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Alabama, Houston, Purdue, Kansas top NCAA men’s bracket preview

Alabama is the overall 1-seed in the NCAA tournament men’s basketball selection committee’s bracket preview, revealed Saturday afternoon.

It would be the Crimson Tide’s first 1-seed in program history.

“On the stretch of 13 wins in the Quad 1 and 2,” committee chair Chris Reynolds said. “They have a very strong resume and that win over Houston put them over the top.”

The committee announced its top 16 seeds as of now, with Houston, Purdue and Kansas the 1-seeds after Alabama.

Reynolds pointed to the Jayhawks’ 12 Quadrant 1 wins, by far the most in the country, and their No. 1 strength of schedule as factors that put them on the top line.

Texas, Arizona, Baylor and UCLA were the 2-seeds, with Tennessee, Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas State as the 3-seeds. The Cyclones are 4-6 in their past 10 games, while Kansas State has lost five of its past seven games, but it’s a sign of the Big 12’s strength that both were still inside the top 12.

Reynolds said conference affiliation is not a factor in seeding or inclusion.

“We judge each team on its own merits,” he said.

Indiana, Marquette, Gonzaga and Xavier rounded out the top 16 as the 4-seeds.

Reynolds said Creighton, Miami, Saint Mary’s and UConn were the other teams under discussion for the final spots.

This is the lone mock bracket reveal of the season. Selection Sunday is March 12.

“We could see some change,” Reynolds said. “It will be interesting to see how the next three weeks unfold.”

With five teams in the top-16 seeds, the Big 12 is having a “great year,” according to Reynolds.

“It’s been an incredible season thus far for the league, with high-quality wins for several of the conference’s teams, and that is reflected in this unveiling,” Reynolds said. “While we evaluate these teams as independents, there’s no getting around the fact that the Big 12 is having a great year.”

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