In one of the closest battles for a No. 1 seed in recent memory, Kansas used a late push to move forward and claim a top seed on the eve of Selection Sunday.
The Jayhawks (28-6, 14-4) escaped Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament on Saturday finale to earn their 12th Quadrant 1 win of the season. That number leads the nation in NCAA quality wins metric. Kansas edged out fellow blue blood Kentucky, which lost to Tennessee in the SEC tournament semifinals and consequently fell to the No. 2 line in the final bracketology showing.
Kansas also beat Big 12 foe Baylor, which exited the league tournament early with an upset loss to Oklahoma. The Jayhawks and Bears (26-6, 14-4) join Gonzaga and Arizona as the four No. 1s to be announced during Sunday’s Selection show (6 pm ET on CBS). For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs (26-3, 13-1 West Coast Conference) will claim the top spot in the overall standings, while Arizona (31-3, 18-2 Pac-12) finished strong with a title of the Pac-12 tournament. win over UCLA to be positioned to claim the second-highest seed.
STAY UPDATED: Subscribe to our sports newsletter now!
Joining Kentucky in the No. 2-seeded lineup is SEC foe Auburn, who held the top spot in the NCAA Top 16 reveal several weeks ago but lost three of their last six and submitted a NET score outside the top 10. ACC regular-season champion Duke and tournament champion Big East Villanova round out the No. 2 seeds. The Blue Devils were near the No. 1 seed line before falling to Virginia Tech in the final of the ACC tournament. It was also a low year in the ACC, which played against the program by earning a first-place finish in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.
PRINT YOUR SUPPORT: Complete your men’s tournament bracket
MARCH MADNESS SUPPORT GAME: Create a pool and invite your friends
While the Big Ten had a terrific season overall with nine bids forecast, none of their top teams is likely to acquire a second seed on Draft Sunday, with Wisconsin and Purdue (projected No. 3 seeds) not finishing strong enough. The Big Ten may win the bubble, though, with Indiana, Michigan and Rutgers all among the borderline teams expected to break into the 68 field, beating other bubble-chasing teams that have been sweating so far.
The bubble loser is undoubtedly the Atlantic 10, and the NIT’s top seeds may all be from the middle of the major conference. Dayton, VCU, Richmond and Saint Louis all had strong credentials but were outscored by power conference teams.
Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas, Baylor.
last four in
Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Rutgers, Michigan.
The first four out
Xavier, SMU, BYU, Dayton.
next four out
Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Richmond, VCU.
Others considered for general offers: St. John’s, Florida, Colorado, Santa Clara, St. Louis.
Multiple Offer Conferences: Big Ten (9), SEC (7), Big East (6), Big 12 (6), ACC (5), Mountain West (4), Pac-12 (3), West Coast (3), American Athletic (two).
Leaders or Highest NET of Conferences Projected from an Offer – (23 Total): Atlantic 10 -Davidson; East America -Vermont; atlantic sun – State of Jacksonville; big sky – State of Montana; great south – Long wood; great west – State of Long Beach; CAA -Delaware; C-US -UAB; Horizon – Wright State; ivy league – Princeton; MAAC – Saint Peter; MAC – Akron; MEAC – State of Norfolk; Missouri Valley – Loyola-Chicago; northeast -Bryant; ohio valley – Murray State; Patriot – Colgate; Southern – Chattanooga; south land -Texas A&M-CC; SWAC – South Texas; Summit – State of South Dakota; sun belt – State of Georgia; WAC – State of New Mexico.
Ineligible Schools: Oklahoma State (banned), Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack, Dixie State, Tarleton State, Bellarmine, UC San Diego, St. Thomas.
NCAA Tournament Language Explanation:
net means NCAA Assessment Tool, which is the barometer of the selection committee. It includes game results, schedule strength, game location, scoring margin (limited to 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
win quadrant 1: Home games against teams 1-30 NET; Neutral site games vs. 1-50 NET; away games vs. 1-75 NET
Win Quadrant 2: home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral site games vs. 51-100 NET; away games vs. 76-135 NET
Quadrant 3 wins: home games vs. 76-160 NET; Games on neutral sites vs. 101-200 NET; away games vs. 136-240 NET
Quadrant 4 wins: Home games vs. 161 or more NET; Games on neutral sites against 201 and more NET; Away games vs. 241 or more NET
Note: Most statistical data comes from WarrenNolan.com. The NET (NCAA Assessment Tool) rankings are also a point of reference.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the course since 2005 on its website, Bracket WAG. She joined USA TODAY in 2014. In her ninth season as our national bracketologist, Mast finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the last eight NCAA Tournaments. She is also scheduled for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
About our college basketball reporter: Scott Gleeson has covered men’s college basketball for USA TODAY since 2012, contributing to bracketology and running Bubble Tracker before tackling all of March Madness after Selection Sunday. He correctly predicted Virginia would win the national championship in 2019 before the season started and also cast Loyola-Chicago as a mid-race Cinderella in 2018. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NCAA Tournament Bracketology: No. 1 seeds enter Selection Sunday