On Saturday afternoon, the NCAA Tournament Committee released its first (and only) early look at the field heading into Selection Sunday. This is the third year that the Committee has given fans an early look at the bracket. Of course, there will be much discussion about the selections in the weeks to come.
The Big Ten ended up landing four teams in the Committee’s top 16. However, there were far more interesting developments than just that. Here is the full list:
#MarchMadness Top 16 Seeds!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 9, 2019
7. North Carolina
8. Michigan State
13. Iowa State
16. Wisconsin#BracketPreview pic.twitter.com/XBYwOm8uqs
From the Big Ten’s perspective, the biggest takeaway from this list is in regard to Michigan and Michigan State. Neither team seemed to get much respect in the committee’s early rankings. While there’s still plenty of time before Selection Sunday, it was surprising to see Michigan behind Kentucky and the Spartans as the lowest two seed.
The divide between Purdue and Michigan State was also pretty interesting. The Boilermakers have been red hot as of late, but there was some uncertainty as to how the team’s overall resume would look. After all, Purdue blew a few nice opportunities in the non-conference portion of the season. But the committee has these teams nearly deadlocked.
Wisconsin also narrowly made the top 16 in the committee’s early look. The Badgers have been inconsistent this season, but have been playing really good basketball over the last month or so. It seems like a safe bet at this point that Wisconsin will be in the discussion for the top 16 at season’s end.
The other question that Big Ten fans will likely have is about how close some of the other teams are to the top 16. Many bracketologists have Iowa and Maryland as six seeds or better, so both are still in the picture. Neither made the cut on Saturday, but don’t count them out just yet.
Nonetheless, things will remain interesting in the weeks to come. Stay tuned to BTPowerhouse for more updates as the season continues.