No. 2 Duke earns top seed over No. 1 Tennessee in initial NCAA rankings

Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press ballot the previous three weeks, has one loss this season and owns Division I’s longest profitable streak.

But it wasn’t sufficient for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee to offer the Volunteers the highest general seed in its preliminary rankings. The committee revealed its preliminary rankings Saturday and it was Duke, not the Vols, incomes the No. 1 general seed.

The Blue Devils had been No. 1 within the East Region and the Vols topped the South, with Virginia within the Midwest and Gonzaga out West incomes the opposite No. 1 seeds.

“They are heading to the East by the slightest of margins,” committee chairman and Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir stated. “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 slated to play in Washington, D.C., in an East Region that features Michigan, Marquette and Iowa State. Tennessee tops a South Region in Louisville, Kentucky, with North Carolina, Purdue and Nevada. Virginia led a Midwest Region in Kansas City, Missouri, that additionally consists of Kentucky, Houston and Wisconsin. The West Region in Anaheim, California, had Michigan State, Kansas and Louisville with the Zags.

The preliminary rankings supplied a preview of the committee’s ideas 5 weeks earlier than Selection Sunday, on March 17. The NCAA ditched the RPI this season for its personal rating system, the NCAA Evaluation Tool, to pick groups for the NCAA event. The NET depends on recreation outcomes, power of schedule, recreation location, scoring margin, offensive and defensive effectivity and high quality of wins and losses.

Duke (20-2, 8-1 ACC) has losses to Gonzaga and Syracuse, however blew out Kentucky in its season opener, knocked off Auburn and Texas Tech and performs within the loaded ACC. Tennessee’s solely loss was to then-No. 2 Kansas. It has the longest profitable streak in class historical past, with 17 straight victories.

The Vols (21-1, 9-0) moved to No. 1 within the AP Top 25 in Week 12 after Duke’s loss to Syracuse.

“When I say they’re the No. 2 seed, really, in the committee’s mind, it was 1A and 1B,” Muir stated.

Muir went on to say defending nationwide champion Villanova was the final crew out of the rankings, with Virginia Tech, Texas Tech and LSU additionally being thought of. Kentucky, the highest No. 2 seed, was positioned in Kansas City as a substitute of enjoying simply down the highway in Louisville, so it could possibly’t play No. 1 Duke till the Final Four.

Kansas was moved out West for aggressive steadiness within the bracket. Lawrence is about 40 miles from the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Nevada, No. 6 within the AP ballot, was the No. 14 general seed within the preliminary rankings after opening the season 21-1. The Wolf Pack’s loss got here at New Mexico on Jan. 5, and Muir stated they had been near incomes a No. three seed.

“We’re so happy to be part of today, but we know there’s five weeks of basketball to be played and a lot of work to be done by a lot of teams, including ourselves,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman stated. “We just want to get better in all facets of the game. We have a lot of tough venues on the road. With eight games to play, anything can happen.”

Louisville was positioned in Anaheim as a result of the South Region shall be performed on the Cardinals’ dwelling courtroom, giving them an unfair benefit.


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