Reigning national champion Villanova was the top seed in the NCAA tournament selection committee's preliminary rankings released Saturday.
The Wildcats, No. 2 in the AP Top 25, joined Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga as the top seeds.
No. 7 Wisconsin, the top team in the Big Ten, was a notable omission. The Badgers are 21-3 (10-1 in the Big Ten) heading into Sunday's game against Northwestern.
The selection committee followed the lead of the College Football Playoff by releasing the top 16 seeds early to drum up interest before Selection Sunday on March 12. The rankings are based on games through Friday.
Villanova was slated as the top seed in the East Region. Kansas was the top seed in the Midwest, Baylor was No. 1 in the South, and Gonzaga topped the West.
"Villanova played a challenging nonconference schedule and has achieved considerable success against several quality opponents on the road and on neutral courts," NCAA tournament selection committee chair Mark Hollis said. "Their consistency throughout the season gave them slight separation from other candidates for the overall top seed."
The top 16 Records through Friday
No. 1 seeds No. 2 seeds
No. 1 Villanova (23-2) No. 5 North Carolina (21-5)
No. 2 Kansas (21-3) No. 6 Florida State (21-4)
No. 3 Baylor (21-3) No. 7 Louisville (19-5)
No. 4 Gonzaga (25-0) No. 8 Oregon (21-4)
No. 3 seeds No. 4 seeds
No. 9 Arizona (22-3) No. 13 Butler (19-5)
No. 10 Virginia (18-5) No. 14 West Virginia (19-5)
No. 11 Florida (19-5) No. 15 UCLA (22-3)
No. 12 Kentucky (19-5) No. 16 Duke (19-5)