There are now only five days until Selection Sunday. With some of the mid-major league tournaments in the rear view mirror, and a lot of the premier conference tournaments starting up on Wednesday, it is a good time to stop and look at the seeding picture for all 68 teams.
As usual, it will be formatted seed by seed, looking at the at-large first, then discussing why each team is seeded where they are. I then will give my current first five teams out and discuss why they’re not included in the NCAA Tournament field and what they could do to get into the field of 68.
After that, I will look at each projected conference champion and what seed they would get in the NCAA Tournament. Finally, I will give you what my current Bracketology would look like if today was Selection Sunday.
Without any further introduction, let’s get into the seeding breakdown.
One Seeds: Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Gonzaga
The top two one seeds remain the same once again as both Virginia and Gonzaga continue to steamroll through their schedule. Both Virginia and Gonzaga have locked up one seeds at this point. Virginia has the best resume in the sport and even with a loss in the first round of the ACC Tournament would still be guarantee a top-four resume in the sport. The final three one seeds are up for grabs, although it is likely coming down to games that could take place on Friday and Saturday.
Let’s get into the potential Friday game, which is Duke-North Carolina. At this point, both teams have similar resumes, plus Zion Williamson is expected to be back for that game. Assuming he plays, the committee will get a look at who is actually the better team when he is in action and they will determine the one seed based on that.
As for who the other one seed will be, I think it comes down to a likely Saturday game where Kentucky and Tennessee will match up. Both teams have similar resumes at this point and both schools have beat the other team pretty handily at home. I think a potential neutral court game in Nashville could break the tie. For now, Kentucky and North Carolina remain on the one line, although those scenarios listed above could affect things.
For now, Gonzaga is still my fourth one seed despite their loss to St. Mary’s in the WCC Final. The Bulldogs still rate very well in the metrics and still have no losses in Quadrants 2-4. The Bulldogs aren’t necessarily a guaranteed one seed, as other teams could potentially move onto the one line in place of Gonzaga.
Two Seeds: Duke, Tennessee, Michigan State, Michigan
As mentioned above, Duke and Tennessee are close to the one line but they would need to win conference semifinal games to move onto the one line. As for Michigan State, they have a chance at a one seed, if they win the Big Ten Tournament, as they have the most Quadrant one wins at the moment, which could help them be a one seed. At the very least, the Spartans appear to have locked up a two seed.
The last four National Champions came from either a one or two seed.
My final two seed came down to a close battle between LSU and Michigan. I think two things will end up giving Michigan the nod for the last two seed. The first one is that the Tigers have three Quadrant two losses, while Michigan has none, which helped even out the fact that the Tigers have beat both Kentucky and Tennessee. The second thing going for Michigan is that their coach isn’t questionable for the NCAA tournament, unlike Will Wade who is going to be potentially suspended for the NCAA Tournament. Those two factors gave Michigan a two seed over LSU.
Three Seeds: LSU, Texas Tech, Purdue, Houston
LSU might not be on the two line but they are on the three line, their record, NET, and nine Quadrant one wins helps them stay there. Texas Tech and Purdue both have Top-12 rankings in the NET and 16 combined Quadrant one and Quadrant two wins, it seems pretty safe to me that both these teams are worthy of the three line. If they are able to win their conference tournaments, they do also have the potential to move to the two line depending upon other results. As for my final three seed Houston, they are 29-2 with a NET ranking of 4, they may not have the flashy wins but their overall body of work has to put them on the three line.
Four Seeds: Kansas, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Florida State
The first three four seeds are Kansas, Wisconsin, and Kansas State all end up on the four line, in large part due to the fact they each have at least seven Quadrant one wins, which is more than the other teams up for consideration. The final four seed came down to Florida State and Virginia Tech, the thing that ended up putting the Seminoles on the four line though was the fact that they beat Virginia Tech just last week. While the Seminoles remain a four for now, the two teams could meet up in Charlotte, with the winner likely securing a spot on the four line.
Five Seeds: Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Marquette, Maryland
As mentioned above, the Hokies are a win against Florida State away from moving to the four line, although they will need to get that win in order to hop the Seminoles. Otherwise, they will be a five seed.
Mississippi State and Marquette land on the five line in large part due to the fact that among Top-30 teams in the NET, those two teams have a two-win lead in Quadrant one wins over the next team who has six, Maryland. Speaking of Maryland, their six Quadrant one wins, mixed with a strength of schedule of nine helps them get onto the five line.
Six Seeds: Auburn, Villanova, Iowa State, Nevada
Auburn has struggled to get wins this year, but with their most recent win over Tennessee. They now have three Quadrant one wins, mixing in with a good NET ranking will likely land them on the six line. Villanova is also on the six line, as they have 15 Quadrant one or Quadrant two wins, which is by far the most of the teams left on the board. Iowa State struggled coming in but their overall body of work still should keep them on the six line.
