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NCAA releases Top 16 seeds for NCAA Tournament, has surprises

Alabama stands atop the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s first bracket preview.

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

March Madness 2023 is fast approaching and with Selection Sunday taking place in just over three weeks, the NCAA Tournament selection committee gave us a teaser by releasing their first bracket preview on Saturday. The preview revealed the top 16 seeds would be if the season ended today.

The No. 1 seeds included Alabama, Houston, Purdue, and Kansas, with the Crimson Tide currently standing tall as the top overall seed in the field. These four teams have been consensus one-seeds in the eyes of bracket experts for most of the year but Bama being touted as No. 1 is a direct result of Purdue’s recent swoon. The Boilermakers have dropped three of their last four games and stand on shakier ground as they wind down their Big Ten schedule.

The No. 2 seeds include Texas, Arizona, Baylor, and UCLA, all teams who could possibly play their way into one-seeds with strong finishes over the next few weeks. The final stretch will be a game of survival for the Longhorns and Bears in an incredibly difficult Big 12 while the Bruins and Wildcats are in a race between themselves for the Pac-12 title.

An interesting inclusion into the top 16 is Xavier, who snuck in at the final spot and would be a No. 4 seed if the season ended today. The Musketeers lost two straight heading into the weekend and find themselves ranked in the 20’s in both NET and KenPom metrics. The committee must like the Big East and that’s a good sign for that league moving forward.

The six power leagues are all represented in the top 16 as well as Houston representing the AAC and Gonzaga representing the WCC. The committee is really high on the Big 12 with five teams from that tough league making an appearance in the first bracket preview. Meanwhile, Virginia stands as the lone representative of the ACC, illustrating the lack of elite teams in that conference this year.