Bracketology: NCAA Tournament selection committee's early bracket reveals Baylor and Kansas are top two seeds
The committee's early bracket of the top 16 revealed on CBS had a few surprises
The NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed its top 16 seeds Saturday on CBS, and there were a few noteworthy decisions and a couple of surprises.
There was no surprise at the top as Baylor was assigned the overall No. 1 seed. The Bears have had a terrific season which includes wins at Kansas, Texas Tech and Florida and a neutral court win over Villanova. Baylor was assigned to the South Regional in Houston.
Kansas was given the overall No. 2 seed and a spot in the Midwest Regional in Indianapolis. The Jayhawks were rewarded for its typically strong schedule and a high number of quality wins, despite having three losses.
In the race that everyone out west is keeping an eye on, Gonzaga was given the overall No. 3 spot and most importantly, the west region in Los Angeles. That left the 4th No. 1 seed for undefeated San Diego State and the East Regional in New York.
That will not make Aztec fans happy and committee chairman Kevin White said that the debate between Gonzaga and the Aztecs got the most discussion on the top line. In the end, they felt that the quality of the Bulldogs wins outweighed the loss.
White also noted that there was a clear gap between the No. 1 seeds on the top line of the bracket and the No. 2 seeds.
Here is a look at the rest of the committee's top 16 teams.
6. Dayton: The Flyers are having a tremendous season led by potential national player of the year Obi Toppin and Jaren Crutcher. Both of their losses have come in overtime, so they are just a whisper from being undefeated.
9. Maryland: Maryland leads the ridiculously strong Big Ten after the win at Illinois on Friday. With a game of that quality on the evening of the "last day of the season", the committee would normally have two brackets prepared, one for each result. During the show, NCAA Senior VP of Basketball Dan Gavitt said Maryland would still have been a three seed even with a loss.
10. Florida State: The Seminoles are the third high quality ACC team on the list and a two-seed quality team on the three line. The same is true of Maryland and Seton Hall. FSU has some nice wins, including at Louisville and Florida and their worst loss is at Pittsburgh.
11. Seton Hall: The Pirates are the leaders of the highly competitive Big East and lead that league by two games. Only losses to Iowa State and Xavier are keeping them from being higher in the bracket.
12. Villanova: Nova is 1-1 against the top two teams in the bracket, having beaten Kansas at home at losing to Baylor on a neutral court. They have five losses, but none of them are outside of Q1 or to teams not in the bracket.
13. Auburn: The Tigers have a gaudy record and that kind of record would normally merit a higher seed, but there is not a lot behind it. Their best wins have come in the last week over Kentucky at home and at Arkansas. Their losses are at Florida, a bottom of the bracket team, and at Alabama, an off the bracket team. However, each are Q1 losses.
14. Oregon: This is the team I would have missed on had I guess the top 16, although I would have had the Ducks as a No. 5 seed. The win over Seton Hall is huge for them and one of six they have in Q1.
15. Butler: The Bulldogs got off to a great start this season and have come back to the pack a little bit. Their eight Q1 wins tie Baylor for second most behind Kansas, which has 10.
16. Michigan State: Penn State fans will not be happy to see this considering the Nittany Lions just won at East Lansing this week. It just goes to show that head to head is not everything. The Spartans' only loss to a non-tournament team came to Virginia Tech in Maui.
White did mention that the committee also considered LSU, Kentucky and Iowa for spots in the top four. Penn State fans may that difficult to swallow also. However, the committee's process is such that just because they considered other teams for that line, it does not mean those teams would be five seeds if the committee kept going.
The Nittany Lions have a pretty strong resume with six Q1 wins, five of which are against teams in my bracket. The loss to Mississippi, when PSU blew a 21-point lead, is hurting them.
By the time you read this, that top 16 will be obsolete. There is a long way to go until selection Sunday and a lot can and will change between now and then.
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