In one of the closest battles for a No. 1 seed in recent memory, Kansas used a late push to leap forward and claim a seed on the eve of Draft Sunday.
The Jayhawks (28-6, 14-4) escaped Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament final on Saturday to claim their 12th win of the season in Quadrant 1. That number leads the nation in the metric of the NCAA for quality wins. Blood Kentucky, which lost to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament semifinals and consequently fell to the No. 2 line in the final bracketology projection.
Kansas also beat Big 12 foe Baylor, who exited the league tournament early with an upset loss to Oklahoma. the selection Sunday show (6 p.m. ET on CBS). For the second straight year, the Bulldogs (26-3, 13-1 West Coast Conference) will claim the top seed, while Arizona ( 31-3, 18-2 Pac-12) finished strong with a Pac-12 Tournament title win over UCLA to position themselves to claim the No. 2 seed.
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Joining Kentucky at the No. 2 starting line is SEC foe Auburn, which held an NCAA top-16 seed several weeks ago but has lost three of its last six and featured a NET score outside the top 10. Tennessee’s SEC Tournament win on Sunday helped the Vols move to the No. 2 line alongside Big East Tournament champion Villanova.
Duke, ACC regular season champion was at one point close to the No. 1 seed line before falling to Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament Finals The Blue Devils fell to the No. 3 seed line at the last minute and that can largely be attributed to a down year in the ACC, which worked against the program by earning a top seed in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.
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While the Big Ten has had a great season overall with nine bids slated, none of its top teams are likely to acquire a top-2 seed Sunday pick, Wisconsin and Purdue (scheduled No. 3 seeds) not finishing strong enough. The Big Ten can win the bubble, however, with Indiana and Rutgers among borderline teams are expected to squeeze into the 68 field — beating other bubble-chasing teams that have transpired so far.
The loser of the bubble is undoubtedly the Atlantic 10, and the NIT seeds could come from the mid-big conference. Dayton, VCU and Saint Louis all had strong credentials but were overtaken by teams in the power conference.
Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas, Baylor.
The last four of
Wyoming, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Rutgers.
First four out
Michigan, Xavier, SMU, BYU.
Next four out
Dayton, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, VCU.
Others considered for general offers: St. John’s, Florida, Colorado, Santa Clara, Saint Louis.
Multi-candidate conferences: Big Ten (8), SEC (7), Big East (6), Big 12 (6), ACC (5), Mountain West (4), Pac-12 (3), West Coast (3), American Athletic (2).
Leaders or Highest NET of Planned Single Bid Conferences – (23 total): Atlantic 10 – Davidson; East America -Vermont; Atlantic Sun – State of Jacksonville; big sky – State of Montana; Great South -Longwood; Great West – State of California Fullerton; AAC -Delaware; C-United States – UAB; Horizon – State of Wright; Ivy League -Princeton; MAAC – Saint Pierre; Mac – Akron; CAEM – State of Norfolk; Missouri Valley – Loyola-Chicago; Northeast -Bryant; Ohio Valley – State of Murray; Patriot -Colgate; From South -Chattanooga; South Land – Texas A&M-CC; SWAC – South Texas; Mountain peak – State of South Dakota; Solar Belt – State of Georgia; WAC – State of New Mexico.
- Ineligible schools: Oklahoma State (prohibited), Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack, Dixie State, Tarleton State, Bellarmine, UC San Diego, St. Thomas.
NCAA Tournament Language Explainer:
- NET means NCAA Assessment Toolwhich is the selection committee’s barometer. It includes match results, schedule strength, match venue, scoring margin (capped at 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
- Quadrant 1 wins: Home games against teams 1-30 NET; Matches on neutral site against 1-50 NET; Away games against 1-75 NET
- Quadrant 2 wins: Home games against 31-75 NET; Games on neutral site against 51-100 NET; Away games against 76-135 NET
- Quadrant 3 wins: Home games against 76-160 NET; Games on neutral site against 101-200 NET; Away games against 136-240 NET
- Quadrant 4 wins: Home games against more than 161 NET; Games on neutral site against more than 201 NET; Away games against more than 241 NET
To note: Most of the statistical data comes from WarrenNolan.com The NET ranking (NCAA Evaluation Tool) is also a point of reference.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been casting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket WAG He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his ninth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished among the top three bracketologists in the last eight NCAA tournaments. also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 selection committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
About Our College Basketball Reporter: Scott Gleeson has covered men’s college basketball for USA TODAY since 2012, contributing bracketology and Bubble Tracker execution before tackling all March Madness after draft Sunday. He correctly predicted that Virginia would win the national championship in 2019 before the start of the season and also picked Loyola-Chicago as mid-major Cinderella in 2018. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.