The NCAA tournament selection committee handed down its first in-season look at the top 16 seeds on Saturday. There were some surprises, of course. To the chagrin of Purdue and Wisconsin fans, the Big Ten was completely shut out. UCLA was tabbed as the 15th overall seed. And somehow, Duke snuck in as the last No. 4 seed and 16th overall.
Another surprise, at least from our Jerry Palm's perspective, was the Kentucky Wildcats. Despite a No. 15 ranking in the AP poll, the committee determined John Calipari's team, losers of three of their last five, to be a No. 3 seed -- and No. 12 overall -- rather than the 4-seed Palm had them pegged for.
"I said put it in marker," Calipari said after the Wildcats' win over Alabama. "Permanent marker. Because there are times in the season where I would say we deserved it. There are times when I'd say we've been a little better than that. But there have been times when I'd say 'Really?' Because that's never happened before. Where they've given us a seed better than we should have."
To Cal's point, the Wildcats have been inconsistent this season, going from a No. 1 ranking to somewhere in the middle of the rankings over the last few weeks. And while it sounds troubling for a team looking to contend for a national title, Gary Parrish's research into Kentucky shows that inconsistent regular-season play has been a familiar theme among eventual Final Four teams under Calipari.
Could Kentucky make a similar run as a 3-seed? Based on Calipari's reaction, it seems he'd take that in a heart beat.
Of course that seeding is just a measuring stick for where the top teams stand as of Feb. 11. The final bracket will be revealed on March 12 on CBS. So even if Calipari's marker is extra strength, it won't make a lick of difference. Saturday's results alone could shake things up. So we have a long way to go before anyone is writing teams down in Sharpie on their brackets.