The appetizers before the entrée – conference tournaments leading into Sunday evening’s announcement of the 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket – will be served over most of the next seven days.

Besides filling its batch of 37 at-large bids, the selection committee must also pick the top four seeds.

Kentucky, naturally, is a lock for the No. 1 overall seed, with Duke, Virginia, Villanova and Wisconsin in contention for the others.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Kentucky (1)
For the curious among you, there were only five margins of victory of less than 10 points in the Wildcats’ 18-zip SEC run.
2. Duke (2)
Who would win a freshman “3-on-3” game: The Blue Devils, with Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones or Kentucky, with Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis?
3. Villanova (4)
The Wildcats take a 12-0 win streak into the Big East Tournament.
4. Wisconsin (5)
The Badgers showed no sign of wobbling into March with their impressive road wins against Minnesota and Ohio State.
5. Virginia (3)
The Cavaliers were a few well-placed accurate jump shots away from joining the program from Lexington in the realm of the unbeaten.
6. Arizona (6)
So much for what most figured would be a down-to-the-wire race for the Pac 12 title with Utah.
7. Gonzaga (7)
The WCC semifinal competition will be tough Monday night in Las Vegas – a Pepperdine team that took the Bulldogs to the wire twice in the regular season.
8. Northern Iowa (9)
So much for a rubber match being needed to decide the winner of the MVC tourney.
9. Notre Dame (10)
This, of course, is the team most apt to disappoint those wishing to see a Duke-Virginia showdown in the ACC tourney championship game.
10. Maryland (11)
Who would have imagined in November that the 8-9-10 slots in the Power 16 on March 9 would include these programs?
11. Wichita State (8)
The Shockers will take four more losses into the NCAA tourney and are still apt to go deeper this time around.
12. Kansas (12)
Through all of the on- and off-court speed bumps the Jayhawks encountered, they were still able to win the regular-season Big 12 title.
13. Iowa State (NR)
There are at least five Big 12 teams capable of playing into the second week of the NCAA tourney and this, of course, is one of them.
14. Utah (13)
The Utes closed the regular season with three closes in five games.
15. Arkansas (14)
The Hogs allowed 80 ppg over the final three games.
16. Oklahoma (15)
A second-half collapse in Ames last week cost the Sooners a piece of a Big 12 championship.

ON THE CUSP: Baylor 23-8, Boise State 24-7, Butler 22-9, Davidson 23-6, Iona 26-7, Iowa 21-10, Louisiana Tech 24-7, Louisville 24-7, LSU 22-9, Michigan State 21-10, Murray 27-5, Oregon 23-8, San Diego State 24-7, SMU 24-6, Valparaiso 27-5 and West Virginia 23-8.


*Tyus Jones (Duke): The freshman point guard averaged 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game in ACC victories over Wake Forest and North Carolina.
*Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin): He wrapped up in the regular season in fine fashion, averaging 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in Big Ten wins at Minnesota and Ohio State.
*TJ McConnell (Arizona): The senior point guard averaged 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 2.5 steals and only 1.0 steals in wins over visiting Cal and Stanford that gave the Wildcats a 16-2 regular-season Pac 12 record.
*Daniel Ochefu (Villanova): The 6-11, 245-pound junior averaged 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots in the Wildcats’ Big East victories against Creighton and St. /> *[Player: Seth Tuttle (Northern Iowa): The Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year picked up MVC Tourney Most Outstanding Player hardware while capping his performance by leading his team from 18 points down Sunday to knock off Illinois State in the finale in St. Louis. Over three games he averaged 12.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Frank Burlison has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]


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