2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket: Latest Projection of the Field of 68

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystFebruary 10, 2015

2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket: Latest Projection of the Field of 68

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    Kentucky survived another two hurdles this week to remain undefeated and the No. 1 overall seed in our latest projection of the NCAA tournament field.

    Of course, that's nothing new. The Wildcats have been our No. 1 overall seed since the first preseason bracket was put together in July. Rather, the news is that Duke joins Kentucky, Virginia and Wisconsin on the top line after its 30-point win over Notre Dame this weekend. And don't worry, we'll briefly explain why Gonzaga is no longer considered a No. 1 seed.

    At the other end of the at-large field, Temple, Illinois, Rhode Island and Purdue are new additions to the projected bracket, replacing Davidson, Seton Hall, Tennessee and Tulsa.

    The two primary computer metrics considered in this projection are RPI and KenPom.com (KP), though Sagarin and BPI ratings are also taken into consideration for a more holistic view of each team's resume. And, of course, the oft-mentioned, never-quantifiable eye test was part of the seeding process.

    As always, we'll take a look at the last five teams to make the field, the first five out and a few on the horizon.

    After that, we'll present each seeded region, including the subregional locations in which each pod would be played, and some commentary on each region. Then we'll defend the rankings of the No. 1 seeds, followed by a summary of the entire field broken up by conference.

    Statistics on the following slides courtesy of ESPN.com and KenPom.com. RPI and KP numbers current through the start of play on Monday, Feb. 9. Win-loss records include only games against D-I opponents and are current through the start of play on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Last 5 In

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    Last Team In: Purdue Boilermakers (15-9, RPI: 72, KP: 54)

    The Boilermakers recently picked up a trio of great wins over Iowa, Indiana and Ohio State (all at home), but the subsequent loss to Minnesota was a sobering reminder that this team doesn't exactly have any wiggle room if it wants to make the tournament.

    Home losses to North Florida and Gardner-Webb tend to have that effect.

    They're currently 7-4 in Big Ten play, but there's no chance of a .500 conference record cutting it for a team that went 8-5 against the 224th-rated nonconference strength of schedule.

    They absolutely must win both remaining games against Rutgers and the home game against Nebraska. That much is non-negotiable. Beyond that, they probably need to win the home game against Illinois and one of the three road games against Indiana, Ohio State or Michigan State to have a legitimate argument for a bid. Even that would potentially hinge on how well they perform in the Big Ten tournament.

    Purdue dug itself a huge hole in the first six weeks of the season but has done a lot to get out of it. The journey to redemption isn't nearly complete, though.

    Second-to-Last: Miami Hurricanes (15-8, RPI: 54, KP: 62)

    After a home loss to Louisville and a home win over Clemson, Miami is in much the same position that it was a week ago. This is still a team with only one good win (90-74 at Duke) and more than enough losses to teams outside the RPI top 50 to essentially nullify that victory.

    Based on their remaining schedule (vs. North Carolina, at Louisville, at Pittsburgh and five games against teams outside the RPI top 100), the Hurricanes will likely need to go at least 6-2 down the stretch to get in, but 7-1 would be highly recommended.

    The important part, though, is that they remain the sixth-best team in the ACC. The top five teams in this conference are stone-cold locks, and it's a safe bet that the selection committee will use any excuse it can to include a sixth team from arguably the second-best conference in the country.

    Third-to-Last: Rhode Island Rams (15-5, RPI: 57, KP: 58)

    Rhode Island is bucking the national trend by looking like a bubble team that actually wants to get into the tournament. How novel!

    The Rams have won five straight, which includes four of their best RPI wins of the season.

    They blew their chance at a real RPI booster last month, letting a late lead slip away against VCU, but this is still a team with only five losses and none of them to schools outside the RPI top 100. Considering the bubble is loaded with eight- and nine-loss teams with multiple bad defeats, Rhode Island's ability to narrowly avoid disaster just might be enough for a bid in the end.

    Fourth-to-Last: Illinois Fighting Illini (16-8, RPI: 47, KP: 56)

    Between the road win against Michigan State over the weekend and their neutral-court win against Baylor looking prettier by the day, the Illini sneak back into this week's projected field.

