Early look at NCAA seedings suggests Cats-Cards matchup possible

Nothing against Joey Brackets and KenPomDotCom - they're predictive rankings are usually pretty spot on - but for the first time ever, the NCAA has has revealed how they see the teams stacking up before Selection Sunday.

As we predicted on Friday, Villanova (East), Kansas (Midwest), Baylor (South) and Gonzaga (West) are the No. 1 seeds. The Big 12 (Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia) and Pacific 12 (Oregon, Arizona and UCLA) had three. No Big Ten Conference teams made the top 16. Virginia and Louisville check in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on KenPom, but are trailing North Carolina and Florida State in their own conference, according to the committee.

If the season ended today, Louisville would be a 2-seed in the east, and Kentucky would be a 3-seed. Villanova (23-2) faces No. 24 Xavier on Saturday afternoon, but even if they win, there's a good chance they remain No. 2 in the AP poll on Monday.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, chair of the Division I men's basketball committee, said Butler received the South Region designation because it was the closest to Indianapolis geographically.

For those who love college basketball and March Madness, Valentine's Day came a little early on Saturday. The panel unveiled its top 16 seeds (the top four in each region) ahead of the bracket's full reveal on March 12. "Their consistency throughout the season gave them slight separation from other candidates for the overall top seed". Palm listed the Spartans as a No. 11, seed among the final teams the 68-team field, with an East Region First Four matchup against Syracuse in Dayton, Ohio.

"This is what was requested by the (National Association of Basketball Coaches)", Hollis said.

No. 17 Purdue is 20-5, 9-3 in the Big Ten, with a résumé highlighted by wins over ranked teams Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Maryland and Northwestern and road wins at Michigan State, Ohio State, Maryland and in, all of which remain in NCAA Tournament contention. First- and second-round games will air on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV.

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