Alabama got the better of Houston in a non-conference matchup. This allowed the Crimson Tide to maintain an early lead over the Cougars even for the #1 seed. 1 overall in the NCAA Tournament.
The committee that will select the field of 68 revealed its preliminary list of top teams on Saturday, with the Crimson Tide taking first place over the Cougars due to a head-to-head road win in December – which committee chairman Chris Reynolds said “put it over the top”.
Otherwise, there isn’t much difference when it comes to team resumes. They are 1-2 in some order in the AP Top 25, NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) and KenPom rankings. Alabama entered the weekend with seven wins in Quadrant 1 to Houston’s four, while both teams were undefeated against Quadrant 2 opponents.
If the order holds, it would mark the first regional No. 1 seed. 1 for Nate Oats’ Crimson Tide in the history of the program. Alabama moved up to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll earlier this week for the first time since 2003, though the Tide lost to Tennessee on Wednesday in its first game with that ranking.
Houston hasn’t held a No. 1 seed since 1983, during the “Phi Slama Jama” era of the early 1980s.
Purdue and defending national champion Kansas were the other No. 1 seeds, with the Boilermakers spending a national best seven weeks at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 this season. The Jayhawks are looking to become the first repeat champion since Florida in 2006-07 and entered the weekend with a national-best 12 in Quadrant 1, while no other team had reached 10.
The nationally televised reveal of the top 16 seeds offers a snapshot of how things stand with just over three weeks remaining before the field is ready.
Since the first disclosure in 2017, the NCAA said 65 of 80 teams remained in the top 16, while three of the four regional No. 1 each year have remained there.
Texas, Arizona, Baylor and UCLA were the No. 1 seeds. 2 preliminaries, followed by Tennessee, Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas State as the 3 seeds. Indiana, Marquette, Gonzaga and Xavier rounded out the list as the No. 1 seeds.
Reynolds said Creighton, Miami, Saint Mary’s and Connecticut were the best teams to miss the cut.
The selection committee also sorted the top 16 seeds into four regional groupings, starting with Alabama at the top and going south through Louisville, Kentucky. Baylor, Virginia and Indiana joined the tide in the south.
Houston passed the Midwest belt crossing Kansas City, Missouri, followed by Texas, Tennessee and Xavier.
Purdue was the No. 1 seed in the east bracket that spanned New York, along with UCLA, Iowa State, and Marquette.
Kansas was the top seed in the western bracket that ran through Las Vegas, followed by Arizona, Kansas State, and Gonzaga.
The Big 12 finished with the top five national teams in the top 16. The Southeastern, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big East conferences each had two as the only other leagues with multiple teams.
Draft Sunday is March 12, with the first four games starting two days later. The Final Four will be held in Houston, with the semifinals set for April 1 and the championship game two days later.
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AP college basketball: ee