This morning, I presented my top 16 teams in preparation for the Selection Committee’s fourth annual Preview Show. Now, it’s time to review the results.
- Conference leaders (auto bid holders) are marked with an asterisk (*).
- The numbers following a team’s name are its NET (as of Saturday, February 8th), its record in all games against D1 opposition, its record in Quad 1 and 2 games, and its record in Quad 1 games only. This data is from WarrenNolan.com‘s NET team sheets.
My predicted 1s (in order): Baylor, San Diego State, Gonzaga, Kansas
The two Big 12 teams lead the way, thanks to their quality wins, while Gonzaga edges out San Diego State for the No. 1 spot out West, thanks to the Bulldogs’ wins over Pac-12 opponents in non-conference play.
My predicted 2s (in order): Duke, Louisville, Dayton, Maryland
Dayton ranks above Louisville, despite its lack of top-tier wins (although all the Cardinals really have is win at Duke). West Virginia claimed the final No. 2 even after Maryland’s win at Illinois on Friday night. From the NCAA’s March Madness Media Coordinator, David Worlock:
The committee's meeting ended at noon Thursday but they put together contingencies based on outcomes of Thursday and Friday involving teams in the top 16 discussion.— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) February 8, 2020
With West Virginia’s average NET win being 14 places above Maryland’s (90 to 104), this is an understandable choice.
My predicted 3s (in order): Seton Hall, West Virginia, Florida State, Oregon
Now we start to see some real divergence. Seton Hall likely ranks below Florida State and Maryland because of its loss total. Villanova is a real shock here considering its two-game skid, but the Wildcats’ home wins over Kansas and Butler carry real weight.
My predicted 3s (in order): Villanova, Butler, Penn State, Creighton
I was way off on the quartet of No. 4s, with Butler being my only correct choice. Auburn and Michigan State squads that I discounted got the edge over Penn State (20/17-5/10-4/6-3) and Creighton (21/16-6/9-6/6-6). And those two teams weren’t really even in the discussion.
Kevin White says Iowa, Kentucky and LSU were "just outside the top 16" https://t.co/aO3sLY2rLU— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) February 8, 2020
Considering Iowa laid an egg at Purdue, losing by 36 on Wednesday, and LSU were Vanderbilt‘s first SEC victim since March 3, 2018, and you can see why they didn’t make the cut. Meanwhile, Kentucky really needs to keep winning to make up for that horrawful loss to an Evansville team that currently ranks 256th in the NET.
Top Seeds By Region
Again, I’ve put the top 16 in their respective regions as shown in the picture at the top of the post, assigning them to First/Second Round sites.
Overall seed numbers are in parentheses. Total regional seeds, for balance, are indicated in parentheses next to the region name.
1. Baylor* (1) — St. Louis 1
2. Louisville* (7) — St. Louis 2
3. Seton Hall* (11) — Albany 1
4. Auburn (13) — Tampa 2
1. Kansas (2) — Omaha 1
2. Dayton* (6) —Cleveland 1
3. Florida State (10) — Tampa 1
4. Michigan State (16) — Sacramento 2
1. Gonzaga* (3) — Spokane 1
2. West Virginia (8) — Cleveland 2
3. Villanova (12) — Albany 2
4. Oregon* (14) — Spokane 2
1. San Diego State* (4) — Sacramento 1
2. Duke (5) — Greensboro 1
3. Maryland* (9) — Greensboro 2
4. Butler (15) — Omaha 2
Remember that these seedings will serve as the baseline for Tuesday’s bracket, though the weekend’s results will likely cause some shuffling.
I’ll close with some final nuggets from David Worlock on how well the late January/early February Top 16 projects out on Selection Sunday.
In 2017, 15 of the top 16 teams revealed in February remained there in March. In '18, 13 of the 16 teams stayed the same. Last year, it dropped to 11, though 3 of the 5 teams that dropped out were 4 seeds and two were 3 seeds. The top 8 teams remained on the top two lines.— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) February 2, 2020