Bracketology: The most interesting things we'll learn when the NCAA reveals its bracket of top 16 seeds

The NCAA selection committee will host its third annual NCAA March Madness Bracket Preview show Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS. There, the committee will reveal its current top 16 teams and how they would be bracketed if this were Selection Sunday.

Selection committee chairman and Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir will represent the committee and aside from being asked about the teams and the process of bracketing them, he figures to get asked quite a bit about the new and still secret NET ratings. I have written extensively about what we know and don't know about the NET, so I will not repeat that here.

Here is a look at some of the more interesting teams that the selection committee will be evaluating for inclusion in the top 16.


That is the order that I have those three teams listed in my bracket, however, there is a case to be made for each of them as the overall No. 1. We do have one head-to-head result in that Duke beat Virginia 72-70 at home, which is the Cavaliers' only loss. The rematch is set for Saturday at Virginia. Duke lost to Gonzaga, which is my fourth No. 1 seed, in the Maui Invitational. Tennessee beat Gonzaga, but lost to full-strength Kansas. They each have a high number of good-to-very good wins. Duke has an extra loss at home to Syracuse, which came with two starters out for the Blue Devils. I think you can reasonably justify any order for those three teams.

Bracketology top seeds

[Check out Palm's full bracket with all 68 seeds and the first four four teams out on our Bracketology page]


The Jayhawks have not been the same without Udoka Azubuike in the lineup. They were 9-0 when he played, but are just 8-6 without him, with all six losses coming on the road. The committee has said in the past that they put a little more weight on how a team is performing with the roster it will take into the tournament, but it is not usually dramatic. No team has more Quadrant 1 wins than Kansas.


Nevada has a gaudy record at 22-1, but not one of those wins is Quadrant 1. The Wolf Pack does have eight Quadrant 2 wins, including one over Arizona State, which is still in my bracket despite getting embarrassed at home on Thursday night by Washington State. Nevada also has one of the more head-scratching losses at the season. New Mexico, which is 9-12 and 174th in the NET as of Thursday morning, beat Nevada by 27 at home. I think we know Nevada is a pretty good team, but I am curious as to how the committee will evaluate this resume compared to others.


These two teams have similar stories. Villanova lost four starters off of last year's national championship team to the NBA. Purdue lost four senior starters as well. Both teams got off to rough starts. Villanova lost at Penn and at home to Furman, while the Boilermakers played one of the toughest non-conference schedules and took four losses.

Each team has righted the ship since the start of conference play though. Villanova has started off 10-0 in the Big East and has a two-game lead over Marquette, which the Wildcats will play on Saturday. Purdue is 9-2 in the Big Ten, half a game behind Michigan for first place. The Boilermakers have won at Wisconsin and Ohio State and started Michigan State's current three-game losing streak.

The committee has said it does not put more weight on how a team is playing currently and that all games count the same regardless of when they are played. These teams will test the committee's commitment to avoiding recency bias.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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