Duke, Tennessee, Virginia lead March Madness top 16 seeds preview - Sports Illustrated

Duke, Tennessee, Virginia Headline NCAA Men's Selection Committee Top 16 Rankings

The Blue Devils are joined by Tennessee, Virginia and Gonzaga atop the NCAA men's basketball committee's list of their top 16 teams.
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The NCAA men's basketball committee gave college hoops fans their first look at this year's March Madness pool on Saturday when they released their top 16 teams on the third annual Bracket Preview Show. 

Duke took the overall No. 1 seed with Tennessee, Virginia and Gonzaga securing the rest of the projected No. 1 seeds. The Volunteers sit No. 1 in the AP poll, with the Blue Devils at No. 2. 

Kentucky earned the top No. 2 seed spot. The Wildcats are joined by Michigan, Michigan State and North Carolina on the second line. 

Saturday's rankings provide a preview of what is to come on Selection Sunday. The same NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee whose top 16 rankings were revealed Saturday will officially announce the 68 teams that qualified for the tournament and their respective seeding.

Selection Sunday will take place on March 17. 

The committee's rankings rely heavily on the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, which is the new college basketball ranking system introduced last summer to replace Rating Percentage Index (RPI). NET functions as its primary tool in evaluating Division I men's basketball teams, but is not the sole factor that determines a team's ranking.

The NET relies upon game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency and the quality of wins and losses to evaluate and rank teams.

In order to ensure fairness, factors such as game dates and the order in which games are played will be omitted from the NET. Early-season and late-season will hold equal importance. The model also caps winning margins at 10 points in accounting for the event of a blowout score.

In November, the NCAA revealed the five factors that NET includes in its calculations: Team value index, net efficiency, winning percentage, adjusted win percentage and scoring margin.

Take a look at the committee's complete Top 16 below. You can also find SI's entire projected field here.

1. Duke
2. Tennessee
3. Virginia
4. Gonzaga
5. Kentucky
6. Michigan
7. North Carolina
8. Michigan State
9. Purdue
10. Kansas
11. Houston
12. Marquette
13. Iowa State
14. Nevada
15. Louisville
16. Wisconsin

March Madness will kickoff on March 19, 2019, two days after Selection Sunday.