    They have a huge chance at Wisconsin this weekend, but even assuming they don't shock the Badgers, they should be able to dance if they're able to win three out of these four: vs. Michigan, vs. Michigan State, at Iowa, at Purdue.

    Fifth-to-Last: Old Dominion Monarchs (18-4, RPI: 42, KP: 72)

    Old Dominion does have five RPI top 100 wins, but its RPI and SOS are getting gradually less attractive. By the time the Monarchs play UTEP on Saturday, it will have been a full month since they played a team currently in the RPI top 145and they suffered two losses during that stretch.

    Ideally for those on the bubble, Old Dominion will simply win the Conference USA tournament and eliminate the possible dilemma of whether there's enough room in the field for two teams from this conference. There's also the possibility they'll suffer at least one more bad loss to eliminate the dilemma that way.

    But if they win the rest of their regular-season games before getting knocked out of the conference tournament, it would likely reduce the at-large pool by one.

First 5 Out

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    First Team Out: Boise State Broncos (15-6, RPI: 40, KP: 50)

    Joining Rhode Island on the short list of teams that appear to actually want to play in the NCAA tournament, Boise State has won seven in a row, including a road win over New Mexico and home wins over Colorado State and San Diego State.

    The problem, though, is that the Broncos endured a four-game losing skid right before this winning streak. But let's put an asterisk on those losses. They lost Anthony Drmic for the year right before the start of that losing streak, and they didn't have Derrick Marks in the loss to Loyola (IL).

    Under the theory that the selection committee takes extenuating circumstances into consideration, those injuries are significant. Drmic was averaging 15.0 points per game before his season-ending injury, and Marks has averaged 25.1 points per game during their current winning stretch.

    If they can stay hot and win seven of their last eight gameswith the loss coming either at UNLV or at San Diego Statethis very well might be a tournament team.

    Second Team Out: Seton Hall Pirates (15-8, RPI: 53, KP: 53)

    In their last seven games, the Pirates have been swept by Butler, swept by DePaul and beaten at home by Marquette. The Butler losses are understandable, but they picked a bad time to suffer their three worst defeats of the season.

    You decide whether you want to view this information optimistically or pessimistically, but Seton Hall still has two games left against Georgetown, two against Providence and road games against St. John's and Villanova. The Pirates will probably need to win at least three of those six games—and win the home game against Creighton—if they want to be in good shape heading into the Big East tournament.

    Third Team Out: George Washington Colonials (17-6, RPI: 49, KP: 71)

    The Colonials eked out a home win over Dayton in overtime Friday, but it wasn't enough to push them onto the right side of the bubble.

    No need to fear, though. They still have home games remaining against VCU, Massachusetts and Davidson and road contests against Davidson and Richmond. Three out of fiveplus wins over Duquesne, George Mason and St. Bonaventureshould do the trick.

    Fourth Team Out: Tulsa Golden Hurricane (17-5, RPI: 48, KP: 65)

    Time for your weekly reminder that Tulsa lost a regular-season home game to a D-II team that doesn't count against its record or RPI. Coupling that loss with the season-opening defeat at Oral Roberts, the Golden Hurricane have two terrible losses and only one RPI top 85 win (at Temple).

    The good news for Frank Haith's squad is that it will have plenty of chances down the stretch to pick up more noteworthy wins. It still has one game remaining against each of Cincinnati, Connecticut, Memphis, SMU and Temple.

    Fifth Team Out: Oregon Ducks (16-7, RPI: 59, KP: 75)

    Why not, right?

    Oregon has won five of its last six and still has a home game against Utah and road tilts versus UCLA and Stanford coming up. The Ducks only have one bad lossat Washington Stateand they have seven RPI top 100 wins.

    It's not a great resume, but it stinks less than a lot of the others.

Next 5 Out

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    We typically have up to 10 teams on this slide, but it was hard enough to come up with the first five out, let alone another 10 teams that deserve to be considered. If you think there's another team that actually belongs in the discussion right now, leave a comment.

