Can’t wait until Selection Sunday? Neither could the NCAA Tournament selection committee. On Saturday, the committee revealed its current top 16 seeds – a month and a day before the official bracket is announced.
Consider it a sneak preview of March, but remember that plenty can change in the next four weeks. In fact, plenty can change by the end of today – 18 of the AP’s Top 25 teams are in action Saturday.
The top 16 (as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday):
USA TODAY SportsChris Nicoll
Villanova: No. 1 seed in East
Record: 23-2 AP rank: 2
The defending national champions sit atop the Big East and are the committee's consensus overall No. 1, but they will be tested in the next two weeks with matchups against Xavier, Creighton and Butler -- which handed the Wildcats their first loss.
USA TODAY SportsEric Hartline
Kansas: No. 1 seed in Midwest
Record: 21-3 AP rank: 3
The Jayhawks are pursuing their 13th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title and have a big date at Baylor next Saturday.
USA TODAY SportsDenny Medley
Baylor: No. 1 seed in South
Record: 21-3 AP rank: 6
The Bears have lost two of their past three games but still have a shot at the Big 12 title with home games remaining against Kansas and West Virginia.
USA TODAY SportsSpruce Derden
Gonzaga: No. 1 seed in West
Record: 25-0 AP rank: 1
The nation's lone unbeaten -- but the committee's overall fourth No. 1 seed -- faces perhaps its final regular-season test today at Saint Mary's.
USA TODAY SportsJames Snook
North Carolina: No. 2 seed in South
Record: 21-5 AP rank: 8
Justin Jackson leads four starters averaging double-digit scoring, but the loss to Duke on Thursday was just the start of a brutal stretch for the Tar Heels: Virginia (twice), Louisville and Duke (again) await in the next two weeks.
USA TODAY SportsBob Donnan
Florida State: No. 2 seed in Midwest
Record: 21-4 AP rank: 13
The Dwayne Bacon-led Seminoles are 6-1 against Top 25 teams, including victories over Louisville, Duke, Virginia and Florida.
USA TODAY SportsMelina Vastola
Louisville: No. 2 seed in East
Record: 19-5 AP rank: 4
The December win over Kentucky is nice, but the Cardinals have lost to ACC heavyweights Virginia (twice) and Florida State, as well as to Big 12 power Baylor.
Greg M. CooperUSA TODAY Sports
Oregon: No. 2 seed in West
Record: 21-4 AP rank: 5
Last week's resounding win over Arizona kept the Ducks' Pac-12 title hopes alive, especially since Dillon Brooks and Co. won't face another Top 25 team down the stretch.
USA TODAY SportsKelvin Kuo
Arizona: No. 3 seed in Midwest
Record: 22-3 AP rank: 9
The Pac-12 leaders are silly deep and talented and have a chance to wrap up the conference title and sweep UCLA in a must-see matchup on Feb 25, though that blowout loss at Oregon raised some red flags.
USA TODAY SportsCasey Sapio
Virginia: No. 3 seed in West
Record: 18-5 AP rank: 12
Monday's 16-point win over Louisville is a good sign after a mini-slump and before a tough stretch that features Duke and North Carolina (twice).
USA TODAY SportsRich Barnes
Florida: No. 3 seed in South
Record: 19-5 AP rank: 17
The Gators have won five consecutive games after a two-game skid but also have losses to Gonzaga, Florida State, Duke and South Carolina.
USA TODAY SportsReinhold Matay
Kentucky: No. 3 seed in East
Record: 19-5 AP rank: 15
Malik Monk and the Wildcats recently lost three of four but can build some late-season momentum thanks to a soft spot in their schedule.
USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Butler: No. 4 seed in South
Record: 19-5 AP rank: 22
The Bulldogs have an impressive win over Arizona but two costly Big East losses to Creighton - with matchups remaining against Villanova and Xavier.
USA TODAY SportsVincent Carchietta
West Virginia: No. 4 seed in West
Record: 19-5 AP rank: 13
The Mountaineers have wins over Kansas, Baylor and Virginia -- but still have road tests against the Jayhawks and Bears.
USA TODAY SportsBen Queen
UCLA: No. 4 seed in East
Record: 22-3 AP rank: 10
The loaded Bruins, led by freshmen T.J. Leaf and Lonzo Ball, can finish strong -- with Arizona the lone Top 25 team remaining on the regular-season schedule.
USA TODAY SportsKelvin Kuo
Duke: No. 4 seed in MIdwest
Record: 19-5 AP rank: 18
The Blue Devils -- and Coach K -- are healthy and appear to be peaking at the perfect time after a mid-January swoon and a season of drama.