Duke, Tennessee Lead Top 16 Seeds in 2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) brings the ball up court against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Duke, Tennessee, Virginia and Gonzaga were revealed as the No. 1 seeds during Saturday's NCAA March Madness Bracket Preview on CBS.

For the third consecutive year, the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee provided an early look at the top 16 seeds in advance of March Madness.

Here is a look at the selection committee's take on the top four seeds in each of the four regions if the 2018-19 college basketball season ended Saturday:

March Madness TV @MarchMadnessTV

If the tournament started today... https://t.co/amdEdgODcB

After the top 16 seeds were revealed, NCAA.com's Andy Katz offered his predictions for the entire NCAA tournament field:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

🚨 NEW BRACKET 🚨 The committee gave us seeds 1 to 16, now @TheAndyKatz predicts seeds 17 to 68! 👉 https://t.co/yWDid1tlOr https://t.co/p3zPqx2Owt

Duke, which has been a No. 1 seed on 13 occasions, was somewhat surprisingly selected as the No. 1 overall seed in the East region.

The 20-2 Blue Devils have lost to only Gonzaga and Syracuse, and they hold quality wins over Kentucky and Virginia.

Duke is led by a bevy of freshman talent, including Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, who could be the top two picks in the 2019 NBA draft.

Tennessee has been the best and most surprising team in college basketball so far, but it was chosen as the second No. 1 seed in the South region.

The Volunteers own a 21-1 record with their only loss coming to Kansas.

Led by national player of the year candidate Grant Williams, Tennessee may be poised to end Kentucky's recent run of dominance in the SEC. The Wildcats have won each of the past four conference tournaments.

Tennessee has never been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Virginia (20-1) has been a No. 1 seed six times, including last season when it lost to Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round, making it the first No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history to lose to a No. 16.

Virginia's only loss came at Duke in January, which earned it a No. 1 seed in the Midwest region.

The Cavaliers' shot at revenge will come Saturday when they host the Blue Devils in a rematch that could cause an immediate shake-up of the selection committee's seedings.

Despite its status as a perennial contender, Gonzaga has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament only twice.

As a No. 1 seed two years ago, the Bulldogs made it all the way to the national title game before they lost to North Carolina.

Gonzaga is 22-2 with losses to Tennessee and North Carolina. It has some big wins on its resume, though, including Duke and Washington, along with a pair of victories over San Francisco, which netted it the projected No. 1 seed in the West region.

The Zags are a deep and talented team, but forward Rui Hachimura is the clear go-to guy who will likely have a big hand in how far Gonzaga goes this season.

NCAA March Madness tweeted the following graphic showing how much the seedings changed from February to March of last year:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

2018 #BracketPreview vs. 2018 #MarchMadness How will this year's #BracketPreview top 16 look in March? https://t.co/5IdryGGEvG

Notably, Nevada was a No. 4 seed on Saturday's special despite the fact the Wolf Pack have just one loss and are ranked sixth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

On the telecast, it was mentioned that Villanova, Virginia Tech and Texas Tech were among the teams that narrowly missed out on a top-16 seed.

The 2019 NCAA tournament bracket will be revealed in five weeks on Selection Sunday, March 17.


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