The NCAA is releasing an initial list of the top 16 teams (four seed lines) on Saturday. The evaluation will be done based on games through tonight, including the Duke-North Carolina, Oregon-UCLA, and Purdue-Indiana games.
This is my attempt, using some of the principles that have tended to be important in projecting the top of the NCAA tournament. Here is my current Top 24, and I list some of the things that are either important to the committee or tend to reflect what happens (for example, I’m not sure to what extent the committee looks at the AP poll, but the top of seeding tends to follow it in most cases). Listed are the RPI rank, AP rank, ranking by Ken Pomeroy, the current record vs RPI Top 50, and best wins for comparison.
The cutline for the top 16 right now is such that I have UCLA, Kentucky, and Duke all just out, along with Cincinnati. I wouldn’t be surprised if those teams enter, but I would be shocked if anyone else appeared on the committee’s list on Saturday. Cincinnati is ranked highly, and has a gaudy record, but the head-to-head loss to Butler puts them below others, and they don’t have any top wins to shoot them up.
We’ve heard grumblings that Duke will get a pass for the Coach K absence. Well, even if that plays out, it won’t appear in what the committee releases Saturday. Kentucky just lost to Florida and I think they will be below the Gators on the seed line, and they have missed opportunities at home against UCLA and Kansas. UCLA could jump up with a win over Oregon tonight. In fact, I would swap them with Creighton in that case.
Here is my projection for what the Committee will release in terms of regions and locations for the top 16 teams:
And now, we wait back to parse what the Committee actually does this week with its early reveal.