    In no particular order, here are five other teams on our radar:

    Davidson Wildcats (14-6, RPI: 67, KP: 42)

    When you only have three RPI top 150 wins, losing back-to-back games to Saint Joseph's and St. Bonaventure isn't exactly a brilliant strategy. The Wildcats still get five more chances at RPI top 100 victories, but they need to win more of them now than they did two weeks ago.

    UCLA Bruins (14-10, RPI: 50, KP: 49)

    The Bruins swept Stanford and have a home win over Utah, but they have too many losses and not nearly enough noteworthy nonconference wins (1-5 versus RPI top 145). They'll almost certainly need to win the road game against Arizona on Feb. 21 to really get back into the at-large discussion.

    Oregon State Beavers (15-7, RP: 71, KP: 70)

    Like UCLA, Oregon State's nonconference schedule is devoid of anything good, but UCLA at least played quality teams and lost. Oregon State only played one nonconference RPI top 100 game and fell by double digits to Oklahoma State.

    Wins over Arizona and UCLA look nice as part of a 7-4 Pac-12 record, but the Beavers probably need to run that mark to 13-5 to have any real shot at a bid.

    Alabama Crimson Tide (13-9, RPI: 66, KP: 47)

    No great wins and no terrible losses keep the Crimson Tide out of the picture for now but in a position to make a run over the final four weeks of the season if they feel so inclined.

    Bowling Green Falcons (15-5, RPI: 61, KP: 74)

    The Falcons don't have a single RPI top 100 win and even lost a home game to a D-II school by double digits, but they're still ranked in the top 75 in both RPI and KP.

    We're not buying it, but if there's a "minor" conference that's going to send multiple teams to the tournament, the MAC might be the one.

East Region (Syracuse)

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    Charlotte, North Carolina

    No. 1 Virginia (21-1, RPI: 3, KP: 2)
    No. 16 High Point (Big South auto bid)

    No. 8 Texas (15-8, RPI: 31, KP: 22)
    No. 9 Georgia (15-7, RPI: 22, KP: 33)

    Seattle, Washington

    No. 4 Notre Dame (21-4, RPI: 26, KP: 17)
    No. 13 Green Bay (Horizon auto bid)

    No. 5 Butler (18-6, RPI: 17, KP: 18)
    No. 12 Miami/Purdue (Last Five In)

    Portland, Oregon

    No. 3 Oklahoma (17-7, RPI: 15, KP: 9)
    No. 14 Eastern Washington (Big Sky auto bid)

    No. 6 Providence (17-7, RPI: 20, KP: 45)
    No. 11 Michigan State (15-8, RPI: 52, KP: 28)

     

    Omaha, Nebraska

    No. 2 Kansas (19-4, RPI: 1, KP: 12)
    No. 15 UC Davis (Big West auto bid)

    No. 7 Cincinnati (17-6, RPI: 29, KP: 31)
    No. 10 Dayton (17-5, RPI: 37, KP: 37)

    Stock Up: Cincinnati Bearcats (Up Three Lines)

    Cincinnati's stock took a hit last week after the bad loss to East Carolina, but the Bearcats immediately made up for it with a road win over SMU this past Thursday, finishing off a season sweep of the Mustangs.

    "It was the Bearcat way tonight," Cincinnati associate head coach Larry Davis told Tom Groeschen of The Cincinnati Enquirer after the win over SMU. "We kept defending and rebounding when offense was horrible and obviously we were throwing it all over the gym, we were terrible. But they stuck to the mantra, which is defend and rebound no matter what happens."

    They now have four RPI top 40 wins against a total of six losses, only one of which was particularly unforgivable.

    They haven't quite locked up their bid just yet, but they've definitely earned some room to play with, jumping up to a No. 7 seed this week. If Cincinnati can win Tuesday night at Temple, it probably just needs to avoid disaster the rest of the way to make the tournament.

    Stock Down: Michigan State (Down Two Lines)

    Remember our concern from mid-December about the Big Ten being in some trouble for not winning many quality nonconference games?

    That's starting to rear its ugly head for Michigan State.

    The Spartans went 0-3 versus RPI top 100 teams over the first six weeks of the season and have now suffered conference losses to Nebraska and Illinois. Wins over Indiana and Iowa look nice, but this is a team with zero RPI top 30 wins and eight losses, one of which came at home to Texas Southern.

