For the third season in a row, the NCAA Tournament selection committee released the top 16 teams in the field if the season were to end today.
As expected, Kentucky checked in as a 2-seed in the Midwest Region with Virginia as the 1. The Cats are actually the top 2-seed and have a clear path to a 1-seed.
NCAA Top 16 (NET ranking in parentheses):— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 9, 2019
1) Duke (3)
2) Tenn (4)
3) UVA (1)
4) Gonzaga (2)
5) UK (5)
6) Michigan (6)
7) UNC (8)
8) Mich. St. (7)
9) Purdue (13)
10) Kansas (20)
11) Houston (9)
12) Marquette (23)
13) Iowa St (15)
14) Nevada (17)
15) Louisville (16)
16) Wisc (14)
Once upon a time, the RPI rating for each team dictated a great deal of the seeding process. That’s ancient history, according to committee chair Bernard Muir.
“To be quite honest with you, I’m not looking at the RPI any more,” said Muir in an interview earlier this week. “We as a committee have decided the RPI is kind of yesterday’s news. Now we have this new feature called the NET. That’s what we’re plugged into.”
The seeding for this initial tournament preview show followed the NET almost completely. The Kentucky Wildcats are currently No. 5 in the NET rankings with the four 1-seeds ranked ahead of them.
After an embarrassing loss against Duke in the season opener and stumbling through the non-conference slate, Kentucky looks like the team everyone expected coming out of the Bahamas. After the Seton Hall loss in December, not even the most optimistic of fans would have predicted how dominant this team has looked in the last two weeks.
While it is doubtful that a win over Mississippi State today would move the needle at all for the Wildcats, a week from today Kentucky will have the opportunity to rip Tennessee’s 1-seed right out of their hands.
In fact, the Wildcats have at least two matchups with the Volunteers remaining this season, with a potential third game in the SEC Tournament. Assuming there are no other surprises or injuries moving forward, it seems these UK-UT battles will be for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament in six weeks or so.
As for the top seeds in this projection, Duke (1), Tennessee (2), Virginia (3) and Gonzaga (4) made up the 1-seeds. Those are the top four teams in NET.
If the tournament started today... pic.twitter.com/amdEdgODcB— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) February 9, 2019
What did you think of Kentucky’s ranking in the initial bracket preview?