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BOZICH | Previewing NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Top 16 preview

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Rick Bozich previews the top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Rick Bozich previews the top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A round of applause for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, please.

Selection Sunday will be preceded by Preview Saturday this season.

Coaches, players and fans have howled for more transparency in the selection process for the 68-team tournament field. The committee responded with this change:

The announcement of the top 16 teams on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Any coach wondering what the committee thinks about his team’s credentials won’t have to wait until mid-March for an answer. Or to complain.

Of course, there’s no reason to wait 15 days to start the fussing. I decided to pick and then rank the top 16 teams. My formula is not the one the committee will use. My formula tilted toward computer power numbers.

I used four – Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, Kevin Pauga and the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). For the fifth poll, I added the rankings from the latest Associated Press college basketball Top 25.

The numbers in parentheses after each team on my seed list are their total points in the five rankings.

Example: Kentucky is ranked second in Pomeroy and Sagarin, fifth in Pauga, sixth in RPI and fourth in the AP. That’s 19 points, second to Villanova.

Interesting footnote: The five rankings have four different teams on top – Gonzaga tops Pomeroy, West Virginia leads Sagarin predictor; Baylor is first in Pauga and RPI and Villanova leads the AP Top 25.

Pay attention, committee members. Here is the composite Top 16.

No. 1 Seeds

Villanova (17) – Defending national champion shares the Big East lead with Butler. The Wildcats are one of seven teams ranked in the Top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency in Ken Pomeroy’s metrics. That’s been a common trait of recent NCAA champs. They can take a major move toward securing a top seed by beating Virginia Sunday.

Kentucky (19) – The Wildcats are the only team you’ll find in the top six in all five rankings, sitting as high as second in Pomeroy and Sagarin. A victory against Kansas Saturday is not essential to a Number One seed, but it wouldn’t hurt.

Baylor (26) – Two computer polls love the Bears. They’re first in Pauga and RPI. Surprising? Not really. The Bears have only lost once.

Gonzaga (29) – You hear people say this is Mark Few’s best team, which is the same thing you heard in 2015 and 2013 and … If you like the Zags, you're OK with this. If you question the Zags, you'll remain a skeptic until Few gets his program to a Final Four.

No. 2 Seeds

Louisville (33) – The computer formulas value Rick Pitino’s team considerably more than the human polls. The Cardinals are ranked as high as fourth in Sagarin and RPI and should be favored to win eight of their next 10.

Kansas (33) – The Jayhawks aren’t big. They lack depth. And university police are investigating the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in the Kansas basketball dorm. Bill Self, welcome to the hot seat.

North Carolina (41) – The Tar Heels have quietly wiggled into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference but they have yet to play Virginia, Duke, Louisville or Notre Dame.

Virginia (43) – The Cavaliers have won five straight, but their loss to Pittsburgh is a reminder that nobody can beat anybody in college basketball this season. Pittsburgh?

No. 3 Seeds

Arizona (46) – The Wildcats are hot, hot, hot, winning at USC and UCLA last weekend. Lauri Markkanen has emerged as the most versatile big man in the nation.

Butler (51) – The Bulldogs flash a remarkable 9-1 record against Top 50 teams in the Sagarin ratings. That includes non-league wins against Arizona, Cincinnati and Indiana.

Florida State (59) – Georgia Tech 78, FSU 56. No wonder the Seminoles plunged to 20 in Pomeroy and 21 in Sagarin.

Oregon (65) – The Pac-12 schedule has been favorable to the Ducks, who play seven of their last 11 games away from home.

No. 4 Seeds

Wisconsin (76) – The Badgers are tied with Maryland and have a half-game edge on Purdue in the Big Ten. They get the Terps in Madison and are already finished with the Boilermakers. They're The Team to Beat in the Big Ten.

West Virginia (76) – The Mountaineers were good enough to beat Baylor and Kansas in Morgantown, but not good enough to handle Oklahoma at home. Please explain, Bob Huggins. Does Bob Huggins have to give back $25,000 for losing to the Sooners?

Florida (77) – If you told me that a second team from the Southeastern Conference would make the Top 16 seeds, I would have picked South Carolina.

UCLA (85) – The Bruins have allowed 80 or more points in five consecutive games. No surprise they have lost their last two and the players organized a team meeting after losing to former Louisville guard Shaqquan Aaron and USC on Wednesday night.

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