LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – There’s work to do for the Louisville and Kentucky basketball teams. Lots of work if the Cardinals and Wildcats expect to earn higher seeds for the NCAA Tournament.

In a predictive (and practice) bracket released by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Saturday afternoon,  Louisville and Kentucky were booked for a Sweet Sixteen game in New York City at Madison Square Garden, with the Cards a two seed, the Wildcats a three in the East Regional.

Ninety minutes before the Cardinals played Miami at the KFC Yum! Center, the Cardinals learned there was officially a three-team gap in their push to earn a One-Seed in the NCAA bracket. The four top seeds went to (in order) Villanova, Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, the committee chairman, said the Cards were seventh in the overall bracket. He placed the Cardinals in the East Regional. The top East seed is Villanova, the defending national champion. Two Atlantic Coast Conference teams -- North Carolina and Florida State -- were ranked ahead of Louisville and two others (Virginia and Duke) also made the Sweet Sixteen.

Kentucky earned a three-seed in the East. The Wildcats earned the No. 12 overall seed, one spot behind Florida, the top-rated team in the Southeastern Conference.

This is the first time the Tournament Selection Committee has previewed the bracket prior to Selection Sunday. Hollis said the change was made to increase transparency in the selection process and because the National Association of Basketball Coaches asked for the preview bracket.

"Those (top) four teams are having tremendous seasons," Hollis said. "But as we know in college basketball, things change quickly. There are more than 1,300 games left before Selection Sunday so how these teams are seeded and where they will ultimately be sent to play in the NCAA Tournament remains a mystery."

“I’m excited about it,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said during an appearance on the CBS telecast. “I think it’s really good that they’re doing it.”

Here are the brackets

East Regional (New York City)

1. Villanova (No. 1 overall)

2. Louisville (No. 7)

3. Kentucky (No. 12)

4. UCLA (No. 15)

Midwest (Kansas City)

1. Kansas (No. 2)

2. Florida State (No. 6)

3. Arizona (No. 9)

4. Duke (No. 16)


1. Baylor (No. 3)

2. North Carolina (No. 5)

3. Florida (No. 11)

4. Butler (No. 13)


1. Gonzaga (No. 4)

2. Oregon (No. 8)

3. Virginia (No. 10)

4. West Virginia (No. 14)

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