College Basketball Line Report
The No. 2 ranked Duke Blue Devils were absolute money from beyond the arc in Charlottesville on Saturday. Duke defeated ACC rival and the now-No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers 81-71, to sweep the season series. The NCAA pseudo selection committee published their initial team rankings today. According to the first Big Dance rankings No. 2 Duke earned the top seed over current Associated Press No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers. College Basketball Line Report: Cougars -5.5 over Bearcats.
NCAA Initial Team Rankings
Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 in The AP poll the past three weeks. The Volunteers have just one loss (Kansas Jayhawks in overtime) this season and own Division I’s longest winning streak.
The Vols resume wasn’t enough for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee to give Tennessee the top overall seed in its initial rankings. The committee revealed its preliminary rankings and strength of schedule in combination with ACC Power Rankings offered Duke, not the Vols, the No. 1 overall seed.
NCAA Selection Committee’s Regional Top Seeds
In the committee’s first publication of the top four seeds in each region the Blue Devils were No. 1 in the East Region. The Vols headed the South, with Virginia in the Midwest and Gonzaga at the top of the West.
“They are heading to the East by the slightest of margins,” committee chairman and Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir told the AP media staff. “There was a very close conversation between the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed, but the strength of schedule won out in Duke’s case.”
Duke was positioned to play the opening round in Washington, D.C., in an East Region that included the next three seeds Michigan, Marquette and Iowa State. Tennessee is the South Region No. 1 with the first round being played in Louisville, Kentucky, with a trio of two-through-four seeds North Carolina, Purdue and Nevada. Virginia is on top of the Midwest Region at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, that includes Kentucky, Houston and Wisconsin. The West Region is slated to be played in Anaheim, California and along with the Zags are Michigan State, Kansas and Louisville.
Most noteworthy is the initial rankings are in line with the College Football Playoff rankings and are a build up to March Madness, a preview of the committee’s thoughts five weeks before Selection Sunday, on March 17.
RPI Out while NCAA Evaluation Tool is In
The NCAA selection committee will no longer rely on one of its ranking staples, the RPI. As a result of formulating their own ranking system the committee has discarded the computer generated data (RPI) this season. The NCAA proprietary ranking system, the NCAA Evaluation Data, is their new ranking tool. And the new data will carry a significant weight in selecting teams for the NCAA tournament. Furthermore the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) relies on game results, strength of schedule, game venue plus location, scoring margin, offensive and defensive efficiency as well as quality of wins and losses.
Finally Sunday’s College Basketball Line Report has an midday contest in Houston. The Cougars received one of the committee’s No. 4 seeds. Houston hosts the Cincinnati and check in as a five-point handicap favorite over the Bearcats