Which NCAA Tournament Top Seeds Got Worst Travel Schedule?

Which NCAA Tournament Top Seeds Got Worst Travel Schedule?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The excitement and anxiety of Selection Sunday can be nerve-wracking for schools across the country. But when that announcement is made on CBS that you made the dance, happiness and relief sets in.

The school then has three or four days (except for the teams playing in First Four games) to prepare everything for travel. Where are we staying? What flights can we get? What if we advance? That’s when good anxiety and stress enter back in the picture.

BetAlabama.com looks at a topic of interest for folks awaiting legal Alabama sports betting, namely travel plans for the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. We measured the travel distances for the top four seeds in each region, for a total of 16 teams, including SEC rivals Alabama and Auburn. The chart below tallies up how many miles each top-four seed would have to traverse if they should advance from the first round to the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona.

Here are the exhausting results:

Least And Most Travel For Top Four Seeds

RankTeamSeed, RegionPotential LocationsTotal Mileage (if make Final Four)
1 Arizona#2 in WestSalt Lake City, LA, Glendale1,394 miles
2Marquette#2 in SouthIndianapolis, Dallas, Glendale2,539 miles
3 Kentucky#3 in SouthPittsburgh, Dallas, Glendale2,552 miles
4 Purdue#1 in MidwestIndianapolis, Detroit, Glendale2,761 miles
5 Kansas#4 in MidwestSalt Lake City, Detroit, Glendale2,782 miles
6 UConn#1 in EastBrooklyn, Boston, Glendale1,394 miles
7 Creighton#3 in MidwestPittsburgh, Detroit, Glendale2,884 miles
8 Iowa State#2 in EastOmaha, Boston, Glendale2,934 miles
9 Tennessee#2 in MidwestCharlotte, Detroit, Glendale2,940 miles
10 Baylor#2 in WestMemphis, LA, Glendale3,031 miles
11 Houston#1 in SouthMemphis, Dallas, Glendale3,069 miles
12 Illinois#3 in EastOmaha, Boston, Glendale3,240 miles
13 Duke#4 in SouthBrooklyn, Dallas, Glendale3,031 miles
14 North Carolina#1 in WestCharlotte, LA, Glendale4,865 miles
15 Auburn #4 in East Spokane, Boston, Glendale 5,360 miles
16 Alabama #4 in West Spokane, LA, Glendale 5,952 miles

Tide, Tigers Literally Face Long Road

Well, let’s just say Roll Tide and War Eagle better get their sleep when they can.

Both schools rank at the bottom of our top 16 rankings with the most miles traveled should they advance that far.

There are no legal Alabama sportsbook apps available. But DraftKings Sportsbook has the Crimson Tide at +4000 odds to win the national title and the Tigers at +1700 odds.

Auburn, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, has the second-worst potential path in terms of travel miles to reach the Final Four. The Tigers have to fly to Spokane, Washington, for the first two rounds. Should they advance, they would have to fly cross-country to TD Bank Garden in Boston for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

Should they have an unblemished record of 4-0, they would fly out west again to Glendale, Arizona for the Final Four. The National Championship is Monday, April 8. Tigers total mileage: 5,630 miles.

Their hated rival Alabama, No. 4 in the West Region, shares the same arena with Auburn as their first two rounds will also be held in Spokane. Should the Crimson Tide advance, they then would have to travel back to the West Coast and play in Los Angeles for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

Of course, for every team in the tournament, the dream destination is the Final Four in Glendale, so Bama won’t mind one more long trip if the team gets that far.

So, three straight trips out West for Alabama. Total mileage: 5,952 miles, 322 more than its archrival and the longest path for any of the 16 teams that landed a top-four seed.

The easiest flight pattern for the 16 teams on our list: You guessed it, host Arizona. The No. 2 seed in the West must hit (yawn!) Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Glendale for a measly distance of 1,394 miles.

Survive and advance indeed.

In neighboring Louisiana, BetMGM Sportsbook has defending champion and No. 1 overall seed Connecticut as the favorite at +400 odds to win the tournament, followed by Houston at +600 and Purdue at +650.



Lou Monaco is a contributing reporter for BetAlabama.com. Lou had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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