Tournament Index: Assessing top 16 teams from March Madness Bracket Preview

The NCAA selection committee revealed its top 16 teams on Saturday’s Bracket Preview show. Let’s check out how they line up with our Tournament Index model.

The NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed its top 16 teams in Saturday’s Bracket Preview show.

Gonzaga led the way as the overall No. 1 seed with Auburn, Arizona and Kansas rounding out the top seed line.

Heat Check CBB’s Tournament Index model projects how teams will perform in March Madness, grading teams on a 0-to-100 scale. For more info on Tournament Index, head on over to our portal.

Let’s check out how the committee’s top 16 teams size up with our Tournament Index ratings entering Saturday’s games.

Five takeaways from the Bracket Preview Top 16
—Ranking most likely first-time NCAA Tournament teams
—DPI: Game Predictions | Team Grades | Player Rankings

No. 1 seeds

  • Average Tournament Index rating: 87.2
  • Highest-rated team: 2015 Kentucky (95.1)
  • Lowest-rated team: 2016 Oregon (75.9)
TeamRegionW-LTournament Index Rating
GonzagaWest22-291.0
AuburnMidwest24-284.2
ArizonaSouth23-286.0
KansasEast21-485.7

Gonzaga‘s 91.0 rating would be the sixth-best since the birth of the Tournament Index in 2013. The Bulldogs have distanced themselves from the other 1-seeds with Arizona‘s 86.0 rating a full five points behind. Gonzaga is the only 1-seed that is above the model’s average rating of 87.2.

  • Rating of 86.0 or higher: 3.71 average NCAA Tournament wins
  • Rating worse than 86.0: 2.13 average NCAA Tournament wins

No. 2 seeds

  • Average Tournament Index rating: 84.1
  • Highest-rated team: 2015 Arizona (91.1)
  • Lowest-rated team: 2016 Xavier (75.0)
TeamRegionW-LTournament Index Rating
BaylorSouth21-586.9
KentuckyEast21-588.5
PurdueMidwest23-484.9
DukeWest22-486.0

Unlike the top seed line, the 2-seeds are far more balanced in the committee’s bracket. Each of the four 2-seeds are rated higher than the Tournament Index average of 84.1. Kentucky‘s 88.5 rating would be the fifth-highest in Tournament Index history.

  • Rating of 84.0 or higher: 2.24 average NCAA Tournament wins
  • Rating worse than 84.0: 2.00 average NCAA Tournament wins

No. 3 seeds

  • Average Tournament Index rating: 79.4
  • Highest-rated team: 2013 Florida (88.9)
  • Lowest-rated team: 2013 Marquette (73.9)
TeamRegionW-LTournament Index Rating
VillanovaEast20-681.2
Texas TechMidwest20-679.6
TennesseeSouth19-681.7
IllinoisWest18-779.0

Tennessee and Villanova are the strongest 3-seeds, per Tournament Index, with ratings of 81.7 and 81.2, respectively. Texas Tech and Illinois are closer to the average 3-seed rating (79.4).

  • Rating of 81.0 or higher: 2.29 average NCAA Tournament wins
  • Rating worse than 81.0: 1.68 average NCAA Tournament wins

No. 4 seeds

  • Average Tournament Index rating: 79.1
  • Highest-rated team: 2014 Louisville (87.8)
  • Lowest-rated team: 2015 Maryland (69.6)
TeamRegionW-LTournament Index Rating
WisconsinEast20-567.6
UCLAMidwest18-583.6
ProvidenceSouth21-362.4
TexasWest19-778.5

The 4-seed line is off the rails. As it stands, Wisconsin (67.6) and Providence (62.4) would be the weakest 4-seeds in the history of Tournament Index, worse than 2015 Maryland (69.6). Meanwhile, UCLA‘s 83.6 rating would be the sixth-best in Tournament Index history.

  • Rating of 82.0 or higher: 2.67 average NCAA Tournament wins
  • Rating worse than 82.0: 1.17 average NCAA Tournament wins


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