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Mar 16, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; General view of a March Madness basketball prior to the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Xavier Musketeers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA Releases Top-16 Seed Bracket Preview

With March Madness just over a month away, the NCAA has released an early bracket preview of what would be the top 16 seeds if the tournament started today.

It’s the second year the NCAA has done this, and it provides a good feel for how the actual bracket will look in March. Last year, 15 of the top 16 teams in the bracket preview wound up being in the top 16 in the actual bracket.

This time around, Virginia, Villanova, Xavier and Purdue are the No. 1 seeds. The SEC placed two teams in the top 16 with Auburn as a No. 2 seed and Tennessee as No. 4 seed.

No. 1 Seeds

Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losing at home in an overtime-thriller against rival Virginia Tech this week, Virginia is the committee’s top overall seed. Ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, the Cavaliers are 23-2 and have been a model of consistency. Their loss to the Hokies was their first conference loss, and their only other loss came on the road at West Virginia.

Villanova has been at the top of the rankings for much of the season, and the Wildcats look like they’ll be a No.1 seed come March. They were upset last week by St. Johns, but bounced back by beating Butler and also boast wins over Xavier and Gonzaga.

Xavier checks in as the third No.1 seed. They’re ranked No. 4 in the AP poll and are coming off two big conference wins on the road: at Butler and at Creighton.

Meanwhile, Purdue enters as the final No. 1 seed. Despite a strong resume that includes wins over Arizona and Michigan, they had a rough past week, falling to Ohio State and Michigan State.

SEC

The SEC is represented in the bracket preview by Auburn and Tennessee, with Kentucky and Florida on the outside looking in.

Auburn has had a breakout season under head coach Bruce Pearl, as they sit at No. 10 in the AP poll. The Tigers are 22-3, with a big win at Tennessee towards the beginning of SEC play.

Tennessee is on the border of the No.3/No.4 seed line, and are the top No.4 seed. The Vols are 18-6, and have resume-boosting wins over Purdue and twice against Kentucky.

 

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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