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March Madness Preview Special 2020 Recap

The Selection Committee threw up some curveballs for bracketologists.

The top four seeds in each region as announced by the Selection Committee.
Chris Dobbertean from the CBS TV broadcast

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.

Notes:

  • 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.

No. 1s: 1. Baylor* (2/20-1/13-1/7-0), 2. Kansas (4/18-3/14-3/9-3), 3. Gonzaga* (3/24-1/7-1/4-1), 4. San Diego State* (1/22-0/8-0/4-0)

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.

No. 2s: 5. Duke (6/19-3/7-2/4-1), 6. Dayton* (5/20-2/7-2/3-2), 7. Louisville* (7/20-3/6-3/3-3), 8. West Virginia (10/18-4/10-4/4-3)

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:

With West Virginia’s average NET win being 14 places above Maryland’s (90 to 104), this is an understandable choice.

No. 3s: 9. Maryland* (9/19-4/11-4/7-4), 10. Florida State (14/19-3/9-3/4-2), 11. Seton Hall* (13/17-5/12-5/7-4), 12. Villanova (15/17-5/10-5/6-5)

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.

No. 4s: 13. Auburn (17/20-2/9-2/3-2), 14. Oregon* (19/18-5/9-5/6-3), 15. Butler (11/18-5/12-5/8-4), 16. Michigan State (12/16-7/8-7/3-6)

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.

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.

South (32)

1. Baylor* (1) — St. Louis 1
2. Louisville* (7) — St. Louis 2
3. Seton Hall* (11) — Albany 1
4. Auburn (13) — Tampa 2

Midwest (34)

1. Kansas (2) — Omaha 1
2. Dayton* (6) —Cleveland 1
3. Florida State (10) — Tampa 1
4. Michigan State (16) — Sacramento 2

West (37)

1. Gonzaga* (3) — Spokane 1
2. West Virginia (8) — Cleveland 2
3. Villanova (12) — Albany 2
4. Oregon* (14) — Spokane 2

East (33)

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.

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