NCAA Tournament Projections As of Feb. 15

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee revealed their current top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. For the most part, the committee’s selections matched up closely with what I projected on Friday.

Let’s find out why the committee went in the direction that they did.

Stadium’s Top 16 Projections (2/12):
One Seeds: Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Ohio State
Two Seeds: Illinois, Alabama, Villanova, Houston
Three Seeds: Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Four Seeds: Missouri, Florida State, Texas Tech, Iowa

NCAA D-I Committee’s Top 16 (2/13):
One Seeds: Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Ohio State
Two Seeds: Illinois, Villanova, Alabama, Houston
Three Seeds: Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma
Four Seeds: Iowa, Texas Tech, Texas, Missouri

Except for the flip-flop of Villanova and Alabama, our projections were spot-on for the first eleven spots. The committee went with Oklahoma, a team I had on the five line, for the final three seed.

The committee members clearly value high-quality wins and overall strength of schedule (SOS), which is why even though Wisconsin had more combined Q1 and Q2 wins than Oklahoma, the Sooners’ top-25 victories and better SOS prevailed in the committee’s eyes. Because of Oklahoma’s win over West Virginia on Saturday afternoon, the Sooners moved up even further in today’s bracket.

The other difference was the committee’s inclusion of Texas, who landed on the four line. The committee once again valued SOS, as the Longhorns currently hold the seventh best SOS in the country. Mitch Barnhart, the committee chair, did say on Saturday’s telecast that Florida State and USC were two teams they considered for the final spot. One can assume that if the seeding had continued, the Seminoles and Trojans would have been five seeds. In fact, I’ve moved USC up to the fourth line after Missouri’s loss on Saturday.

While you never want to read too much into these early rankings, it’s clear that SOS and high-quality Q1 wins will be the primary factors in selecting and seeding teams for the NCAA Tournament.

This season, I’m very excited about the new Bracketology by TKBrackets podcast. On each episode we will take a look at the most recent bracket and highlight teams that have made moves. We will also have guests on like the top bracketologists in the country, NCAA staff members who help put the official bracket together, former selection committee members and the biggest names in college basketball.

Check out the latest podcast and get caught up on all the past episodes right here at Buzzsprout or anywhere you go to listen to podcasts.

LAST FOUR IN: North Carolina, Stanford, Indiana, Western Kentucky
FIRST FOUR OUT: Ole Miss, UConn, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis
NEXT FOUR OUT: Richmond, St. John’s, Maryland, Georgia Tech

CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big Ten: 9
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
SEC: 5
Pac-12: 5
Big East: 4
MW: 4
MVC: 2
WCC: 2
C-USA: 2