Tech basketball projected as a third seed

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl celebrates with guards Davion Mitchell left and Jared Harper in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday Feb. 10 2018 in Athens Ga. Auburn won 78-61

"We initially felt Villanova was the overall top seed, but we flipped that Thursday morning after the Wildcats lost to St. John's at home and Virginia won at Florida State".

Those three teams along with Xavier were named the top seeds in the first preview of the March Madness bracket released Sunday. A potential second-round matchup would feature the victor of Cincinnati (2) and Northern Kentucky (15).

Along with those seven, the rest of the top-16 contains Kansas (two seed), Duke (two seed), Cincinnati (two seed), Texas Tech (three seed), Michigan State (three seed), North Carolina (three seed), Ohio State (four seed), Arizona (four seed) and Oklahoma (four seed).

Michigan State - which now holds an overall record of 24-3 and has gone 12-2 in Big Ten play - was not ranked a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

"The committee was pretty strong in their consensus of the No. 1 seeds", said NCAA Tournament chair and Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen.

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With Selection Sunday exactly a month away, Duke may not have as much work to do as many expected to play its way into a top seed.

Villanova was selected as the second No. 1 seed (East Region). Previously, Clemson has been a No. 4 seed on two occasions. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech jumped to 56th from 67th, upgrading its chances of earning a tournament bid.

Virginia dropped a 61-60 game to Virginia Tech in overtime Saturday to slip to 23-2 this season. It was the Hokies' ninth Quadrant 1 game and fourth Quadrant 1 win. I certainly would have been excited, but again, it's always about quality of play. Sure, it would have been great for everybody, but that's a small thing.

Auburn, which hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since the 2002-03 season, is 22-3 overall and 10-2 in the SEC after beating Georgia on Saturday.

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