The NCAA Tournament selection committee offered a peek into its thinking on Saturday, releasing its projections for the top 16 seeds (the top four seeds in each region) with five weeks until Selection Sunday.
The exercise was fun and drama-free. At this point, it's hard to argue with Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, and San Diego State as projected 1-seeds. There were no obvious misses.
And while there are still plenty of games between now and the release of the official bracket on March 15, the early reveal usually foreshadows how the top of the field will look. David Worlock, the NCAA's director of media coordination and statistics, tweeted that 39 of the 48 teams included in the early reveal over the last three years ended up as top-four seeds on Selection Sunday.
Some nuggets as we enter the year 4 of the Bracket Preview Show: Of the 12 teams that were 1 seeds for the 2017-19 shows, 9 remained a 1 seed in the real bracket. The other 3 teams were 2 seeds. All 12 2 seeds stayed in the top 16, as did 9 of 12 3 seeds and 6 of the 12 4 seeds.— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) February 2, 2020
However, one of the teams not included in last year's reveal was Texas Tech. The Red Raiders proceeded to catch fire in February and March, rising to a 3-seed by Selection Sunday and then using suffocating defense to make a run to the national championship game.
Which team might be this year's Texas Tech? Here are the most likely candidates.
Kentucky (18-5, 8-2 SEC)
The Wildcats were one of the top teams to miss out on the projected top 16. Three losses to non-tournament schools (Evansville, Utah, and South Carolina) have damaged their resume.
But Kentucky has also shown the ability to win close games against good opponents, defeating Louisville and Texas Tech in overtime. Led by guard Ashton Hagans and post player Nick Richards, the Wildcats are one of the best teams in the nation at getting to the free-throw line. That helps offset their lack of production from distance. Kentucky has scored just 18.7% of its points from the 3-point line this season - a rate that ranks 350th out of 353 Division I teams.