The NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt took a break from the selection committee’s meeting to join our colleagues on CBS between semifinal games of the Big Ten Tournament and gave us an update on where the selection committee is in their process, and may have revealed some information about both the top and the bottom of the bracket.
When asked if the committee was set on their No. 1 seeds, Gavitt indicated that results from the last couple of days had destabilized that part of the bracket. In particular, he noted that there were six teams in play for those four spots and that the Pac-12 and ACC title games could have an impact.
Reading between those lines, it would seem that those teams are Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga (locks), Oregon, Arizona and, most likely, Duke. It would seem that North Carolina may be out. There is certainly a case for Duke over the Tar Heels in the bracket if the Blue Devils beat Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament title game.
Duke has more top 50 wins, especially away from home, and beat UNC two out of three. That includes their semifinal win over the Tar Heels in the ACC tournament. As I detailed last night, the Tar Heels’ best win away from home came against Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational.
If Duke does end up as a No. 1 seed, the Blue Devils would be the first with eight losses in the regular season.
However, it is also possible that the Pac-12 champion could supplant the ACC on the top of the bracket and relegate Duke and UNC to two seeds. Either way, it looks like North Carolina is out of that race or needs a Notre Dame win to still have a chance.
As for the bottom of the bracket, Gavitt said that there 40 teams voted into the tournament as at-large teams, but that 4-6 will win their conference tournaments. He also said that there are a smaller number of teams under consideration for the last 2-4 spots than usual. Finally, he said that a couple of teams on the under consideration list are still competing in conference tournaments. The list of teams that could fit that category includes Vanderbilt, Rhode Island and Middle Tennessee.
Rhode Island already won Saturday and Vanderbilt got blown out by Arkansas. MTSU will play for the Conference USA title later tonight.
This is typically where the committee is in their process on Saturday afternoon. They are watching and waiting for results just like the rest of us.