    The Spartans are still in the field for now, but directly compare their resume to that of Oregon or Boise State, and it's not hard to see how perilously close to the bubble they are. If they don't win the home game Saturday against Ohio State, get ready to see them start to plummet again in projected brackets across the nation.

    Holding Steady: Dayton Flyers (No Change)

    Dayton has lost three of its last five games, but they were not bad losses.

    Blown opportunities? Sure. But road losses to Davidson, Massachusetts and George Washington are hardly the end of the world, especially considering the Flyers had won eight in a row before that rough patch.

    They haven't slipped, but they've lost their cushion. Their next five games are against teams outside the RPI top 100, so anything short of a five-game winning streak would be ill-advised. Even after that, they'll need to win at least one or two of their final three games against VCU, Rhode Island and La Salle to really feel safe.

Midwest Region (Cleveland)

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    Louisville, Kentucky

    No. 1 Kentucky (23-0, RPI: 2, KP: 1)
    No. 16 Texas Southern/St. Francis (PA)

    No. 8 Iowa (15-8, RPI: 38, KP: 27)
    No. 9 Stanford (16-7, RPI: 45, KP: 32)

    Jacksonville, Florida

    No. 4 Iowa State (17-6, RPI: 14, KP: 19)
    No. 13 Iona (MAAC auto bid)

    No. 5 Ohio State (18-6, RPI: 33, KP: 14)
    No. 12 Harvard (Ivy auto bid)

    Columbus, Ohio

    No. 3 Louisville (19-4, RPI: 12, KP: 11)
    No. 14 Wofford (Southern auto bid)

    No. 6 Oklahoma State (16-7, RPI: 28, KP: 21)
    No. 11 Old Dominion (Last Five In)

     

    Portland, Oregon

    No. 2 Arizona (20-3, RPI: 7, KP: 3)
    No. 15 North Carolina Central (MEAC auto bid)

    No. 7 Arkansas (18-5, RPI: 24, KP: 30)
    No. 10 St. John's (14-8, RPI: 41, KP: 40)

    Stock Up: Oklahoma State Cowboys (Up Two Lines)

    After perhaps the most impressive three-game stretch in the country this season, Oklahoma State jumps 11 spots from the lowest No. 8 seed to the highest No. 6 seed, and it was certainly tempting to move them even higher.

    The Cowboys won at Texas and Baylor to complete season sweeps of those teams and also picked up a huge win over Kansas in between. Toss in the November win over Tulsa, and they have six RPI top 50 winsone of just 10 teams in the country that can make such a claim.

    The Cowboys are "only" 6-5 in RPI top 100 games, though, and they have a pair of losses to teams just barely outside the RPI top 100.

    Still, you have to respect what they've done in the past week. Oklahoma State could have easily lost all three of those contests to find itself on the wrong side of the bubble, so the fact that we're even debating the Cowboys as a possible No. 5 seed is remarkable.

    Stock Down: Stanford Cardinal (Down Two Lines)

    Thanks to a home loss to UCLA and a home win over USC that didn't do them any favors, the Cardinal's RPI rank has dropped from 31 to 45 in the past seven days.

    It doesn't help matters that the loss to DePaul is getting uglier now that the Blue Demons have lost six of their last nine games to drop below .500.

    Stanford still has road games remaining against Utah and Arizona, but let's go ahead and chalk those up as losses for the purpose of this discussion. That would put the Cardinal at 16-9 with an overtime win at Texas and a home win over Wofford serving as their best victories.

    If they win their other five games (at Colorado, at Arizona State, vs. California, vs. Oregon, vs. Oregon State), it would give them a 21-9 record with roughly a 10-7 record versus RPI top 100 teams. That's probably enough, but a 20-10, 9-8 record wouldn't look as good.

    Unless they plan on shocking one of the top two teams in the conference on the road, they'll need to make sure they don't lose any other games along the way.

    Holding Steady: Arizona Wildcats (No Change)

    Arizona didn't drop, but the Wildcats may have closed the door on a No. 1 seed and opened the door for a No. 3 seed with their third loss to a team unlikely to make the tournament.

