansas, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Kentucky

Palm's No. 3 seeds: Houston, Virginia Tech, Marquette, LSU

So right now, Lunardi and Palm, arguably the two most respected bracketologists, have a consensus with their No. 1 seeds and very few differences in the teams they project to get the No. 2 and 3 seeds. 

If Duke advances to the Final Four it would mean a chance for Minnesota's 2019 Mr. Basketball winner, Tre Jones (Apple Valley High School), to play in front of his hometown fans. 

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