Top 16 seeds prove wor­thy over two weeks

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

Just two weeks ago Satur­day, the NCAA an­nounced its first ever pre- Se­lec­tion Sun­day top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

It was such a good idea it would seem CBS, which makes money on the broad­casts, and the NCAA, which got to pro­mote its big­gest mon­ey­maker, might put their mighty heads to­gether and fig­ure out a way to do it weekly start­ing in Fe­bru­ary and end­ing eight days be­fore the field is an­nounced.

The 2017 NCAA Tour­na­ment field of 68 will be an­nounced two weeks from to­day, and don’t ex­pect the top 16 seeds to change much if the past two weeks were any in­di­ca­tion.

Of course, there were some great games Satur­day, and not count­ing the games late Satur­day night, this is how the Big 16 did since be­ing named a pre-tour­na­ment seed.

1. Vil­lanova went 4-1, and the Wild­cats’ only loss was on the road to No. 4 seed But­ler, 74-66. The Big East looks like a four-bid con­fer­ence, but if Se­ton Hall makes it as the fifth team, the Univer­sity of Ar­kan­sas at Fayet­teville should be in bar­ring a

late-sea­son col­lapse.

1. Kansas went 4-0 as Bill Self con­tin­ues to own the Big

12. One of the vic­to­ries was on the road at Bay­lor, so the Jay­hawks and Wild­cats could trade places on March 12.

1. Bay­lor will find it­self a No. 2 or even No. 3 seed af­ter go­ing 2-3, although the loss to the Jay­hawks was 67-65. The sec­ond loss was to for­mer Univer­sity of Ar­kan­sas at Lit­tle Rock Coach Chris Beard and Texas Tech, who are re­ally tough at home this sea­son. And Iowa State, which handed Bay­lor a 72-69 loss Satur­day, is a hot team.

1. Gon­zaga (vs. Brigham Young late Satur­day night) was still the only un­de­feated team in the coun­try, but it gets hurt a lit­tle by the lack of com­pe­ti­tion in the West Coast Con­fer­ence, which will get a sec­ond bid in St. Mary’s.

2. North Carolina has been un­der the radar, but it edged to­ward a No. 1 seed by go­ing 4-0. It is go­ing to win the ACC, a league that some are say­ing could get 11 tour­na­ment bids.

2. Florida State lost to Notre Dame and Pitts­burgh on the road and went 2-2, so the Semi­noles will drop to a No. 3 seed most likely. On a side note, the Semi­noles have been much im­proved since Dickey Nutt joined the staff.

2. Louisville’s re­cent loss was at North Carolina 74-63.

2. Ore­gon won all five games, and Dana Alt­man still holds the record for short­est stay as a coach at Ar­kan­sas — a news con­fer­ence and a din­ner that night be­fore he re­signed the next day.

3. Ari­zona (vs. UCLA late Satur­day night) also stayed in the Pac-12 cham­pi­onship hunt by win­ning its pre­vi­ous four.

3. Vir­ginia didn’t fall out of the tour­na­ment but lost four games, all to teams who will be part of March Mad­ness. The Cavs are now more likely a No. 5 seed.

3. Florida and Ken­tucky are eas­ily the SEC’s best, and their game Satur­day should have been one of the most watched in the coun­try. The Ga­tors’ loss to Ken­tucky shouldn’t hurt their No. 3 seed.

3. Ken­tucky is wildly ta­lented, but the youth some­times takes a toll. Ken­tucky could be­come a No. 2 seed.

4. But­ler lost the day the 16 seeds were an­nounced, then won three in a row, in­clud­ing a vic­tory over No. 1 Nova.

4. West Vir­ginia went 4-1, with its loss at No. 1 Kansas, 84-80.

4. UCLA (vs. Ari­zona late Satur­day night) went 3-0 and is go­ing to be very dan­ger­ous in the Pac-12 Tour­na­ment.

4. Duke went 3-2, and at times seems to suf­fer from the same thing Ken­tucky does: too much youth. Of course, both have be­come pro­grams for one-and-dones, although Mike Krzyzewski seems to keep more veter­ans. Still, Duke is Duke and will prob­a­bly be a No. 4 seed.

WALLY HALL

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