NCAA Basketball: Dayton at VCU

Forty-five of the 48 teams named as top-4 seeds by the committee in its in-season Bracket Preview have gone on to finish as top-4 seeds on Selection Sunday over the last three years. The committee does a good job of scrubbing the bracket, evaluating teams and placing them in their respective spots based on résumés and analytical profiles while keeping in line with bracketing principles. It's not an easy job.

They don't always get it exactly right, though. While I generally agree with the most important parts of Saturday's top 16 reveal -- namely the No. 1 seeds and the order of the No. 1 seeds -- there were a few team placements (and notably a few omissions) that stood out to me. 

So I crunched my own numbers and did my own evaluation to straighten out the few minor quibbles I had about the top 16. Those critiques are below and came out to two teams from two different sections that were either overrated or underrated based on where the committee had them vs. where I thought they belonged. For giggles, I included honorable mentions who just missed the cut in each section.


North Carolina

  • Seed: No. 2 (No. 5 overall)
  • Where I'd have them: No. 2 (No. 8 overall)

North Carolina coming in as the top No. 2 seed (No. 5 overall) struck me as the biggest whoa of the committee's bracket teaser. It's not just that UNC has underwhelmed of late, which it has -- it has fallen in three of its last five games, two of which to teams not likely to make the tourney -- it's that when comparing the body of work to, say, Marquette, it's hard to go with UNC.

Here's how the two stack up just for the sake of comparison:


  • Quad 1: 6-4
  • Quad 2: 4-1
  • Quad 3: 4-1
  • Quad 4: 5-0 


  • Quad 1: 6-4
  • Quad 2: 4-1
  • Quad 3: 4-0
  • Quad 4: 5-0

Tennessee also had a fairly strong case to be ahead of UNC but was instead No. 6 overall. 

You're splitting hairs comparing teams because there are so many variables that go into it, but UNC being at No. 5 -- and two spots ahead of Marquette -- felt like a miss. If anything, I think flipping them would have been more accurate. 


  • Seed: No. 3 (No. 12 overall)
  • Where I'd have them: No. 4 (No. 15 overall)

Accounting for KPI and strength of record -- two staples of the NCAA's Team Sheets, a tool used by the committee to assess teams -- Duke was the most overrated team of the top 16. The committee put the Blue Devils at No. 12 overall (the last No. 3 seed), while the Team Sheets leading into Saturday put Duke at No. 19.

Team Sheets are merely a tool -- much like the NET rankings -- and therefore not a hard-and-fast guide from which the committee ranks teams. Still, the delta between Duke's ranking in the Team Sheets and in the actual mock bracket exercise is fairly jarring. 

Just missed: Illinois, Alabama


South Carolina

  • Seed: NR
  • Where I'd have them: No. 3 (No. 12 overall)

South Carolina all season has been the team with a sterling record but a shaky profile overall. The metrics like but don't love this team. By leaving the Gamecocks out of the top four lines, the committee seems to feel the same way. Still, it's hard to leave a 21-4 team out of the top 16 (even after losing to Auburn by 40 earlier in the week), given that it could win the SEC. I'd have been much more content if South Carolina was in Duke's spot at No. 12 overall and Duke was snubbed entirely; the ranks should've just been flipped. 


  • Seed: NR
  • Where I'd have them: No. 4 (No. 16 overall)

Dayton, Creighton and Clemson were the three teams Dr. Charles F. McClelland, the committee vice chair, said were in the mix for the final spot in the top 16 but just missed. Of those three, Dayton had the strongest case for being outright snubbed. It entered the weekend No. 10 in the Team Sheets -- which the committee appeared to use as gospel elsewhere for major conference teams -- while teams outside the top 16 (Illinois, San Diego State and Duke) were included over the Flyers. And in Duke's case, it went much higher than just sneaking in.

Just missed: Clemson, BYU