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When looking at a bracket right after the pairings are announced, people will always say "Oh, so and so has a cakewalk to the Final Four." It obviously helps to have a fairly easy road to the national semi-finals. On the other hand, some teams get shafted in the seedings and end up with plenty of potential pitfalls. This ranking only took the top four teams in each region into consideration. Here are the teams in each region with the easiest and the hardest roads to the Promised Land.
Easiest Path: Kansas: The Jayhawks got a brutal region, but their road to the Elite Eight is not tough at all. UNLV and Northern Iowa won’t pose much of a challenge, and neither Maryland nor Michigan State has the balance or personnel to knock off Kansas.
Hardest Path: Ohio State: The Buckeyes won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles – and were rewarded by having to face one of two dangerous teams in the second round, Oklahoma State or Georgia Tech. They also have Georgetown waiting in the Sweet 16.
Easiest Path: Syracuse: No top-four seed has a very easy road in this region, but the Orange should be okay. Gonzaga and Florida State won’t be overly effective against the zone, and Arinze Onuaku should be back by the time they face a tough Vandy team.
Hardest Path: Pittsburgh: The Panthers are going to have a difficult time getting to the regional semifinals. Oakland is not a pushover in the first-round, and Xavier is one of the best non-BCS teams in the NCAA Tournament this season. This will be tough.
Easiest Path: West Virginia: The Mountaineers were rewarded for their Big East tournament title by getting a not-so-dangerous second-round match-up against either Clemson or Missouri. With that said, New Mexico will be tough in the Sweet 16.
Hardest Path: Wisconsin: The Committee certainly didn’t do the Badgers any favors in this region. Wofford is a team that won’t back down in the first-round, while Temple and Cornell will both be formidable opponents in the second round. Bo Ryan will have his hands full.
Easiest Path: Duke: Despite being widely-regarded as the worst No. 1 seed, the Blue Devils didn’t get an overly tough draw. Cal and Louisville aren’t bad 8-9 seeds, but Purdue is a shell of its former self and Texas A&M doesn’t have many offensive weapons.
Hardest Path: Purdue: This is due to a combination of the fact that Robbie Hummel is out, as well as the match-up against a seasoned Siena team. If they manage to get past that game, Texas A&M and Utah State are both fantastic defensive teams.