Bracketology: Takeaways from the selection committee's reveal of its early NCAA Tournament bracket and top 16 seeds
There were a few surprises Saturday when the NCAA released its top 16 teams
The NCAA Tournament selection committee brought a little bit of March Madness to February on Saturday during the "NCAA March Madness Bracket Preview" on CBS.
The chairman of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee, Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, revealed the committee's current top 16 teams and how they would be bracketed if this were Selection Sunday.
My latest bracket has been updated to reflect the committee's top 16 and here are the top seeds followed by some takeaways on the committee's thought process for building their 16-team bracket.
NCAA selection committee early top seeds
[Check out Palm's full bracket with all 68 seeds and the first four four teams out on our Bracketology page]
Duke earns the overall No. 1 seed
The committee was split almost down the middle on Duke vs. Tennessee for the overall No. 1 seed. The next five teams in the bracket were relatively easy. Unlike a year ago, when the top four teams a month in advance looked like they had few challengers, it is easy to see a path to a No. 1 seed for the teams through at least No. 9, which brings me to…
Purdue a surprising No. 9 seed
The committee's first real seed-line debate was Michigan State vs. Purdue for No. 8. I was a bit surprised Purdue was that well thought of, considering how the Boilermakers performed outside the Big Ten. They played a difficult schedule, but weren't up to the challenge.
Purdues' play in Big Ten play has been better, largely because of the addition of freshman center Trevion Williams to the lineup. The better play has resulted in a high number of quality wins thanks to the strength of the Big Ten. Still, it feels like a little recency bias.
Villanova left out of top 16
Muir mentioned that Villanova was, for lack of a better phrase, the first team out of the top 16. It was a little surprising, especially with Marquette as a No. 3 seed. The Wildcats have climbed to the top of the Big East, but unlike Purdue's rise in the Big Ten, the quality of wins Villanova is getting as strong. Villanova and Marquette play Saturday for the first time this season.
NET formula to remain secret
Don't expect to see the formula for the NET this season. Since it is the first year with it and it is so different than anything the NCAA has used before, it will likely be reevaluated at the end of the season. It could even be tweaked for next year, and if I had to guess, that tweak would be to most likely to reduce the impact of an uncapped margin of victory.
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