For most major-conference men’s basketball teams, this is the final week of the regular season. That means there is literally little time left to make an impression on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee for March Madness.
The spots at the top are getting more solidified, too, as games are taking on more significance, and the best teams are entrenched somewhat at the top of the pile. Just two weeks out from Selection Sunday, it’s pretty clear which teams are going to be getting most of the top seeds for the tourney.
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. We had 38 teams under consideration this week.
Here we go, in order, with new teams in the rankings denoted by an asterisk (*):
- Kansas (28-3)
- Gonzaga (29-2)
- Baylor (26-3)
- San Diego State (28-1)
- Michigan State (20-9)
- Dayton (27-2)
- Duke (24-6)
- Louisville (24-6)
- Ohio State (20-9)
- Florida State (24-5)
- Maryland (23-6)
- BYU* (24-7)
- Seton Hall* (21-7)
- Villanova (22-7)
- Houston* (22-7)
- Kentucky* (24-5)
On the cusp: Arizona (19-10), Michigan (18-11), Creighton (22-7), Oregon (22-7)
Remember, you just have to ignore the Associated Press and USA Today polls. They mostly go by record only, which means next to nothing. Like last week, there is a considerable gap in our projections between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Arizona Wildcats, and there is a big gap between the Ducks and the Penn State Nittany Lions, the next team on our list of teams under consideration.
Here is how we would seed these 16 teams regionally, based on the upcoming regional sites for the 2020 tournament, with the top-four seeds getting geographic advantage(s):
- Indianapolis: No. 1 Kansas, No. 8 Louisville, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 16 Kentucky
- Los Angeles: No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 7 Duke, No. 10 Florida State, No. 15 Houston
- Houston: No. 3 Baylor, No. 6 Dayton, No. 11 Maryland, No. 14 Villanova
- New York: No. 4 San Diego State, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 12 BYU, No. 13 Seton Hall
That Indy regional projection looks nasty, with all four top seeds there very close to home—and bringing their rabid fan bases with them. We’d love tickets to that grouping: Wow! That would be one major dogfight to get out of that regional alive to advance to the Final Four.
Also, using the offensive and defensive efficiency balance is the best way to project a tourney champion, and right now, the top tier of potential champs has just one team in it: Kansas. The second tier is slimmer than last week with just Duke and San Diego State. The third tier is more crowded: Baylor, Michigan State, and Ohio State—with Maryland sneaking in there, too.
That’s two Big XII teams and three B1G teams in the group of seven with the best shot to win it all. Keep this in mind when it comes time to fill out your brackets in two weeks!
Stay tuned every Tuesday of the season for updated projections …