Virginia, Villanova Among No. 1 Seeds in 2018 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2018

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - February 10: Devon Hall #0 of the Virginia Cavaliers shoots in the second half during a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at John Paul Jones Arena on February 10, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Virginia Tech defeated Virginia 61-60. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Virginia, Villanova and Purdue may have all lost last week, but that did not affect their standing in the NCAA tournament committee's eyes.

Those three teams along with Xavier were named the top seeds in the first preview of the March Madness bracket released Sunday. Auburn, Kansas, Duke and Cincinnati were the No. 2 seeds.

Here are the Top 16 teams in the reveal, which debuted during the 2016-17 season:

1. Virginia

2. Villanova

3. Xavier

4. Purdue

5. Auburn

6. Kansas

7. Duke

8. Cincinnati

9. Clemson

10. Texas Tech

11. Michigan State

12. North Carolina

13. Tennessee

14. Ohio State

15. Arizona

16. Oklahoma

Given the results of men's college basketball over the last week, the seedings were a bit of a surprise. Virginia, Villanova and Purdue all lost last week—and the Boilermakers lost twice.

The committee was unlikely to dock the Cavaliers or Wildcats much for their close upset losses—Virginia in particular lost in overtime to a tournament-level Virginia Tech team—but the Boilermakers' sticking as a No. 1 seed will open some eyes.

Purdue lost to Ohio State and Michigan State, its top competition in the Big Ten. Its four losses are one more than the Spartans have, and the committee somehow listed Michigan State as a No. 3 seed. The Associated Press ranked the Spartans as the No. 4 team in the nation last week and may rank them first Monday.

Michigan State (14th) is just two spots behind Purdue (12th) in RPI. The Spartans were likely docked for their nonconference strength of schedule, which ranks 248th, per ESPN.com.

It's also clear the committee is a big believer in the Big East, with two of the top three seeds coming from that conference.

The Big 12, despite having a reputation as the deepest conference in the country, did not have a team ranked higher than Kansas at No. 6. No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 16 Oklahoma were also seeded, though the latter was a surprise given its struggles to win on the road. The Sooners are just 2-6 in road games and have lost six straight tilts away from Norman.

The selection committee will release its Top 16 seeds each week until Selection Sunday, so we'll get chances to look at how the committee's thoughts vary as the season progresses.

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