My final six seed is Nevada, which is the toughest thing for me, as their resume isn’t that good, yet a few weeks ago the selection committee had the Wolf Pack as one of the Top-4 seeds in the Bracket Preview show. I’m not saying they necessarily deserve a Top-six seed, but I do think the committee probably gives them one.
Seven Seeds: Wofford, Buffalo, Louisville, Cincinnati
With all the previous sections behind us, filling out the seven line is pretty easy. My first two seven seeds are Wofford and Buffalo. Both teams have run through their conferences in years where their leagues are really good. As a result they deserve to be on the seven line.
Louisville has been held back because of their 12 losses in the past, but still having four Quadrant one wins and a NET ranking of 22 has them pretty clearly on the seven line. As for Cincinnati, they rank a little bit lower in the NET, however, 4 Quadrant one wins has them above schools like UCF and Utah State who are right behind them.
Eight Seeds: Oklahoma, UCF, Ole Miss, Iowa
The eight seeds are where things start to fall off in the Bracket. My first eight seed is Oklahoma who may be 7-11 in Big 12 play, but openly challenged themselves in non-conference play — playing no Quadrant four opponents, which should be rewarded with a high seed by the committee. UCF has beaten both Houston and Cincinnati, the Houston one should probably help them get a higher seed than their resume might otherwise suggest.
Ole Miss should be on the eight line come Selection Sunday, as their ability to pick up quality wins, while only having one Quadrant two loss and no losses in Quadrants 3 and 4, will likely help them. As for Iowa, they have been horrible as of late but they did so much work early on that they probably still get a single-digit seed despite recent play.
Nine Seeds: Baylor, VCU, Seton Hall, Utah State
The top nine seed is Baylor. The Bears have 12 wins over Quadrant one or Quadrant two opponents and a NET ranking of 36, that might usually get them a higher seed, although three Quadrant three or Quadrant four losses probably drops them down a seed line. VCU has been really good in Atlantic 10 play, plus with a 25-6 record and three Quadrant one and three Quadrant two wins, a nine seed seems deserving.
Seton Hall ranks all the way down at 62 in the NET rankings, which is why they aren’t higher in the seed list. The Pirates have six Quadrant one wins right now, including one coming over Kentucky on a neutral court, which has aged very well. Utah State ends up being my last nine seed, while they are here right now, I would strongly advise them not to lose to anyone not named Nevada if they want to avoid Dayton.
Ten Seeds: Minnesota, Syracuse, TCU, Washington
The ten seeds are where we start to get into teams that are nearing the bubble. These teams, while on the ten line, shouldn’t feel too comfortable about not being sent to Dayton.
Minnesota is probably going to get in, as they have a 19-12 record with 10 Quadrant one and Quadrant two wins and no losses to teams in Quadrants 3 or 4. Syracuse has three Quadrant one wins and a NET ranking of 44. While two Quadrant three losses aren’t ideal, they are probably in so long as they don’t take any bad losses in the ACC Tournament.
TCU is likely in as well, as they are 19-12 with three Quadrant one wins and no Quadrant 3 or 4 losses. The one thing that could hurt them though is that the majority of their wins came while Jaylen Fisher was playing for TCU.
My last ten seed is Washington, who is 24-7 and ranks 38th in NET. However, things that could hurt Washington come Selection Sunday is the fact that they lost to California; one of the worst teams in the country. They are likely safe, but a loss early in the Pac-12 Tournament could send them to Dayton.
Eleven Seeds: Temple, St. John’s, Indiana, Ohio State, Arizona State
We are now on the eleven line, and unlike with teams listed before, these teams have a legitimate shot to not hear their name called on Selection Sunday. The first three teams listed are currently avoiding Dayton, while Ohio State and Arizona State would play in the First Four.
Let’s start out with Temple, who has a good record of 23-8, home wins over Houston and UCF, but that’s pretty much it. They should be in. That being said, I would highly recommend not losing in their first game of the AAC Tournament.
St. John’s is 20-11, with five Quadrant one wins. And yet, with a low NET rank of 66 and two Quadrant three losses, the Red Storm aren’t safe just yet. They will play DePaul Wednesday. If they win they should be in, but a loss would make them sweat out Selection Sunday. Meanwhile, Indiana has a record of 17-14 but with six Quadrant one wins, the Hoosiers should be in the field of 68, although not by a lot.
My fourth to last team in is Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a record of 18-13 and they have four Quadrant one wins, which has them in the field for now — just not by much. Indiana and Ohio State, two teams that conveniently play each other on Thursday: the winner of that game will avoid Dayton, with the loser either being sent to Dayton or the NIT.