    Considering Arizona State (RPI: 95) and UNLV (RPI: 99) are on the verge of turning two of those Arizona losses to defeats against teams outside the RPI top 100, Arizona's resume could be headed for some turbulence.

    If they don't lose again before the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats could probably still earn a No. 1 seed, as that would include home wins over UCLA and Stanford, a road win over Utah and whatever comes their way in the Pac-12 tournament. But do you really see this team winning 11 in a row given the three losses it has suffered in its last 11 games?

South Region (Houston)

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    Charlotte, North Carolina

    No. 1 Duke (21-3, RPI: 4, KP: 8)
    No. 16 Stony Brook/Lafayette

    No. 8 Indiana (17-7, RPI: 32, KP: 51)
    No. 9 Colorado State (19-4, RPI: 27, KP: 76)

    Seattle, Washington

    No. 4 Northern Iowa (22-2, RPI: 19, KP: 16)
    No. 13 Stephen F. Austin (Southland auto bid)

    No. 5 Maryland (19-5, RPI: 16, KP: 38)
    No. 12 Buffalo (MAC auto bid)

    Louisville, Kentucky

    No. 3 Baylor (17-6, RPI: 11, KP: 10)
    No. 14 Georgia State (Sun Belt auto bid)

    No. 6 VCU (18-5, RPI: 9, KP: 24)
    No. 11 Texas A&M (16-6, RPI: 35, KP: 39)

     

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    No. 2 Villanova (21-2, RPI: 5, KP: 7)
    No. 15 South Dakota State (Summit auto bid)

    No. 7 SMU (18-5, RPI: 22, KP: 23)
    No. 10 LSU (17-6, RPI: 51, KP: 43)

    Stock Up: Baylor Bears (Up Three Lines)

    Despite the loss Monday night to red-hot Oklahoma State, the Bears jumped up to claim the final No. 3 seed in this bracket because of last week's blowout wins over TCU and West Virginia.

    Even in the loss, Rico Gathers continued his reign as the most dominant big man in the country. He has recorded at least 15 rebounds in four consecutive games, averaging 13.8 points and 16.0 rebounds per game since Jan. 31.

    The problem Monday was that he and Taurean Prince were the only guys who bothered to show up, but that was definitely the exception to the rule, as five Bears scored in double figures in each win over TCU and West Virginia.

    They have a huge game coming up Saturday at Kansas. They could continue climbing toward a No. 2 seed with a win in Lawrence.

    Stock Down: Texas A&M Aggies (Down Three Lines)

    It would appear we were a bit overzealous in vaulting Texas A&M to a No. 8 seed last week as a result of a six-game winning streak.

    Now that LSU has slipped out of the RPI top 50, the Aggies currently boast an 0-4 record against that collection of teams. They don't have any terrible lossesunless you count a neutral-court setback to Kansas State as terriblebut they're on the bubble until they pick up a quality win.

    That makes Wednesday night's home game against Georgia massive, as Texas A&M's only other regular-season shot at a marquee win would be on the road against Arkansas (where the Razorbacks are 15-1 this season).

    Holding Steady: Northern Iowa Panthers (No Change)

    Another week, another pair of wins for Northern Iowa.

    Ho-hum.

    The big question on our minds is how high could the Panthers climb? They're already in the top 20 in both RPI and KP, but what if they don't lose another game (which would include a road win over Wichita State and presumably a neutral-court victory over the Shockers in the Missouri Valley championship)?

    It's extremely difficult to see Northern Iowa earning a No. 1 seed, but a low No. 2 seed might be in play.

    The Panthers remain a No. 4 for now, but they haven't bumped their heads against the ceiling just yet.

