Reseeding the Sweet 16

Below we have my current seedings for the NCAA Tournament if we were to reseed the teams 1-16 before the second weekend. You can also see where the committee had them in the original S-Curve.

Here is where the committee ranked these 16 teams in their original seed list.

1 – Villanova (#2)
2 – Kansas (#3)
3 – Duke (#6)
4 – Purdue (#7)
5 – Michigan (#11)
6 – Texas Tech (#12)
7 – Gonzaga (#15)
8 – Kentucky (#17)
9 – West Virginia (#18)
10 – Clemson (#19)
11 – Texas A&M (#25)
12 – Nevada (#27)
13 – Kansas State (#34)
14 – Florida State (#38)
15 – Syracuse (#44)
16 – Loyola Chicago (#46)

1 Seed, #1 Overall – Villanova (Previously a 1 Seed, #2 Overall)

Villanova moves up to the #1 overall seed after Virginia’s loss in the opening round of the tournament. Jay Wright’s team faced Radford and Alabama during the first weekend of the big dance, and neither game was particularly close, I see no reason that any other team still in the tournament has done enough to surpass the Wildcats for the top spot.

1 Seed, #2 Overall – Duke (Previously a 2 Seed, #6 Overall)

Duke struggled down the stretch in the regular season, losing two of their final four games. Despite that, the Blue Devils went into the tournament as the only team with a top ten ranking in both offensive and defensive efficiency via KenPom.com, and they still hold that honor after beating Iona and Rhode Island by a combined 47 points in their first two games of the tournament.

1 Seed, #3 Overall – Kansas (Previously a 1 Seed, #3 Overall)

Kansas is the only team to hold steady after the opening weekend, as Duke took Virginia’s spot as the second team ahead of the Jayhawks. KU got past a sneaky-good Penn team that was the highest-rated 16 seed of all time in round one, but almost fell to the senior-led Seton Hall Pirates on day two, and if you are asking me which team I trust more right now between Duke and Kansas, I’m picking the Dukies over a Kansas team that barely cracks the top-50 in defensive efficiency.

1 Seed, #4 Overall – Kentucky (Previously a 5 Seed, #17 Overall)

Of the 16 teams to make it into the sweet 16, the Wildcats ranked 8th in the committee’s original standings, but UK is on too much of a roll not to give John Calipari’s team a one seed in this reseeding. The ‘Cats have won nine of their last ten, including the SEC Championship and opening weekend victories over Davidson and Buffalo.

2 Seed, #5 Overall – Purdue (Previously a 2 Seed, #7 Overall)

Purdue is denied a one seed due to the red-hot Kentucky Wildcats, but Matt Painter and company are still in good shape heading into the regional semifinals. The Boilermakers have won seven of their last eight, including a win over a Butler team in the round of 32 that was the toughest team that any one or two seed had to encounter in the second round.

2 Seed, #6 Overall – West Virginia (Previously a 5 Seed, #18 Overall)

To be fair, this West Virginia team should have been a three seed to begin with, and in my award-winning Bracketology, one of my four biggest misses were these West Virginia Mountaineers, who I had seven spots higher than the committee. In the first two rounds, Bob Huggins proved me right, dominating two tough mid-major foes by a combined 40 points.

2 Seed, #7 Overall – Gonzaga (Previously a 4 Seed, #15 Overall)

Gonzaga is always underseeded by the committee, so I correctly had these guys pegged as a four seed in my bracketology, but if I were in charge, the Bulldogs would have been on the two line from the start. Mark Few has led the Zags to 16 straight wins and recently, the #7 overall ranking in KenPom after beating Ohio State in the round of 32. I picked Michigan to make the final four from the West in my original bracket, but I am starting to doubt myself.

2 Seed, #8 Overall – Michigan (Previously a 3 Seed, #11 Overall)

It feels like my darkhorse final four pick is playing on shaky ground after their first two games. The Wolverines have won 11 in a row, but needed a desperation heave at the buzzer to beat Houston and even make it to the sweet 16. I think they will get by Texas A&M on Thursday, but Gonzaga might present a much tougher challenge in the regional finals.

