NCAA Selection Committee Early Reveal Analysis

The NCAA Basketball Selection Committee revealed on Saturday, Feb.13 the top 16 seeds that would enter the NCAA Tournament as a top four seed if the tourney began today. The committee’s selections convey what the top of the bracket would look like for March Madness, giving fans and analysts a little foreshadowing into what the committee will be looking for come March. 

The breakdown by conference is as follows: the Big 12 led the way with five teams in the top 16 seeds in the early tournament reveal, while the Big 10 were a close second with four. Meanwhile, the South Eastern Conference (SEC) had three squads, and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), West Coast Conference (WCC), Big East and American Athletic Conference (AAC) all had one team apiece. This conference breakdown is not surprising considering the strength top-to-bottom of the Big 12 and Big 10 this year, as well as the emergence of the SEC. Despite the down year for normally dominant Kentucky, the resurgence of Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama from the SEC has led the conference to a great year. The surprise from the breakdown would definitely be the lack of ACC squads. Perennial powerhouses Duke and North Carolina have cooled off, leaving just Viginia (UVA) in the top 16 seeds. The argument could be made that Florida State, ranked 17th in the country, were snubbed from the reveal, but their losses to Georgia Tech, Clemson and Central Florida probably account for their absence in the seeding. 

The number one seeds would be Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Ohio State. Obviously, given their undefeated starts to the season, Gonzaga and Baylor are the top contenders in the big dance. Both have veteran presences and the top defenses in the country. Michigan and Ohio State are the best of the Big 10 and have talent all over the court. Being paired with any four of these squads would be a near death sentence for any team in the country. 

The two seeds from the reveal would be Illinois, Villanova, Alabama and Houston. Of the four, Illinois would most likely be the most dangerous team, given their success in a packed Big 10 conference. They are challenged night-in and night-out and have risen to the challenge. Villanova is getting into the heart of their Big East schedule, but should fare well heading into the tournament. Alabama was the hottest team in college hoops just a couple weeks ago, but losses to Missouri and Oklahoma have brought them back down to earth. They will still be a dangerous team in the tournament, and can hang with anyone in the country. Meanwhile, the Houston Cougars will be a bit of a wild card heading into the tournament, as they have not faced many real challenges, but have dispatched all but one of their opponents. They can score the basketball, but we will not know whether or not they can go toe-to-toe with the big dogs until they enter the dance. 

The three seeds would be UVA, West Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma. West Virginia and Oklahoma just battled in a 91-90 double-OT victory for the Sooners in one of the best games of this college basketball season. Oklahoma is on the rise, and will be a tough matchup for anyone in the tournament. Tennessee is a team that can really defend, but are beatable, as they have struggled against the top of the SEC. Their latest 78-65 loss to Louisiana State (LSU) shows just that. UVA is a well-coached team that has the ninth-best defense in the country according to Bart Torvik’s metrics. Tony Bennett’s team won the last NCAA Tournament in 2018-19 and will look to make another deep run in March. 

The four seeds would be Iowa, Texas Tech, Texas and Missouri. Iowa is the headliner of the group. They have the best defense in the country, according to Torvik, and will have the best player in the country at their disposal in Luka Garza. Texas Tech and Texas are dangerous squads from the Big 12 that both have talented backcourts. Meanwhile, Missouri is an up-and-down team that will matchup well with teams that are guard-heavy. Their duo of Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith can hang with any backcourt in the nation. 

With the reveal of the Selection Committee’s top 16 seeds, many people are making their predictions for who will fill out the rest of the bracket. However, regardless of who else finds themselves in the mix, we know that the tournament will be filled with talent and should be as entertaining as any “Big Dance,” in recent history. Also, there is a squad from Hamilton, New York that may just be a Giant Killer in the making.