West Region (Los Angeles)

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    Omaha, Nebraska

    No. 1 Wisconsin (21-2, RPI: 6, KP: 6)
    No. 16 New Mexico State (WAC auto bid)

    No. 8 San Diego State (17-6, RPI: 30, KP: 34)
    No. 9 Xavier (15-9, RPI: 34, KP: 26)

    Jacksonville, Florida

    No. 4 North Carolina (18-6, RPI: 10, KP: 13)
    No. 13 Murray State (OVC auto bid)

    No. 5 Wichita State (20-3, RPI: 18, KP: 15)
    No. 12 Illinois/Rhode Island (Last Five In)

    Portland, Oregon

    No. 3 Utah (17-4, RPI: 13, KP: 5)
    No. 14 William & Mary (Colonial auto bid)

    No. 6 West Virginia (18-5, RPI: 25, KP: 20)
    No. 11 Temple (17-7, RPI: 39, KP: 61)

     

    Seattle, Washington

    No. 2 Gonzaga (23-1, RPI: 8, KP: 4)
    No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun auto bid)

    No. 7 Georgetown (15-8, RPI: 21, KP: 25)
    No. 10 Ole Miss (16-7, RPI: 36, KP: 29)

    Stock Up: Temple Owls (New to the Field)

    The Owls were our third team out last week, but they jump back into the projected field as a No. 11 seed after road wins over South Florida and Memphis this past week.

    They only have one RPI top 75 win, but you couldn't ask for a better one, as their 25-point triumph over Kansas continues to make less and less sense the further we get from it.

    Temple had a three-game losing streak last month against Cincinnati, SMU and Tulsa and will get rematches against each of those teams within the next two weeks. If the Owls win two out of three—and take care of business in remaining games against East Carolina and Tulane—they should be in position to reach the tournament just one year removed from going 9-22.

    Stock Down: San Diego State Aztecs (Down One Line)

    In their last six games, the Aztecs have two road losses to quality teams and four wins against schools outside the RPI top 145. That's nothing awful, but it's definitely nothing great either, making it enough for them to slip seven overall spots from the top No. 7 seed to the bottom No. 8 seed.

    They have just one RPI top 50 win this season, and it came in an ugly game against Utah nearly three months ago. However, they'll get quite a few more chances to elevate their stock. They host both Wyoming and Colorado State this week and have rematches with Boise State and UNLV later on down the road.

    If they win all of those games, they could easily climb back up to a No. 5 seed. On the flip side, two or three more losses could put them on the bubble. Such is life during a down year for the Mountain West.

    Holding Steady: Georgetown Hoyas (Down One Line)

    Like San Diego State, the Hoyas dropped one seed line. However, they only dropped one overall spot from No. 24 to No. 25 for suffering a pair of losses to Providence and Villanova this past week. Their RPI and KP numbers merely fell from 20 and 21, respectively to 21 and 25.

    However, we're starting to worry about their plethora of losses. Though the Hoyas haven't lost to a team outside the RPI top 35, eight defeats is still a lot with one month left to play.

    It's eerily similar to the resume Iowa had in late February of last season. Those Hawkeyes were 19-9 and still projected for a No. 7 seed because of a couple of great wins and no bad losses. But then they suddenly lost a couple of bad games and plummeted to a first-round game in Dayton.

    That isn't to say that Georgetown is necessarily headed for a collapse, but if you picture a computer resume like a dam, it can only hold so many good losses before it breaks.

    The Hoyas are currently 4-8 versus RPI top 100 teams with five such regular-season games remaining. A 9-8 record would be fantastic, but 6-11 or worse would be cause for concern.

Ranking the No. 1 Seeds

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    No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (21-2, RPI: 6, KP: 6, SOS: 30)

    With all due respect to Gonzaga, a 7-1 record versus RPI top 100 teams and an 0-1 record against RPI top 20 isn't cutting it right now. The Bulldogs have played well since suffering that overtime loss to Arizona, but they don't have the computer profile of these four major conference programs.

    Case in point, Wisconsin is 11-1 versus RPI top 100 teams with the one loss coming against another projected No. 1 seed, and they still have seven more regular-season games against top 100 teams. The Badgers did have a tough loss against Rutgers, but that was without Frank Kaminsky and a game in which Traevon Jackson was injured.

    More importantly, they have been unbelievably good since then, winning five out of six by double digits and basically rewriting the book on offensive efficiency.

    They still have road games against Maryland and Ohio State before the end of the season, but a 7-1 record the rest of the way would secure them a spot on the top line.

