Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas and North Carolina landed the four top seeds in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Six teams were in the discussion for four spots. Gonzaga, Kansas, Villanova, Duke, Arizona and North Carolina are the teams most likely to wind up with a top seed.
Gonzaga, Villanova, Duke and Arizona all left the committee with a great final impression by winning their conference tournament. Kansas and North Carolina’s early exit in the conference tournaments has college basketball fans wondering if they are in danger of dropping down to a two seed.
Heavy breaks down the case for all six teams and offers our prediction of the four teams that will end up on the top line. The RPI is a metric that measures the strength of schedule of each team. The KenPom Ratings is an analytical tool that uses a number of key statistics to rank teams.
Here’s a rundown of the finalists for the four number one seeds.
Key Wins: Purdue, Notre Dame, Creighton (twice), Virginia
Bad Losses Butler (twice), Marquette
KenPom Rating: 2nd
Overview: The defending champs come in as one of the most complete teams in the country. They entered the Big East tourney as a one seed and took care of business in New York. They are as close to a lock as you can get to getting a one seed.
Key Wins: Duke, Kentucky, Baylor (twice), West Virginia
Bad Losses TCU, Indiana
KenPom Rating: 10th
Overview: Kansas has been one of the best teams in the country at winning close games. However, playing with fire cost them in the Big 12 Tournament in their opening game against TCU. Josh Jackson was suspended for vandalizing a fellow student’s car. Jayhawks fans hope the suspension does not cost Kansas a top seed. They have strong non-conference wins against Duke and Kentucky.
Key Wins: Michigan State, UCLA, Oregon
Bad Losses Butler, Gonzaga
KenPom Rating: 22nd
Overview: Arizona has closed out the season as impressively as any team. However, an early season loss to Gonzaga could cost them the number one seed as the two teams are compared side by side. Regardless of their seed, they will be a dangerous team in the tournament.
Key Wins: Florida, Arizona, Saint Mary’s (three times)
Bad Losses BYU
KenPom Rating: 1st
Overview: For most of the college basketball season it looked as if Gonzaga was going to run the table. A slip-up against BYU is the lone blemish on their resume. While wins against Florida and Arizona help their case, the West Coast Conference was not as strong as it has been in years past. We will see if the committee knocks them down based on their strength of schedule.
Key Wins: Michigan State, Florida, Notre Dame, North Carolina (twice), Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame (twice)
Bad Losses Syracuse, Miami, NC State
KenPom Rating: 11th
Overview: It has not always been pretty, but Duke enters the tournament as tested as any team in the country. They won the conference tournament in the strongest conference in the country. They have an unparalleled collection of top-50 wins. Duke also has more blemishes on their resume than the other five teams with slipups against NC State and Miami. Their schedule and quality wins work in their favor.
Key Wins: Wisconsin, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia
Bad Losses Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Miami, Duke (twice)
KenPom Rating: 3rd
Overview: North Carolina won the ACC regular season but came up short against Duke. Their two losses to their rival could end up costing them their top seed to the Blue Devils. The Tarheels do have an impressive resume having survived the ACC gauntlet in the regular season.
Heavy’s Prediction: Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas and Duke will be the top seeds.