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March 01, 2016

Big Five Bracketology: Could Villanova lose to a 16 seed?

There aren’t any “good losses” for teams on the top line, but Villanova falling at Xavier didn’t put a major dent in the Wildcats’ tourney résumé. All five bracketologists still have ‘Nova projected as a one seed — Thanks, Seton Hall — and only one has removed them from the East Region and coveted chance to play in Philly.

Over at CBS, Jerry Palm wrote about one seeds this week. Specifically, when is a 16 seed going to break through and knock off one of the tourney’s top four teams? Palm sees a specific type of team breaking through:

However, the 16s can vary widely because that's where upset winners from smaller conference tournaments often end up. The number of those upsets will vary from year to year, changing the overall quality of that group.

I think that the 16-seed that finally does break through will be a team that won its regular season conference title. Those are teams that know how to win consistently, at least within their leagues.

Villanova owns the lowest odds of winning their 1-16 game in Palm’s projected bracket (over North Florida) at “only” 92.3 percent. I saw North Florida play against LSU earlier this year, and they are a talented team with big guys who can really shoot. They would certainly qualify as a good 16 seed.

That said, Jay Wright’s team won their first-round game by 40 points last season. I also once witnessed 16-seed Albany taking a 12-point second-half lead over UConn in Philly only to end up losing by double digits. One seeds are one seeds for a reason, but a major upset is going to happen sooner or later.

(Just hopefully not to ‘Nova.)

•    ESPN, Joe Lunardi

•    CBS Sports, Jerry Palm

•    USA Today, Shelby Mast

•    FOX Sports, Stewart Mandel

•    Chris Dobbertean, SB Nation


KenPom: 3
RPI: 2

The Wildcats should win both tonight against DePaul and Georgetown on Saturday, but the real test will come at the Big East Tournament next week. If they can run the table (possibly with another win over Xavier), the Wildcats should be the top seed in the East Region in my humble opinion. If not, then the seeding gets interesting.

Saint Joseph’s

KenPom: 36
RPI: 25

7, 8, 8, 8, and 10 is where the Hawks currently stand, safely in the field for now. A game at St. Bonaventure (who beat SJU earlier this year) on Wednesday should provide St. Joe’s with the regular season’s last great test.


KenPom: 92
RPI: 61

I can’t imagine the Owls will get an at-large bid with their current computer numbers, but it will be interesting to see what happens if they sweep Memphis and Tulane and then lose in the final of their conference tourney. In that scenario, they would finish 22-11 with some good wins and bad losses.

For now, everyone has them in the field as the American’s automatic bid.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann