INDIANAPOLIS — The Division I men’s basketball committee unveiled its top 16 teams, through games of Friday, during this afternoon’s Bracket Preview Show on CBS. Baylor was the unanimous overall No. 1 seed, and the committee had a consensus on the other top seeds: Kansas, Gonzaga and San Diego St. Nine conferences had schools ranked, the most in the four years of a program intended to offer a sneak peek into a portion of the selection process five weeks before the actual bracket in revealed.
Joining Baylor and Kansas from the Big 12 Conference was West Virginia, which was seeded eighth overall and joins Duke, Dayton and Louisville as No. 2 seeds. The ACC and Big East also had three teams among the top 16, while the Big Ten had two and the SEC, Pac-12, Mountain West, Atlantic 10 and West Coast Conference all had one team.
The No. 3 seeds are Maryland, Florida St., Seton Hall and Villanova, while Auburn, Oregon, Butler and Michigan St. rounded out the field.
Using existing bracketing principles, the committee assigned Baylor to the South regional, which will take place in Houston. Kansas was sent to the Midwest regional in Indianapolis, while Gonzaga was assigned to the West regional in Los Angeles and San Diego St. was sent to the East regional in New York City.
If this plays out similarly on Selection Sunday, it would mark just the second time that two teams from the Pacific time zone were No. 1 seeds in the same tournament. In 2000, Stanford and Arizona were top seeds in their respective regions, although both teams were eliminated in the second round. It would also mark the first time since seeding began in 1979 that a west coast team was the No. 1 seed in the East regional. There have been nine occurrences of a team from the Eastern time zone being the top seed in a regional hosted in the Pacific time zone.
As the overall Nos. 5 and 6 seeds, Duke and Dayton were assigned to its closest regional site, with the Blue Devils going to New York and the Flyers driving to Indianapolis. Louisville was assigned to Houston, leaving West Virginia to go out to Los Angeles. As the highest of the teams on the third line, Maryland went to its closest regional site (New York). Blocked by Louisville being in Houston, Florida State was assigned to the next closest regional (Indianapolis), which is only about 70 miles farther. Seton Hall was sent to Houston and Villanova was left to go out to Los Angeles.
Auburn was the top-seeded team on the fourth line and was sent to Houston, with Oregon going to Los Angeles, Butler going to New York and Michigan State going to Indianapolis. Originally, the committee had Auburn in Indianapolis because that’s the closest regional, but to create a desired regional balance, the Tigers were flipped with Michigan State and sent to Houston.
This all left the regions as follows:
- South (Houston): (1) Baylor, (2) Louisville, (3) Seton Hall, (4) Auburn
- Midwest (Indianapolis): (1) Kansas, (2) Dayton, (3) Florida St., (4) Michigan St.
- West (Los Angeles): (1) Gonzaga, (2) West Virginia, (3) Villanova, (4) Oregon
- East (New York City): (1) San Diego St., (2) Duke, (3) Maryland, (4) Butler
The chair of the committee is Kevin White, the director of athletics at Duke University. He is joined on the committee by vice chair Mitch Barnhart, the director of athletics at the University of Kentucky; Tom Burnett, the commissioner of the Southland Conference; Charles McClelland, the commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference; Bernadette McGlade, the commissioner of the Atlantic 10 Conference; Mike O’Brien, the director of athletics at Toledo University; Jim Phillips, the director of athletics at Northwestern University; Jamie Pollard, the director of athletics at Iowa State University; Chris Reynolds, the director of athletics at Bradley University; and Craig Thompson, the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference.
Selection Sunday is March 15. The 2020 tournament will be the 10th with a 68-team field and will begin with the First Four on truTV, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17 and 18 in Dayton. First- and second-round games take place March 19 and 21 in Albany, Spokane, St. Louis and Tampa; and March 20 and 22 in Cleveland, Greensboro, Omaha and Sacramento. The Midwest and West regionals take place March 26 and 28, while the East and South regionals will be played March 27 and 29. The Final Four will be played in Atlanta April 4 and 6.
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