March Madness 2021: The seven hottest teams in the NCAA Tournament bracket

Peaking in March is what it's all about. You'll hear how the NCAA Tournament is all about matchups going into the first round. While there's truth to that, the NCAA selection committee counts wins in December the same as March when determining seeds. That means teams that got hot later in the season are playing better than their seed indicates. 

Sometimes, teams just hit their groove at the right time. How do you determine whether a team on a winning streak is a viable threat to go far in the tournament?

USA TODAY Sports examined the field of 68 and pinpointed teams with the best winning streak or momentum from conference championship week, and/or the best path — matchup-wise — to stage a deep run and go farther than the seeding suggests.  

Note: No. 1 seeds are excluded from this list. 


  • Meet the 68: In-depth capsules with info on every team 
  • Expert picks: From early upsets to the Final Four and champion
  • Don't count on 'em: These are teams to avoid picking to go far 
  • Smartest first-round upsets: These are the teams to keep your eye on 
  • Every first-round upset: Easy list of our experts' first-round upset picks
  • Stay informed: Our newsletter will offer bracket tips every day. Sign up here!

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