My third to last team in is Arizona State, who has maybe the weirdest resume in the sport. They have wins over Kansas, Mississippi State, and Utah State, while they have four Quadrant 3 or 4 losses. This inconsistency makes them a tough team to judge. With a record of 21-9 though, I think they should be in for now, although they can’t afford to go out early in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Twelve Seeds: NC State and Creighton
The twelve seeds are all my last two teams in. While these teams may be in for now, as the week goes on, each one of these two teams could find themselves out based on one game’s result.
NC State is my second to last team in. Their non-conference strength of schedule was the worst in the sport, that mixed with only two Quadrant one wins and two Quadrant three losses has them in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack will play another Quadrant one opponent in Clemson, and they must win that to make the NCAA Tournament.
My last team in is Creighton, who doesn’t have a great record, although they don’t have any Quadrant three or four losses, (a 17-13 record isn’t bad). I think they probably need to win a game or two in the Big East Tournament, and if they are able to do so, they are probably in.
First Five Out: Belmont, Clemson, Florida, Texas, Alabama
My first team out is Belmont, who has one of the more intriguing resumes in the sport. The Bruins are 26-5, with a NET ranking of 45, which is very bubbly. The Bruins have two Quadrant one wins, but they also have two Quadrant three losses and played 17 games against Quadrant for opponents, which is probably too many. The Bruins tried to schedule tough. They played Purdue, Lipscomb twice, and even played UCLA, but a lot of teams didn’t want to play them as they were thought very highly in the preseason. This team has the look of a team that is capable of winning a game in the NCAA Tournament. The question is whether or not the committee will give them a shot, which I think is a no.
Clemson is my second team out right now. The Tigers have everything you could want in a bubble team, as they have no Quadrants 3 or 4 losses and a record of 19-12, while playing the 33rd best schedule. The problem is that they only have one Quadrant one win. They’ll have a chance Wednesday to pick up another one when they play NC State, but if they lose they will punch their ticket to the NIT.
The Gators find themselves on the outside looking in right now, with the main reason being that the Gators don’t have enough quality wins to offset the fact that they will enter Selection Sunday with 15 losses. Unlike Indiana, the Gators only have three Quadrant one wins, which is average for a team with 14 losses. Now they can move into the field with wins over Arkansas and LSU in the SEC Tournament, but anything short of that and they will be playing in the O-Dome for the NIT.
The Longhorns have the quality wins to be in the field of 68. However, the main argument against them is that they are 16-15. They will play Kansas in their first Big 12 Tournament game, assuming they lose like expected, they will be out. If they can win a game or two in the Big 12 Tournament, they might have a chance.
The Crimson Tide had it rolling in January and a second straight tournament appearance seemed likely but since then they have struggled to a now 17-14 record. The Crimson Tide have a good win over Kentucky but that’s about it, assuming they don’t make a deep SEC Tournament run they will be heading to the NIT.
Projected Conference Champions
Marked in bold if the team has already won their conference championship
West Coast Conference: St. Mary’s, 12 seed
Ohio Valley: Murray State, 12 seed
WAC: New Mexico State, 12 seed
Atlantic Sun: Liberty, 13 seed
CAA: Northeastern, 13 seed
Big West: UC Irvine, 13 seed
American East: Vermont, 13 seed
Horizon League: Northern Kentucky, 14 seed
Ivy League: Yale, 14 seed
Conference USA: Old Dominion, 14 seed
Big Sky: Montana, 14 seed
Big South: Gardner-Webb, 15 seed
Sun Belt: Georgia State, 15 seed
Patriot League: Colgate, 15 seed
Southland: Sam Houston State, 15 seed
Missouri Valley: Bradley, 16 seed
MAAC: Iona, 16 seed
Northeast: Fairleigh Dickinson, 16 seed (play-in game)
Summit League: North Dakota State, 16 seed (play-in game)
SWAC: Texas Southern, 16 seed
MEAC: Norfolk State, 16 seed
|East Region (Washington DC)||South Region (Louisville)|
|1.Virginia (Columbus)||1.Kentucky (Columbus)|
|16.Fairleigh Dickinson/ Norfolk State||16.Texas Southern/ North Dakota State|
|4.Kansas State (Salt Lake City)||4.Kansas (Des Moines)|
|5.Mississippi State||5.Virginia Tech|
|12.NC State/ Creighton||12.Murray State|
|3.Houston (Tulsa)||3.Purdue (Des Moines)|
|2.Michigan State (Hartford)||2.Duke (Columbia)|
|15.Colgate||15.Sam Houston State|
|West Region (Anaheim)||Midwest Region (Kansas City)|
|1.Gonzaga (San Jose)||1.North Carolina (Columbia)|
|4.Florida State (San Jose)||4.Wisconsin (Salt Lake City)|
|12.St. Mary’s||12.New Mexico State|
|3.LSU (Jacksonville)||3.Texas Tech (Tulsa)|
|14.Old Dominion||14.Northern Kentucky|
|11.Indiana||11.Arizona State/ Ohio State|
|2.Michigan (Hartford)||2.Tennessee (Jacksonville)|
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