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NCAA Basketball Bracketology: Unveiling STL’s top 16 teams

Hey Coach. What seed do you think the Hoos have earned?

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For as long as I can remember, the deliberations and inner workings of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee have been shrouded in secrecy, only rivaled by Baseball’s Hall of Fame voters. Until now.

Later today, Saturday, February 11th, the committee will unveil the top four teams in each region if the season were to end today. It will give college basketball fans a rare look into what the committee values and some clues to how things will play out come Selection Sunday.

While this early top-16 reveal by the committee is inconsequential at this point, it will be interesting to see how the committee lands on each of the top teams. Do they favor RPI? Quality wins? Have their meetings with Ken Pomeroy and Jeff Sagarin convinced them to lean more heavily towards advanced metrics? All will be known come 12:30 p.m. But until then, here’s STL’s take on this year’s top seeds.

East Regional

  1. Villanova Wildcats
  2. North Carolina Tar Heels
  3. Wisconsin Badgers
  4. West Virginia Mountaineers

South Regional

  1. Baylor Bears
  2. Florida Gators
  3. Florida State Seminoles
  4. Purdue Boilermakers

Midwest Regional

  1. Kansas Jayhawks
  2. Louisville Cardinals
  3. Butler Bulldogs
  4. Duke Blue Devils

West Regional

  1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  2. Virginia Cavaliers
  3. Kentucky Wildcats
  4. UCLA Bruins

Just Missed: Creighton, Oregon, Arizona, Cincinnati

A few additional thoughts to chew on:

  • Gonzaga is actually the fourth number one seed in my rankings. While I think the Bulldogs are very good, and even with a loss along the way are deserving of a number one seed, their resume just doesn’t have the volume of quality that other teams have. They’ve all but capped their top 50 win potential, so their margin for error is razor thin.
  • While it’s not reflected today, the winner of the ACC (should it be UNC, UVA, Louisville, FSU, or possibly Duke) should be considered for a number one seed. However, should the league continue its fratricidal ways, and Baylor and Kansas continue to pile up wins, the two line would be the likely landing spot for two or three of the ACC’s best.
  • Purdue and Wisconsin are the cream of the Big 10 crop, but unfortunately for them, that might not be saying much. The league is extremely weak this year and the Badgers’ and Boilermakers’ resumes reflect that. Each have significantly fewer quality wins than those teams ranked around them, but both score well with the computers. Unless Maryland sneaks into the top 25, Wisconsin won't play a ranked opponent the rest of the way. Given lack of strength of competition, both Purdue and Wisconsin will be on thin ice as they look to maintain their current seed level.
  • Like the Big 10, the Pac 12 doesn’t afford its league members much room for error. The league is top heavy with UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona all vying for a top 4 seed. But like the ACC it's possible these teams cancel each other out. UCLA and Oregon have already split, while Arizona got the better of the Bruins, but Oregon is one up on the Wildcats. This one could come down to whoever wins the conference tournament to determine who gets the highest seed line in the big dance.
  • Creighton is falling fast. Just two weeks ago, the Blue Jays were flirting with a two seed. Now, they've fallen out of the top 16 altogether. It will make Creighton fans wonder, what if Mo Watson didn't get hurt?
  • Also just missing out are the Cincinnati Bearcats. The American Athletic Conference leaders have only two losses, but lack quality wins as well. That being said, if I’m a one or two seed, that's not the team I want as my five/six seed matchup.

How’d we do? Watch the selection special and leave comment.

What: NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee Top 16 Reveal

Time: 12:30 pm ET; Saturday, February 11