The University of Virginia is the No. 1 ranked team and a member of the NCAA Selection Committee said they, along with Villanova, Xavier and Purdue are the current No. 1 seeds.
Committee Chairman Bill Rasmussen released a preview of the top 16 teams on Sunday and said the Cavaliers would get the overall No. 1 seed.
“When the committee started our meeting on Tuesday, I think there was a general agreement on who the top three teams were, but by late Saturday night that group had grown to four,” he said in a statement. “We initially felt Villanova was the overall top seed, but we flipped that Thursday morning after the Wildcats lost to St. John’s at home and Virginia won at Florida State.”
It was a tumultuous weekend in college basketball as the top three ranked teams all lost at home. In addition to Villanova, Virginia and Purdue were all upset victims.
But those losses didn’t negatively affect their seeds in the committee’s mind. It did change the Associated Press Top 25 as Villanova fell to No. 3 from No. 1 and Purdue dropped from No. 3 to No. 6.
It also changed the odds of winning the NCAA Championship. Michigan State is the new favorite at 5/1. Villanova is 6/1, Virginia is 7/1 and Duke is at 8/1.
Surprisingly the committee didn’t think much of the favored Spartans, placing them as a No. 3 seed, despite beating the No. 1 seeded Purdue Boilermakers.
Another head scratching selection was ranking Clemson as a No. 3 seed. The Tigers had one early loss to unranked Temple, but its other three losses came to Top 25 teams. They are the fourth in the college basketball Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which measures strength of schedule based on its wins and losses.
The other No. 3 seeds are Texas Tech and North Carolina. The four teams that are seeded second in the bracket preview are Auburn, Duke, Kansas and Cincinnati. The No. 4 seeds are Tennessee, Ohio State, Arizona and Oklahoma.
Two universities left off the list were Gonzaga and Rhode Island. The No. 9 Bulldogs lost in the title game last year to North Carolina. Rhode Island is ranked No. 16. Both teams are hurt by playing in weaker conferences, but the Rams are fifth in RPI.
Preview Doesn’t Guarantee Success
This is the second consecutive year the committee has provided a sneak peak into their thought process on how they select the first 16 colleges of the eventual 68 that will participate in the tournament.
Last year’s reveal had Kansas, Villanova, Baylor and Gonzaga as the top seeds. Baylor was dropped to a No. 3 on selection Sunday, replaced by North Carolina.
Of the No. 1 seeds, only Gonzaga and North Carolina made the Final Four. Villanova was knocked out in the second round by Wisconsin and Kansas made the Elite Eight.