3 Seed, #9 Overall – Texas Tech (Previously a 3 Seed, #12 Overall)

I doubted the Red Raiders and picked them to go down against Florida in the round of 32, but Chris Beard just keeps proving me wrong. TTU won both their first two games by ten points or fewer and will go into the matchup with Purdue as an underdog, with a potential matchup against #1 Villanova or conference for West Virginia waiting for them in the elite eight.

3 Seed, #10 Overall – Texas A&M (Previously a 7 Seed, #25 Overall)

A&M is a team that I thought should be on upset alert in round one after suffering a heartbreaking defeat in the opening round of the SEC Tournament, but the Aggies not only made it through that game against Providence, but also dismantled North Carolina in their second game, catapulting them up my rankings past Clemson.

3 Seed, #11 Overall – Clemson (Previously a 5 Seed, #19 Overall)

I picked Clemson to lose in the opening round against New Mexico State, but not only did the Tigers avoid that upset, winning by 11, they went on to kill an injury-ridden Auburn team 84-53 in the round of 32. The Tigers had a decently easy path to the sweet 16, but now rubber will meet the road as they face Kansas on Friday.

3 Seed, #12 Overall – Kansas State (Previously a 9 Seed, #34 Overall)

I had the Wildcats upsetting Creighton in the round of 64, but no one could have predicted who they would face in the second round. The games against Creighton and UMBC were decided by 10 and 7 points respectively, both of which were the types of games where they were in control for the entire second half, but could never quite put their opponent away.

4 Seed, #13 Overall – Florida State (Previously a 9 Seed, #38 Overall)

Florida State may seem underrated as a four seed after beating Xavier in the round of 32, but before the NCAA Tournament, the ‘Noles hadn’t beaten a team away from Tallahassee in a month and a half. The Xavier win was a huge one for the FSU program, but Xavier was the lowest rated 1-seed in the history of KenPom, and Missouri ended the year losing five of their final seven, make sure youu don’t overreact to two games.

4 Seed, #14 Overall – Nevada (Previously a 7 Seed, #27 Overall)

I can’t quite figure out the Wolfpack. Nevada needed overtime to beat Texas in round one, and then had to complete the biggest comeback in the tournament (their win probability got down to 0.4% at one point) to shock 2nd seeded Cincinnati in the round of 32. A win is a win for Caleb Martin and company, but they will face a Loyola-Chicago team that also won both of its games at last second.

4 Seed, #15 Overall – Syracuse (Previously an 11 Seed, #44 Overall)

The only team in the Big Ten that plays a zone consistently is Northwestern, a team that Michigan State really struggled with during the regular season, needing to come back from down 27 to win, so maybe we should have seen the result in the round of 32 coming, but now ‘Cuse runs into the sawblade that is Duke, a team that plays a zone themselves, and beat Cuse by 16 in their lone meeting.

4 Seed, #16 Overall – Loyola Chicago (Previously an 11 Seed, #46 Overall)

Like many others, I had Loyola Chicago picked to upset Miami in the opening round, but what I did not expect was a win over Tennessee in round two. The Ramblers have won an incredible 19 of their last 20, but both of their wins in the NCAA Tournament came by way of last second shots, and I don’t see lightning striking a third time for LC.

Why Reseed?

If you look at the matchups for the sweet 16 with my rankings, it looks like this

#4 Kentucky vs #12 Kansas State
#14 Nevada vs #16 Loyola Chicago

#7 Gonzaga vs #13 Florida State
#8 Michigan vs #10 Texas A&M

#1 Villanova vs #6 West Virginia
#5 Purdue vs #9 Texas Tech

#3 Kansas vs #11 Clemson
#2 Duke vs #15 Syracuse

Five of the top six teams are on the right half of the bracket, and the #1 overall seed has to face the #6 overall seed… what sense does that make? With reseeding, it would look like this

#1 Villanova vs #16 Loyola Chicago
#8 Michigan vs #9 Texas Tech

#4 Kentucky vs #13 Florida State
#5 Purdue vs #12 Kansas State

#2 Duke vs #15 Syracuse
#7 Gonzaga vs #10 Texas A&M

#3 Kansas vs #14 Nevada
#6 Purdue vs #11 Clemson

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