If memory serves, we first began the exercise of post-Final Four bracketing in 2005. I remember this because one of our way-too-early choices for a No. 1 seed in 2005-06 was Villanova, leading to some predictable comments about East Coast (or, in my case, Philadelphia) bias.
Well, Villanova did become a No. 1 seed in 2006, along with two more of our year-in-advance selections (UConn and Duke). In the six years after that, we hit an average of two No. 1 seeds per season and managed at least one correct selection every year. Truth be told, it isn't that hard.
What we're saying is that at least one team from our pre-preseason ranking of the top four in the country is going to be a No. 1 seed the following March. It's really not a high standard when you think about it.
The top seeds in today's bracket -- our first for the 2013 NCAA tournament -- are the least likely potential No. 1s in recent memory. If forced to bet, I would take the field against this group.
That isn't meant to be a disparaging comment toward any of the four -- Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville -- but a realistic appraisal of the state of the game.
The numbers back up this unpredictability. You may recall that a year ago I made the offseason S-Curve calculations more numerical, building a formula emphasizing returning minutes and the offensive and defensive efficiency of those minutes on a team-by-team basis. Throw in real or expected NBA departures along with ESPN Insider recruiting grades, and every potential tourney team was given a score.
Any team with more than 500 S-Curve points was in contention for a preseason No. 1 seed. The list consisted of seven schools: Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, Duke, Connecticut, Syracuse and Louisville. This year's list of teams with 500 points is exactly zero. Z-E-R-O.
For 2013, Indiana checks in with 499.12 S-Curve points. In other words, these Hoosiers would have been No. 8 overall if ranked among likely NCAA teams a year ago. Today, they are No. 1 overall.
In the sidebar to the right, you'll find my Top 25 according to S-Curve points. It may not look anything like the non-quantitative rankings seen on this site and elsewhere, but it's a good starting point for personnel changes and other impact events between now and October.
I could see at least 18 teams on this list becoming No. 1 seeds by March. I could also see a team or two not listed here ascending to that height. What I don't see is any team at or reaching the level of last year's preseason big three (Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State).
The theme for 2012-13 will be "uncertainty," and it starts with today's bracket.
Joe Lunardi is the resident Bracketologist for ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN Radio. He teaches Fundamentals of Bracketology online at Saint Joseph's University. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.