The NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed its top 16 overall seeds on Sunday afternoon, giving the country an inside look of how the March Madness bracket will likely look on Selection Sunday on March 11.
The top four teams, in order, are Virginia, Villanova, Xavier and Purdue. If the season ended today, they would be the four No. 1 seeds.
The Big Ten, which was shut out of the projected top 16 seeds last season, has three teams in the rankings this time around (No. 4 Purdue, No. 11 Michigan State, and No. 14 Ohio State.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 11, 2018
NCAA Tournament 2018: Selection committee projects top 16 overall seeds
- Texas Tech
- Michigan State
- North Carolina
- Ohio State
Purdue (23-4, 12-2) looked like a shoo-in for a projected No. 1 seed this time last week. It hadn’t lost since November and climbed all of the way up to No. 3 in the AP Top 25. Since then, coach Matt Painter’s team gave up a double-digit second-half lead in a one-point home loss to Ohio State on Wednesday and then fell at Michigan State on Saturday.
Still, in the eyes of the selection committee, the Boilermakers’ entire body of work warranted the final No. 1 seed.
Michigan State (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten), meanwhile, has been one of the hottest teams in the country since falling to Ohio State and Michigan on consecutive weekends in early January. In fact, the Spartans have won eight straight games since dropping a home game against the Wolverines on Jan. 13. Miles Bridges kept that streak alive with a game-winning 3-pointer against Purdue on Saturday.
But the Spartans strength of schedule is 114th in the country, and they have only two wins over teams in the top 50 in the rating percentage index (RPI), a meaning metric to the selection committee.
Finally, there’s Ohio State. The Buckeyes (22-5, 13-1), which were picked to finish 11th in the Big Ten in the preseason, are now atop the conference standings. They have won 12 of their past 13 games. And to the committee, their resume is worthy of a No. 4 seed.
Last season, the initial selection committee’s projections were a very accurate indicator of the final bracket. Fifteen of the 16 teams were the same on Selection Sunday.
However, with all of the surprising upsets in recent weeks — St. John’s beating Villanova and Duke, Virginia falling at home to Virginia Tech — selection committee chairman and Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen doesn’t see his that happening this season.
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