UVA projected as No. 1 overall NCAA seed

Peter Aiken  Getty Images

Peter Aiken Getty Images

This is just the 2nd season the committee released their preliminary ranking for the Top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State - which now holds an overall record of 24-3 and has gone 12-2 in Big Ten play - was not ranked a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Auburn was the highest ranked two seed while Clemson was the top No. 3 and Tennessee was the best four seed.

Check out a breakdown of the current regional matchups below.

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.

Much like the College Football Playoff's in-season rankings, the preliminary seeds are created to heighten fan interest and prepare the selection committee for March's task of bracketing the 68-team field, set to be revealed March 11.

The Blue Devils were widely thought to be a strong candidate for a No. 1 seed before last Saturday's stunning loss to St. John's, and the defeat against the Tar Heels Thursday night made matters worse. They were the East's No. 1 in 2014, the Midwest's No. 1 in 2016.

The Red Raiders were projected to be a part of the East region alongside first-seed Villanova, second-seed Duke and fourth-seed Ohio State. That's fewer than most other teams in the top 16. I certainly would have been excited, but again, it's always about quality of play.

The No. 3 seeds are: Clemson (20-4), Texas Tech (21-4), Michigan State (24-3) and North Carolina (19-7).

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