NCAA Bracket 2013: Projecting Top Seeds in This Year's Tournament

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 16:  (L-R) Russ Smith #2 and Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrate after they won 78-61 against the Syracuse Orange during the final of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 16, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

There may be plenty of bubble teams still sweating the final games remaining in a few conference tournaments, but at this point the top seeds seem pretty much set.

Well, at least I think they should be. What the selection committee thinks is a different matter entirely. 

I do think it is safe to say that at least two teams have earned a No. 1 seed. Gonzaga didn't lose a game in the West Coast Conference this season, and for good measure won the conference tournament. With a 31-2 record, the Zags have done more than enough to earn a No. 1 seed.

And Louisville's victory in the Big East tournament championship should be enough to earn the Cardinals a No. 1 seed as well. The Cardinals came into the Big East tournament as a likely No. 1 seed, and all they did was add wins over Villanova, Notre Dame and Syracuse to that resume.

Rick Pitino's bunch is one of the four best teams in the country and very well could end up being the top overall seed.

But after that it gets tricky. Indiana has the resume—a 27-6 record and Big Ten regular-season championship, an impressive feat considering many believe the Big Ten to be the toughest conference in college basketball—but lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

Meanwhile, Duke lost to Maryland in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, the second time the Blue Devils lost to the Terps this season. It's hard to imagine the Dukies now earning a top seed, especially when several other contenders handled their business in the conference tournaments. 

Kansas made its case for one of the four top seeds, beating Kansas State for the third time this season in the Big 12 tournament championship. The regular-season co-champions boast an impressive resume, with a 17-4 record against conference foes and nonconference wins over Ohio State and Temple.

And then there is Miami. The Hurricanes could end up being the ACC regular-season and conference-tournament champions with a win over North Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Would the selection committee really give Miami less than a No. 1 seed if they pulled off that feat?

Yes, and I think that's exactly what will happen. When you look at the resumes of the four schools that I believe will end up being considered for the final two No. 1 seeds (assuming Miami wins), I think the ACC will end up getting snubbed:

Team Record RPI SOS Vs. RPI Top 50 Key Wins
Indiana 27-6 8 10 9-6 Georgetown, North Carolina, Michigan State (2), Michigan (2), Ohio State
Kansas 29-5 5 30 13-3 Saint Louis, Temple, Belmont, Kansas State (3), Iowa State (3), Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Miami 26-6 4 7 7-2 Michigan State, North Carolina (2), Duke, NC State (2)
Duke 27-5 1 1 9-2 VCU, Louisville, Ohio State, Temple, Miami, North Carolina (2), NC State


Indiana will get credit for winning the Big Ten regular-season title and having the most impressive slate of big wins. Plus, the Hoosiers simply look like one of the four best teams in the country.

It's hard to look past Kansas' 13-3 record against the RPI top 50. If the Jayhawks don't lose by three points to Michigan State in November, we probably aren't debating whether Kansas deserves a top seed.

That leaves Miami and Duke as the odd teams out.

Sorry, Hurricanes fans. The fact that you have such a strong RPI and strength of schedule—and likely will win your regular-season and tournament championships—works in your favor, but only one impressive nonconference win and the least amount of wins against the RPI top 50 hurts.

And while Duke certainly has the most impressive resume on paper, it's hard to reward them for losing in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, especially when all three teams they're being compared to advanced further (and Kansas won it all).

This selection committee could go in a different direction, but for now I'll project Louisville, Gonzaga, Indiana and Kansas as the four No. 1 seeds in this year's tournament.

Remember, be sure to download a printable NCAA bracket and watch Selection Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.


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