Last year the NCAA began a tradition of revealing what the committee would have as the top-16 seeds if Selection Sunday were to come early.
The first revealing for the 2018-2019 season comes this Saturday; but first, here’s were my rankings stand heading into the final month of the regular season.
*These rankings take into account all scores and game results as of 2/8/2019*
EAST REGION (Washington D.C)
The best thing about the East and South regions is that they should play themselves out during the ACC regular season, perhaps being resolved as soon as this Saturday in the Duke/Virginia matchup. A Duke win will give the Blue Devils a regular season sweep over the Hoos and that should be enough to keep Duke as the higher one seed entering March Madness no matter what happens in the ACC Tournament.
If Virginia pulls of the upset Saturday evening, they should jump Duke and end up in the East Regional. From that point the results of the ACC Tournament become extremely important.
South Region (Louisville, Kentucky)
- Michigan State
Besides the aforementioned importance of what Virginia does at home this home this Saturday against Duke; the big thing that sticks out in this region is Michigan State on the three-line.
Losing Joshua Langford for the season is just as brutal, if not more, for the Spartans as Kansas losing Azibuke and de Sousa. In both situations, a team with final four potential falls to a team with an extreme potential to be a first weekend exit. Michigan State has dropped three consecutive games to unranked squads in the absence of Langford and the struggles don’t seem to be ending anytime soon.
Seeing both Michigan State and Kansas both drop out of the top-16 before March is not out of the realm of possibility.
Midwest Region (Kansas City, Missouri)
- Tennessee (Overall #1 Seed)
- North Carolina
On an 18-game winning streak, the Tennessee Volunteers are the nation’s number one seed and rightfully so. The only flaw this season came to a fully healthy Kansas Jayhawks squad back in November.
North Carolina still has two matchups against Duke and one against Virginia….and that’s before the ACC Tournament; so it’s fair to argue that they control their own destiny at this point in the season.
West Region (Anaheim, California)
- Virginia Tech
Per usual, Gonzaga’s strong roster combined with weak conference play will result and the Bulldogs earning a one seed in the West Regional. Unlike normal years, the Zags have a win over then number one and undefeated Duke to add to their resume.
The rise of Kentucky after a very subpar start to the season is one to watch. If they are able to sweep Tennessee in the regular season and win the SEC Tournament, they could very well find themselves on the one line come Selection Sunday.