NCAA Tournament: Who Will Be the 1 Seeds?

According to the numbers, who would be the 1 seeds in the Big Dance entering conference tournament play?

It's that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen. Tournament time!

Major conference tournaments tip off tomorrow, meaning the NCAA Tournament is right around the corner. And with that comes Selection Sunday.

A lot can happen from now until Sunday evening, so nothing is concrete at this point, but what if there were no conference tournaments and the season ended today?

If that was the case, which four teams do our numbers suggest would wind up with the tournament's 1 seeds?

Kansas Jayhawks

This is one that I think anyone with a brain or a computer can agree on. At 27-4 on the season, the Jayhawks are the number one team in the country, number one in  our power rankings -- with a nERD of 18.98 -- and number two in Ken Pomeroy's Basketball Ratings (by a mere .0021 in his Pythagorean Rating).

Bill Self's boys just won their 12th consecutive regular season conference title in what is most definitely the toughest conference in college basketball while tallying a 15-3 record in conference play in the Big 12. If that wasn't enough, here is how Kansas' strength of schedule ranks according to three notable sites:

Site SOS Rank
numberFire 3rd
KenPom 2nd
Sports-Reference   2nd

Enough said. Kansas has proven that they're the best team with the best resumé in the nation. I'm not even sure if a first-round loss to Kansas State or Oklahoma State would bump them from the one line.

Virginia Cavaliers

Things start to get more argumentative from here on out, but there are good reasons as to why we have Virginia listed as a 1 seed. They currently sit fourth in both the AP Poll and in our power rankings, and they are first in Ken Pomeroy's ratings.

Like Kansas, Virginia has had one of the toughest schedules in the country. They've managed to go 24-6 with what we consider to be the fourth-hardest schedule of all teams all the while finishing in a tie for second in an ultra-competitive ACC conference.

It's true that North Carolina finished as regular season champions, with one more win than the Cavaliers overall, but we're taking everything into account here. Virginia's strength of schedule is far superior to that of North Carolina's, and they are one of the most efficient teams in the country on both ends of the floor.

Efficiency Adjusted Defensive Rating   Adjusted Offensive Rating
Points per 100 Possessions 118.9 92.3
National Rank 9th 7th

Oklahoma Sooners

This might come as a shock to many, considering Oklahoma has lost three out of their last seven and four out of their last nine games to end the regular season. Despite all of that, the Sooners are 24-6 and finished 12-6 through the gauntlet of the Big 12 conference.

After all is said and done, however, voters might forget just how good the Sooners were all season -- which was really, really good. 

Against the nation's 3rd to 13th-toughest schedule -- depending on who you're asking -- Oklahoma put up 80.9 points per game, with four players averaging double figures. Without a doubt, Oklahoma sports one of the nation's most dangerous offenses.

What makes the Sooners so dangerous is their ability to take a lot of threes and to convert on them with ridiculous efficiency. Their 742 three-point attempts rank 44th in the country, and at a 43.0% rate (2nd in the nation), their 319 makes are 7th among all squads. Don't be shocked if the Sooners make it to, if not win, the Big 12 championship on their way to a 1 seed in the Big Dance.

Oregon Ducks

If Oklahoma took you by surprise I can understand if you're utterly shocked that the Oregon Ducks made this list of top-line NCAA tournament teams. After all, they hail from the PAC-12 right? That is correct -- and the Ducks rank a mere 9th in the AP poll, 20th in our rankings and 14th in KenPom's. However, the PAC-12 has had a good year.

Conference W-L % SRS SOS
Big 12 .633 15.92 10.34
ACC .614 14.26 9.08
PAC-12 .615 12.61 8.70
Big Ten .595 11.61 7.15
Big East .608 11.41 7.35
SEC .569 10.99 7.80

In addition, the conference boasts three other teams from the current AP Top-25 Poll (Utah, Arizona and California) against which the Ducks have gone 3-1 with three of the four games played on the road. They held strong to finish the season 14-4 in conference and avenged road losses to Colorado and Oregon State down the stretch, defeating the two by a combined 30 points.

As conference champs, the Ducks go into the tournament as the 1 seed and favorite to run through on their way to a conference tournament in addition to their regular season title. If they, in fact, do so, they will likely tally another quality win or two along the way, so their case for a 1 seed might just strengthen with time.

Stay tuned into the site -- these may change as conference tournaments unfold. Happy watching to all!