The NCAA Tournament Top 16 Seed Reveal is here and it shared a lot of key insights into how the bracket could look a few weeks from now.
One of the key milestones of the college basketball season has arrived in the form of the NCAA Tournament’s Top 16 seed reveal. A valuable annual exercise, the seed reveal gives us insights into what the selection committee values in a team’s resume, which helps inform bracketology reports as we close in on Selection Sunday.
This year’s Top 16 seed reveal is listed below.
There is a lot to take away from this reveal, so let’s break down five key facts that we learned about the 2022 NCAA Tournament bracket today.
NCAA Tournament: Key takeaways from the Top 16 Seed Reveal
The race for the top overall seed is tight
Gonzaga received the top overall seed in the Top 16 seed reveal while Auburn, Arizona and Kansas rounded out the top line. Selection committee chair Tom Burnett indicated that the separator between the first three teams was razor-thin, with Gonzaga’s top-line wins and overall record being a separator at the moment. These three teams figure to be jockeying for the top overall seed down the stretch of the season and a key loss could make all the difference.
The Big 12 is receiving a ton of love
Besides Kansas landing the final No. 1 seed ahead of Kentucky, Baylor also placed ahead of the Wildcats as Burnett noted that the pair of Big 12 powers each had nine wins against Quadrant 1 foes. Texas Tech landed on the three-line while Texas was a surprise as the last No. 4 seed ahead of Houston, Alabama and Ohio State.
The rugged nature of the Big 12 is being weighed heavily in favor of its teams since they will get plenty of opportunities to pick up quality wins. This is good news for the league’s bubble teams like Iowa State, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
Duke’s résumé isn’t as strong as we thought
The Top 16 seed reveal also reveals the committee’s overall ranking of the teams involved and Duke checked in at No. 8 as the final No. 2 seed. Burnett indicated that Duke’s wins over Gonzaga and Kentucky kept the Blue Devils just ahead of Villanova, which finished as the Top No. 3 seed in the projected field.
The mediocre ACC could hurt Duke’s chances to stay on the top two lines, especially if it suffers another loss or two before Selection Sunday. Don’t be shocked if the Blue Devils wind up on the three-line on March 13.
Villanova could have a favorable path to the Final Four
The Wildcats landed in the East region with Kansas and Kentucky, which is noteworthy since that portion of the bracket will be played in Philadelphia. Normally teams don’t get the benefit of that kind of homecourt advantage but Burnett pointed out that since Villanova only played three games at the Wells Fargo Center they are eligible to play there.
If this seeding holds on Selection Sunday it would be a tremendous disadvantage to the region’s top seeds since Villanova wouldn’t have to travel and have excellent fan support. That can make a big difference, as was the case in 2014 when a No. 7 seeded UConn had a de facto home-court advantage at Madison Square Garden and rode the momentum of their regional win all the way to a national championship.
Quadrant 1 wins will matter . . . a lot
The most frequent criteria that Burnett cited as a separator between teams in the Top 16 seed reveal was Quad 1 wins. Kansas and Baylor both received higher seeds due to their nine Quad 1 wins while Houston, which entered the day ranked No. 4 in the NET, fell outside of the Top 16 seeds due in part to an 0-3 record in Quad 1 games.
The emphasis on Quad 1 wins is highly informative for teams on the bubble, providing excellent news for the chances of a team like Rutgers which has some bad losses but has stacked a nice pile of Quad 1 wins together. It also serves as a shot across the bow at Iowa and North Carolina, two bubble teams that have good NET rankings but are a combined 0-14 against Quad 1 opponents entering the weekend.
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