Breaking down the NCAA basketball seeding reveal

Last Sunday, the NCAA men’s basketball committee revealed the top 16 seeds in a preview of the March Madness tournament. The University of Virginia (UVA), despite coming off a loss to Virginia Tech, led the group with the top overall seed. Right behind UVA was Villanova University, another team coming off a bad loss. Villanova lost its second game of the season to the St. John’s University last Wednesday. The other two number one seeds went to Xavier University and Purdue University. Purdue’s seeding comes as a surprise given that they had two losses in the week prior to the voting.

Some of the notable snubs from this selection include No. 15 St Mary’s College, No. 9 Gonzaga University, and No. 16 University of Rhode Island. Snubbing these highly ranked teams tells the public about the priorities of the committee voters—they like teams with big wins.

Gonzaga has only lost four games. Their only tough wins are against Ohio State University and Creighton University. St. Mary’s, tied for first in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga, has just three losses on the season. But other than a win against Gonzaga, they have no victories against top-60 teams according to the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Rhode Island is in a similar situation, playing in a weak Atlantic 10 conference. The team’s biggest win is against a bubble team, Seton Hall University.

The No. 2 seeds were Auburn University, Duke University, the University of Kansas and the University of Cincinnati in that order, and all of them but Cincinnati lost in the week leading up to the voting. Clemson University, Texas Tech University, Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) made up the No. 3 seeds. The top sixteen was rounded off by the University of Tennessee, Ohio State, University of Arizona and the University of Oklahoma.

Based off of the number of teams selected for the top 16, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is the best conference in America. The committee selected four of the conference’s team. The ACC is followed by the Big Ten with three. Next are the Big East and the Southeastern Conference with two teams. The last conferences with teams in the top 16 were the American Athletic Conference and the Pacific 12.   

UVA, despite its recent loss to Virginia Tech, is well deserving of its spot. The team is playing arguably the most consistently of any team in the nation and boasts the No. 1 RPI rank. Villanova is also placed fairly. They are led by third-year player Jalen Brunson, one of the best guards in the nation and contender for NCAA player of the year.

Xavier’s placement at No. 3 overall seemed a little high. They lost to Providence College not too long ago and are playing in a fairly weak Big East conference. UNC was the most overrated team in the group of 16, coming in at No. 12. Although a win against Duke bolstered their seeding, UNC has seven losses so far. Some of these losses were against inferior teams, such as Wofford University and North Carolina State University.

Last season was the first in which the basketball committee released preview seedings. When it was time for seeding for the actual tournament, 15 of those 16 teams were still in the top 16.  Although there is plenty of regular season basketball to be played around the country, limited history says not to expect any huge shake-ups in March.



South (Atlanta):

(1) Virginia

(2) Cincinnati

(3) Michigan St.

(4) Tennessee

East (Boston):

(1) Villanova

(2) Duke

(3) Texas Tech

(4) Ohio State

Midwest (Omaha):

(1) Xavier

(2) Auburn

(3) Clemson

(4) Oklahoma

West (Los Angeles):

(1) Purdue

(2) Kansas

(3) North Carolina

(4) Arizona