Many conference regular-season schedules are almost half over, and that means every game is going to count that much more from here on out in college basketball. The NCAA Tournament is just a little less than two months away now, and the top 16 teams are changing, seemingly every week.
We explained our process for these rankings in the first volume of this series, using these factors: actual performance, offensive and defensive efficiency, road record, schedule strength, and team production. Unlike the Associated Press pollsters, we don’t just rank teams by their win-loss record, because not all wins (or losses) are created equally.
Check in every Tuesday this regular season to see how we would rank and seed the top 16 teams in the country, regardless of conference, for March Madness. Here we go, in order:
- Kansas (17-3)
- Duke (16-3)
- Gonzaga (21-1)
- Baylor (17-1)
- Michigan State (15-5)
- Dayton (18-2)
- Louisville (17-3)
- West Virginia (16-3)
- San Diego State (21-0)
- Maryland (16-4)
- Seton Hall (15-4)
- Arizona (13-6)
- Florida State (17-2)
- Oregon (17-4)
- Iowa (15-5)
- Villanova (16-3)
On the cusp: Butler, Ohio State, Purdue, Kentucky, Houston, lllinois, Penn State
We had a chance to catch San Diego State live in person against UNLV on Sunday, and we were not impressed. The game was tied with eight-plus minutes left, and the Aztecs let the Runnin’ Rebels hang around way too long. Considering SDSU’s weak schedule, it’s hard to reward more than we have already for their undefeated record.
Here is how we would seed these 16 teams regionally, based on the upcoming regional sites for the 2020 tournament, with the top seeds getting geographic advantage(s):
- Indianapolis: No. 1 Kansas, No. 8 West Virginia, No. 9 San Diego State, No. 16 Villanova
- New York: No. 2 Duke, No. 7 Louisville, No. 10 Maryland, No. 15 Iowa
- Los Angeles: No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 6 Dayton, No. 11 Seton Hall, No. 14 Oregon
- Houston: No. 4 Baylor, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 12 Arizona, No. 13 Florida State
Our favorites are still Kansas and Duke, followed by Baylor, Michigan State, and Louisville—in that order. These teams have the best balance required in efficiency on both offense and defense.
Everything is subject to change, of course, as we get deeper into the season. That’s the fun part of this weekly update, right?
Stay tuned every Tuesday of the season for updated projections!