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Andy Katz | Correspondent | February 18, 2022

Andy Katz predicts the top 16 teams in the March Madness men's bracket preview

March Madness men's top 16 reveal predictions by Andy Katz

Separation among the top 16 teams is starting to occur right on schedule in mid-February.

The national champion may come from outside the top 16, but the list of the top four lines is coming into clear view. The NCAA men’s basketball selection committee will reveal their top 16 on CBS at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday, three weeks shy of Selection Sunday.

Predicting what the committee of 12 will do versus what they should do isn’t much different. 

I do think they will value quad one wins, road/neutral wins and how they are playing lately. Of course, body of work does win out, but certain teams are definitely trending in the right direction while a few others have fallen off lately. 

So, let’s give this a go as to what the committee will do:

No. 1 seeds:

Gonzaga men's basketball

1. Gonzaga: The Zags are 6-2 against quad 1 opponents and destroying the competition in the WCC. They are 22-2 through Wednesday and showing no signs of slowing down. The Zags look like a lock to be the No. 1 overall seed again. 

2. Auburn: The Tigers have seven quad 1 wins and beat Kentucky and Alabama, the latter one on the road. They are the top team in the SEC. 

3. Arizona: The Wildcats are atop the Pac-12 with a recent win over UCLA, have a road win at Illinois and have five quad one wins. 

4. Kansas: The Jayhawks are in first place in the best league in the country in the Big 12 with an 8-3 quad one record. I feel the most confident that if Kansas wins the Big 12 they will definitely get a No. 1 seed. 

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No. 2 seeds:

Purdue men's basketball

5. Purdue: The Boilermakers have eight quad one wins and most importantly swept Illinois and have a win over Villanova. If Purdue wins the Big Ten outright then they will have a strong argument to push out either Auburn or Arizona as a No. 1 seed. 

6. Kentucky: The Wildcats’ win at Kansas should keep them on the two line. That win was one of the most significant victories of the season by any team. The Wildcats have five quad one wins and while they may not win the SEC, the overall resume should keep them on this line. 

7. Duke: The Blue Devils did beat Gonzaga and Kentucky in the non-conference and will hang onto those wins to propel them onto the two line, barring a face plant. The Blue Devils, with five quad one wins, are still the team to beat in the ACC, despite home losses to Miami and Virginia and a road loss at Florida State. 

8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders, with six quad one wins, pulled off a four-win rarity in the Big 12 by beating Kansas, Baylor (twice) and Texas. The win over Tennessee in New York is also a big check mark in the Red Raiders' favor.

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No. 3 seeds

Baylor men's basketball

9. Baylor: The Bears are struggling to be consistent in the Big 12, but they still have nine quad one wins. Nine. That includes a home win over Villanova. The Bears still can climb up a seed line, but I don’t see how they aren't at least a three seed. 

10. Wisconsin: The Badgers have eight quad one wins, including a neutral-site win over Houston. The Big Ten road wins over Purdue and Michigan State elevates the Badgers as well. Wisconsin has to be somewhere on the top three lines.  

11. Villanova: The Wildcats' road win at Providence should keep them in this group. Villanova played a great schedule but wasn’t able to close out games at UCLA, against Purdue in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic or at Baylor. Still, Villanova has six quad one wins. 

12. Providence: The Friars will cling to a road win over Wisconsin in the non-conference as one of the major factors to keep them on this line. Getting a road win at UConn helps tremendously as well. Providence is 6-1 in quad one and that will be a great selling point to the committee. 

No. 4 seeds

Illinois men's basketball

13. Illinois: The Illini have missed out on a few opportunities like Arizona and Purdue at home. Getting swept by the Boilermakers doesn’t help the case. Still, the Illini have five quad one wins and certainly look the part of a top four-line team when healthy.

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14. Tennessee: The Volunteers have home wins over Arizona and Kentucky and that should be enough to keep Tennessee in the top four lines. The Vols have five quad one wins and are trending toward this group. 

15. Ohio State: The Buckeyes are a bit of a sleeper here. But Ohio State has four quad one wins, including Duke and Wisconsin at home. The neutral win over Seton Hall helps, too. The Buckeyes are heading in the right direction to improve their seed. 

16. UCLA: This last spot could go to Alabama, Texas or Houston, but the Bruins’ home wins over Villanova and Arizona will likely carry them across this threshold. UCLA did lose at Arizona and USC and still has work to do, but the chances of getting more than their three quad one wins is dwindling. 

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