The NCAA top 16 bracket reveal Sunday gives the public a glimpse of where teams stand, coaches a barometer of their seeding and most importantly a dry run for the men’s basketball selection committee.
About the Top 16 reveal:
What: For the second year in a row, the NCAA selection committee will reveal the top 16 teams, with seeding, at this point for the NCAA tournament. Selection committee chairman Bruce Rasmussen will explain why each team would be placed on their respective seed lines, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how the committee operates.
When: 12:30, ET
Stream: CBS All Access
A year ago, the selection committee unveiled a top 16 in mid-February for the first time. A month later, 15 of the 16 teams were the same, with the only exception being a switch with Purdue and Virginia, the former in, the latter out by one spot. The order of the 16 was different than it was a month earlier, but the committee had nailed the top teams.
“I don’t think that will happen this year,’’ said Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen, the chair of the committee, who is in Indianapolis for the committee meetings this week.
time for Mikal Bridges!pic.twitter.com/SqPQpfZxV2— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 4, 2018
“There is a consensus with the top three but after that it gets a bit messier,’’ said Rasmussen, who was likely referring to Villanova, Virginia and Purdue as the top three, though after another chaotic week, anything is possible
Rasmussen said the 10-person committee is broken up into subcommittees that focus on the first quadrant of teams (or the top 16) and the fourth quadrant (the bottom part of the bracket with all the automatic qualifiers.)
Rasmussen said the first quadrant group of Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, Stanford athletic director and 2019 chair Bernard Muir and BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe have the chore of putting together the suggestive list of the top 16.
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Rasmussen said there is no reason to get too wrapped up on what is said on Feb. 11, a feeling that is shared by coaches.
Villanova coach Jay Wright told NCAA.com that the top 16 reveal has no effect on his thinking about where the Wildcats stand now. He doesn’t have to worry. Nova is a clear-cut No. 1 seed.
Purdue coach Matt Painter said the top 16 can give your team some motivation to remain or climb to a higher seed.
“They can see the big picture,’’ said Painter. “But in reality it is not that big of a deal.’’
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, who wasn’t thrilled with his six seed last season, said “all you can do as a coach is hope your team is respected by people that can control so much of your fate.’’
And the controllable is exactly what Auburn coach Bruce Pearl is focused on now.
Rasmussen said the reveal does force the committee to spend more time on the first quadrant teams. He said for those committee members who may be focused on other parts of the bracket, this exercise helps them lock in for the final month.
“But what this also does is educate the public,’’ said Rasmussen. “It will help show the bracketing and seeding because it can get complicated with multiple teams from the same conference.’’