Where will Michigan basketball rank in NCAA selection committee's top 16 reveal this weekend?

Wolverines likely to be No. 2 seed in Saturday reveal

Head coach John Beilein during a game against Rutgers at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 5, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Head coach John Beilein during a game against Rutgers at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 5, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan is sure to be among the 16 teams included in the NCAA Tournament selection committee's top 16 reveal this weekend, but will it be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed?

For the third time ever, the committee will release a ranking of what the top 16 teams would look like if the NCAA Tournament were to start this week. The top four seed lines will be released at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

In the last two years, this reveal has been a good indicator of where teams will end up when the real Selection Sunday rolls around. Out of 32 teams included in the first two reveals, 28 have ended up with a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

That means Saturday should be a pretty good indicator of where Michigan could be in a month.

No. 1 seeds

While the order of the top three seeds could be any combination of Virginia, Duke and Tennessee, it's very like those will be the teams atop the committee's rankings.

Top 3 teams

Virginia and Duke are both ranked in the top three of the NET and Kenpom rankings, while Tennessee is in the top five.

Virginia, with six Quadrant 1 wins and its sole loss coming by two points on the road against Duke, has the best case to be No. 1. The Cavaliers have excellent wins against Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Maryland and no bad losses. They're also No. 1 in both the NET and Kempom rankings.

Duke will likely be No. 2 thanks to five wins over top-30 teams in the country, compared to Tennessee's two such wins. Duke also has a win over No. 1 Virginia.

Tennessee does have an argument for the No. 2 spot with four Quadrant 1 wins -- all away from home -- and an overtime loss to Kansas as its only blemish. A much weaker Quadrant 1 resume might drop the Volunteers to No. 3, though.

Fourth No. 1 seed

The final No. 1 seed is a battle between Michigan, Gonzaga and Kentucky, and ultimately, this will show how much the committee values the new NET rankings.

Gonzaga has a very top-heavy resume, with a neutral site win over Duke and understandable losses to Tennessee and North Carolina. It only has four Quadrant 1 wins and three Quadrant 2 wins while playing 14 of its 23 games in quadrants 3 and 4.

Michigan, on the other hand, has five Quadrant 1 wins and seven Quadrant 2 wins. Only nine of Michigan's games have come in the bottom two quadrants.

Kentucky has the most Quadrant 1 wins at six and four wins in Quadrant 2. The Wildcats have played five games each in quadrants 3 and 4.

Despite the disparity in top competition, Gonzaga's No. 2 NET ranking and win over Duke could trump the depth of the other resumes, though it wouldn't be surprising to see Michigan or Kentucky on the top line.

Projected No. 1 seeds:

  • Virginia
  • Duke
  • Tennessee
  • Gonzaga
  • No. 2 seeds

    This is most likely where Michigan will land, though it could be in the fifth or sixth overall spot, depending on how the committee views Kentucky.

    Michigan vs. Kentucky

    Kentucky has an extra win in Quadrant 1, but Michigan's best wins match up nicely with those of the Wildcats. Both teams beat North Carolina, and Michigan knocked off Purdue and Villanova while Kentucky beat Louisville and Kansas.

    Michigan makes its best argument in Quadrant 2, where it is 7-0 compared to Kentucky's 3-1. That means Kentucky not only has the worst loss but also four fewer wins against the top 100 teams in the NET rankings.

    Michigan's losses on the road against top-25 NET teams compares nicely with Kentucky's losses to No. 45 Alabama and No. 67 Seton Hall, and the Wildcats weren't remotely competitive in a 34-point loss to Duke.

    Despite being No. 6 in the NET and Kenpom rankings, Michigan looks like a good candidate to be the top No. 2 seed at the time of the reveal, with Kentucky close behind.

    Other No. 2 seeds

    North Carolina seems like the only other lock for a No. 2 seed, with a win over Gonzaga and nine games in Quadrant 1. The Tarheels have wins over Virginia Tech, Louisville and North Carolina State and no losses outside Quadrant 1.

    Polar opposite resumes will collide when the committee compares Michigan State and Houston. MSU has five losses, including two in Quadrant 2, but played 11 games in Quadrant 1 with an impressive eight victories.

    Houston, meanwhile, is 21-1 with a close road loss to Temple, a bubble team. While the Cougars have a much tidier resume than MSU, they have only played three Quadrant 1 games. An 8-0 record in Quadrant 2 could level the playing field, though.

    In the end, it just seems like Michigan State's wins will be the biggest factor and earn the Spartans a No. 2 seed, though it wouldn't be a surprise to see Houston on this line.

    Projected No. 2 seeds:

  • Michigan
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • Michigan State
  • Rest of the top 16

    While the top seven teams seem pretty defined, it gets much cloudier from No. 8 to No. 16.

    Houston and Purdue seem to be likely No. 3 seeds, while Virginia Tech and Wisconsin put strong NET and Kenpom rankings to the test.

    Will Kansas -- with 13 Quadrant 1 games but only one true road win -- be the top team in the Big 12 despite having six losses? Can Nevada overcome zero Quadrant 1 games and a 27-ponit loss to New Mexico State?

    Louisville figures to be in the mix with wins over North Carolina, Michigan State and Virginia Tech, but it also has a losing record in Quadrant 1.

    Marquette could be the lone Big East representative despite being swept by St. John's. The Gold Eagles have seven Quadrant 1 wins and no ugly losses.

    Wisconsin, Villanova and Iowa State could also be in the discussion.

    The second tier of college basketball is extremely deep this season, and Saturday will be our first glimpse into which metrics the committee values most.

    Projected No. 3 seeds:

  • Houston
  • Purdue
  • Marquette
  • Virginia Tech
  • Projected No. 4 seeds:

  • Kansas
  • Louisville
  • Wisconsin
  • Nevada
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