We’re closing in on the 2019 NCAA Tournament, and it’s time to take a look at the top 16 in our S-curve as of right now. Remember, at bracketyard.com, we have our bracketology segment with the full S-curve and looks at all of the regional pods. Today, however, it’s just a mini-update.
These are the top 16 teams on our list as of March 6. As you probably figured out on your own, 1 thru 4 are projected one seeds, 5 thru 8 are two seeds, and on down the list. Here we go.
Our one seeds as of today are Virginia, Duke, Gonzaga, and Kentucky, in that order. Duke and Virginia happen to have the best resumes out there, particularly Duke, with high NET, high strength of schedule, and 8 quadrant 1 wins. Virginia has 9 of them and let me tell you, they look damn impressive. Of course, being number one overall in the tournament did absolutely nothing for them last time. They could live with second if that’s what happens.
Gonzaga is third – they probably aren’t losing again until maybe the NCAA Tournament. With only four quadrant 1 wins, truth is they’d probably not be a one seed if they had a third or a fourth loss, and Duke is their only signature win, but they played a good non-conference schedule. As for Kentucky over Tennessee for the final one seed, Kentucky has more quadrant one wins with a much better strength of schedule. Both teams won on March 5.
You will see Tennessee as we drop down to our list of two seeds, joined by North Carolina, Michigan State, and LSU. You might question LSU up there but they deserve it, frankly. They beat both Kentucky AND Tennessee and ended up with nine quadrant 1 wins on a high strength of schedule. With a NET of 13 you might put them closer to the 3 or 4 line but this is one of the most impressive teams in college basketball right now, not to mention six of those quadrant 1 wins were true road games. They deserve strong consideration for top eight on the S-curve.
Down to the three line, it’s Michigan, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Houston. The Cougars, of course, lost to UCF but we still have them clinging to that three line for now, based in large part off of a very high NET ranking. Purdue also lost yesterday, but that’s happened to a few teams up there.
Finally, on the four line, we have Kansas, Wisconsin, Marquette, and Florida State. Marquette lost a game to Creighton but we’ve opted to keep them up here. FSU is brand new to the top sixteen, as they were a five before but they beat Virginia Tech on March 5, the team they knocked off of this line. Kansas got rolled by Oklahoma yesterday but it’s hard to see them below a four seed.
Now a look at the regions and our groupings. Virginia is the one in the East going to Columbus. LSU is at the bottom of their region in the Jacksonville pod. Purdue at three and Marquette at four are both going to Hartford.
In the South, Duke is the anchor team heading to Columbia, South Carolina. Tennessee at two is also going to South Carolina. Texas Tech is the three seed, on their way up to Tulsa. Finally, Wisconsin is the four and they’ve got a long trip out to San Jose, but someone has to play out there. I guess they expected to have more Pac-12 teams to stuff into these pods.
The Midwest region has Kentucky as the top team in Columbus. North Carolina is the two, and this would potentially lead to a regular-season rematch, but the committee says to avoid them in the First Four and first round only. Michigan is the three seed going to Des Moines, and Kansas is the four, and because better teams already snatched up the Tulsa pods, they are going to Salt Lake City.
Finally, in the west, no surprise that Gonzaga anchors it, and that they are also going to Salt Lake City. Michigan State is the two and they go to Des Moines like the Wolverines. Houston is your three playing in Tulsa, and finally, Florida State out of the ACC is the four going to San Jose.
This is subject to frequent change between now and March 17, and if you don’t like this bracket, remember that it’s only important for us to get the last one right. There are no wrong answers here, except having Harvard as a one seed — that’s a wrong answer.