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Arizona No. 3 seed in first-ever in-season NCAA bracket preview

Arizona guard Kobi Simmons (2) shoots over Stanford forward Reid Travis during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Stanford 74-67. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

While the AP and coaches polls attempt to give a general overview of what are the best teams in the country, the real power as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned is held by the selection committee.

In order to give the public a better idea on how they currently stand on the top teams, the committee released its first-ever in-season NCAA Tournament Bracket Saturday. These rankings of the top 16 teams show how the bracket would turn out if the season were to end today.

The 22-3 Arizona Wildcats were the only team of the 16 to have the same ranking in this list and the AP poll, coming in at No. 9 in both.

Current AP No. 2 Villanova captured the selection committee’s overall top seed, with No. 3 Kansas, No. 6 Baylor and No. 1 Gonzaga rounding out the top four.

Along with these four, the Wildcats found themselves behind No. 8 North Carolina, No. 14 Florida State, No. 4 Louisville and No. 5 Oregon.

The committee grouped Arizona in as part of the Midwest region, putting them third behind 22-3 Kansas and 21-4 Florida State. No. 18 Duke was the fourth seed in the region.

The Wildcats would go up against the Seminoles in the Sweet 16 in this scenario.

Arizona was the No. 6 seed in the south region last season after accumulating a 25-9 record. They were upset by 11th-seeded Wichita State 65-55 in the first round.

Of course, these rankings are sure to change before the final bracket is released on March 12, but it remains an intriguing look into how the 10 most important decision makers for the tournament currently view the top teams.

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