Tech basketball projected as a third seed

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Only Virginia dropped out of the top 16. The No. 3 seeds are Clemson, Texas Tech, Michigan State and North Carolina.

But in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee, the Spartans still have work to do become a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed in next month's tournament.

Virginia may not be the No. 1 team in the nation when the Associated Press poll is released on Monday, but the Cavaliers are No. 1 where it counts.

On Sunday, the NCAA tournament committee revealed its top 16 seeds as a sign of where things stand with less than two months remaining in the season. The No. 2 seeds would be Auburn, Kansas, Duke and Cincinnati.

"Virginia's a dominant defensive team, but they're much better offensively than they've been", committee chair and Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen said during the selection show.

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The Rams are 1-3 against Quadrant 1 opponents but the quadrant's arbitrary cutoff has done them an injustice.

The top four overall seeds were Virginia, Villanova, Michigan State and Xavier. The Tigers, who extended their SEC lead to two games with a win at Georgia on Saturday, are sitting pretty as the fifth overall seed thanks to a almost flawless non-conference schedule and seven true road wins, including five in league play. Auburn was placed in the Midwest region (Omaha, Neb.) with Xavier.

Tennessee, Ohio State, Arizona and Oklahoma were the No. 4 seeds. The 22-3 start by Auburn is the second-best start through 25 games in program history, only trailing the 1998-99 Tigers, who started 24-1.

The rankings could certainly change before the field of 68 is selected on March 11 with more than 1,000 games yet to be played.