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Parenthesis: Alabama is the top seed on the NCAA selection committee with Houston, Purdue, and Kansas also in first place

The NCAA Tournament Select Committee has revealed its top 16 teams as of this morning with Alabama as the #1 seed. If the Crimson Tide can stay atop Selection Sunday, it would be their first time as the top seed.

When committee chair Chris Reynolds was asked what was different this season compared to some in the recent past, he noted that there is very little separation between the top teams compared to other seasons.

As the committee goes through the group and compares the teams, sometimes what stands out in a comparison, good or bad, can be decisive. For Alabama, that was the win at #2 overall Houston. The Cougars have been cited for being undefeated on the road, while Purdue has lost only to Quad 1 teams. This is also true for Kansas, which has by far the best schedule this season, but five losses.

Only one of these leaks is questionable. That loss to TCU is only questionable because of the scoring margin, and the committee doesn’t care too much about it. That should go without saying since Oklahoma’s drubbing of Alabama didn’t do enough to keep the Crimson Tide from being No. 1 overall.

If there’s a message to all of this, it seems that the quality of a team’s losses isn’t as important as other factors. They’re certainly nothing, but quality wins seem to matter the most.

Early NCAA Tournament seed

NCAA top 16 seeds for NCAA Tournament as revealed on CBS with overall seed in parentheses.

Check out Palm’s latest bracket, the entire 68 field and all the bubble teams on the Bracketology hub.

The two worst defeats in the first row of the group belong to the top two teams. The second row shows Arizona in front of UCLA. The Bruins lack quality wins, which Arizona has in abundance. All four of Arizona’s losses are by teams most likely to miss the tournament, while the opposite is true for UCLA.

The strength of the schedule also still matters, as evidenced by five Big 12 teams appearing on the committee roster. Each of these teams has more losses than any other team in its starting lineup.

On the seed line no. 4, Marquette and Xavier were swapped from their original regionals to better balance out the bracket. That sets up a potential regular season rematch in the sweet 16 between the Golden Eagles and Purdue.

In my committee bracket extension, third overall seed Purdue was matched up with a first-round winner of the First Four instead of the No. 1 seed. 2 Houston because the Boilermakers are in the only Friday-Sunday sub-region between the No. 2 seeds. The top four winners in each seeded line must have one winner advance to play on Thursday and the other on Friday.

The teams that have been mooted, but missed the cut for the top 16 are (in alphabetical order) UConn, Creighton, Miami and Saint Mary’s. I entered those teams as the No. 1 seeds. 5 in the latest group update.

Of course, by the time you read this, that parenthesis would be obsolete. This is the nature of seasonal bracketing. More games continue to be added to the mix.

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