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Three Big Ten teams included in first NCAA Tournament “Top 16” projection

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Purdue clings to a 1-seed even after their loss...but geography won’t be kind to them.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Michigan State
A big win, and he still can’t get off the 3-line.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Is it stupid? Yes.

Does it still technically qualify as “news”? Yep.

Reminding us that there are some selection criteria beyond “who’s best, who’s next” in the NCAA Tournament, the Selection Committee gave us a look at its Top 16 teams. (There’s an excellent explanation in that link of geographic 2-seeding after the 1-seeds are placed.) It’s also worth noting that the Big Ten representative on the Committee is Northwestern AD Jim Phillips, while the ACC is represented by Duke AD Kevin White.

Here they are:

South (Atlanta): (1) Virginia Cavaliers, (2) Cincinnati Bearcats, (3) Michigan State Spartans, (4) Tennessee Volunteers

East (Boston): (1) Villanova Wildcats, (2) Duke Blue Devils, (3) Texas Tech Red Raiders, (4) Ohio State Buckeyes

Midwest (Omaha): (1) Xavier Musketeers, (2) Auburn Tigers, (3) Clemson Tigers, (4) Oklahoma Sooners

West (Los Angeles): (1) Purdue Boilermakers, (2) Kansas Jayhawks, (3) North Carolina Tar Heels, (4) Arizona Wildcats

Thoughts

  • What a brutal draw for Purdue. They hang onto the 1-seed even after their loss to Michigan State, but get three “blue blood” programs lurking beneath them on the selection line. On top of that, they’re shunted out West, where they’d be outnumbered by Kansas/Arizona fans, along with whoever from the Pac-12/WCC/MWC is in the West.
  • I’d be wary with Michigan State’s turnover propensity against the aggressive Cincinnati defense, but I’ll be honest—I have a hard time taking the Bearcats beyond the Sweet Sixteen in any bracket.
  • Ohio State sneaks in! There’s a little “controversy,” apparently, that the Gonzaga Bulldogs were snubbed off the 4-seed line, especially with the ‘Zags sitting at 7 in Kenpom and...well, being Gonzaga. But I like the retooled (from the non-conference) Buckeyes to hang with about anyone in the country at this point.
  • Would anyone be afraid of the Midwest as currently constructed? I’m also not buying that Xavier holds on—look for Purdue (or Michigan State, if they win the conference) to slide into the Midwest before it’s all over.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Look for our bracketology roundup later this week, too!