First Look at NCAA Tournament Seeds: What is the Committee Thinking?

Photo Credit: The Washington Post

On Saturday, February 11th, 2017, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee gave us an early look at who they would have as their current #1 through #4 seeds in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time ever.

In previous years, the world only got to see how the committee thinks when they actually released the bracket itself with all of the teams seeded and their first round matchups set in stone on Selection Sunday in March.

This year was different, and because of that, it has created more of a buzz and a controversy around the sport, and many people are left wondering what the committee actually values given some of the surprises of their provisional seedings.

Here are the provisional seedings if each of the committee’s #1 through #4 seeds were to make it into the Sweet Sixteen. Note that these records are as of the release of these seedings, which took place at 12:30 PM EST on Saturday, so they do not include any results of Saturday’s games.

 

EAST REGION

nova #1 Villanova Wildcats (23-2) vs. ucla #4 California-Los Angeles Bruins (UCLA) (22-3)

lou #2 Louisville Cardinals (19-5) vs. uk #3 Kentucky Wildcats (19-5)

 

MIDWEST REGION

kansas #1 Kansas Jayhawks (21-3) vs. duke #4 Duke Blue Devils (19-5)

fsu #2 Florida State Seminoles (21-4) vs. ariz #3 Arizona Wildcats (22-3)

 

SOUTH REGION

baylor #1 Baylor Bears (21-3) vs. butler #4 Butler Bulldogs (19-5)

unc #2 North Carolina Tar Heels (21-5) vs. fla #3 Florida Gators (19-5)

 

WEST REGION

gonzag #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-0) vs. wvu #4 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-5)

oreg #2 Oregon Ducks (21-4) vs. uva #3 Virginia Cavaliers (18-5)

 

Some of these seedings just seem off. Way off, and way too far off to be close for comfort when Selection Sunday does roll around on Sunday, March 12th, 2017. Here are just a few things that are wrong with these seedings.

 

  1. Where are the Wisconsin Badgers?
    • The Badgers are currently a 21-3 team ranked #7 in the AP Poll, but the committee did not see them as a top 16 team for some reason. Ridiculous.
  2. How many times does Virginia need to smash Louisville for the committee to care?
    • The Cavaliers knocked off the Cardinals both at home and on the road by a combined 22-point margin. Both teams have 5 losses, yet Louisville is one seed above Virginia. Huh??
  3. If Kentucky is so good, shouldn’t UCLA be seeded higher?
    • UCLA went into Rupp Arena and beat the Wildcats for their first loss as a top 5 team under head coach John Calipari. The Bruins also have two fewer losses than the Wildcats, yet they are one seed lower. Something is not right here.
  4. What more does Gonzaga need to do?
    • The Bulldogs beat Florida and Arizona as well as the Iowa State Cyclones and the Saint Mary’s Gaels (twice). Oh, and they have not lost a game. Why are they the final #1 seed? Don’t ask me!
  5. Florida?????????????????????
    • Florida beat Kentucky by 22 points at home. Other than that, they have not beaten a ranked opponent all season. A #3 seed? Give me a break.
  6. Why no respect for West Virginia?
    • West Virginia has only played three ranked opponents all season long. However, each of those three, Kansas, Baylor, and Virginia, was ranked in the top 6 at the time of the matchup, and West Virginia won each game, including a road win over Virginia, who has the same number of losses as West Virginia but is one seed higher. That should easily net the Mountaineers higher than a #4 seed. But, it doesn’t.
  7. Butler’s win over Villanova should not change the entire landscape of the tournament.
    • To be fair, these seedings were made before Butler’s loss to the Providence Friars on Saturday. Still, having just lost back-to-back homes games to opponents they should have beaten and only really having one big win over Villanova, the Bulldogs having a #4 seed does not seem right. Not at all.

 

There are definitely some more little things that people would argue about in terms of why they disagree with these current seeds, and there are definitely some people out there who think these seeds are actually very representative of how good these teams are.

However, based on the information that I have just shared, hopefully in four weeks when the committee meets again to set the real matchups for this season’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, they can fix a few if not all of these oversights so that the seedings really do reflect how good these teams are.

 

-Asher Fair

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