    No. 3 Duke Blue Devils (21-3, RPI: 4, KP: 8, SOS: 6)

    Duke struggled to pull away Monday night from Florida State, but that close win doesn't even remotely begin to take away from the massive wins over Virginia and Notre Dame over the past 10 days.

    The Blue Devils now have eight RPI top 50 wins and 13 RPI top 100 wins, and they haven't even played either of their games against North Carolina yet.

    Yes, they had a rough pair of games against North Carolina State and Miami a month ago, but they also have arguably the two best wins in the country on the road against two of the other three No. 1 seeds.

    Those "bad" losses keep them from getting into the conversation for the No. 1 overall seed, but they clearly have one of the four best resumes in the country.

    No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers (21-1, RPI: 3, KP: 2, SOS: 7)

    Meat Loaf said two out of three ain't bad, but we would argue it's pretty darn good when those three games were against Duke, North Carolina and Louisville.

    From a resume perspective, there's no question that Virginia is one of the top two teams in the country. The Cavaliers have four RPI top 25 wins and 13 RPI top 100 wins, six of them away from home.

    How will they do over the next few weeks without Justin Anderson, though? That remains to be seen, but the schedule is favorable the rest of the way. Their only remaining RPI top 50 opponent is the season finale at Louisville, and they might have lost that one with or without him.

    Even if we chalk that game up as a loss, as long as they avoid any other losses between now and then, the Cavaliers will earn a No. 1 seed for a second straight year.

    No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats (23-0, RPI: 2, KP: 1, SOS: 27)

    Kentucky remained undefeated for another week, but it wasn't easy.

    The Wildcats opened up an 18-point lead over Georgia before the Bulldogs clawed back to within five in the final minutes, and Florida was either in the lead or within striking distance for the entire game Saturday night.

    But Kentucky prevailed, and that's really all that matters for the only undefeated team in the country. At this stage in the game, the Wildcats don't need any style points. They got more of those in the first two months of the season than they could ever spend.

    Even if they suffer a lossas long as it's not to Auburn or Mississippi Statethey'll still be in excellent shape for the No. 1 overall seed.

Seeding by Conference

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    In case seeded regions aren't for you and you just want to know where the "top" 68 teams stand in relation to one another, here is the list of each team's overall seed, broken out by conference (first five out in italics).

    Atlantic 10: 23. VCU; 37. Dayton; 46. Rhode Island; 71. George Washington

    American: 27. Cincinnati; 28 SMU; 41. Temple; 72. Tulsa

    ACC: 2. Virginia; 3. Duke; 11. Louisville; 14. North Carolina; 16. Notre Dame; 47. Miami

    Big 12: 7. Kansas; 10. Oklahoma; 12. Baylor; 13. Iowa State; 21. Oklahoma State; 22. West Virginia; 31. Texas

    Big East: 6. Villanova; 17. Butler; 24. Providence; 25. Georgetown; 33. Xavier; 39. St. John's; 70. Seton Hall

    Big Ten: 4. Wisconsin; 19. Ohio State; 20. Maryland; 29. Iowa; 30. Indiana; 43. Michigan State; 45. Illinois; 48. Purdue

    Missouri Valley: 15. Northern Iowa; 18. Wichita State

    Mountain West: 32. San Diego State; 35. Colorado State; 69. Boise State

    Pac-12: 8. Arizona; 9. Utah; 34. Stanford; 73. Oregon

    SEC: 1. Kentucky; 26. Arkansas; 36. Georgia; 38. LSU; 40. Ole Miss; 42. Texas A&M

    Other: 5. Gonzaga; 44. Old Dominion; 49. Harvard; 50. Buffalo; 51. Green Bay; 52. Iona; 53. Stephen F. Austin; 54. Murray State; 55. Eastern Washington; 56. Wofford; 57. Georgia State; 58. William & Mary; 59. UC Davis; 60. North Carolina Central; 61. South Dakota State; 62. Florida Gulf Coast; 63. New Mexico State; 64. High Point; 65. Stony Brook; 66. Lafayette; 67. Texas Southern; 68. St. Francis (PA)

    Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.

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