NCAA tournament bracketology: Projecting the field of 68
The NCAA tournament is less than two months away. And it's never too early to begin the who's in/who's out chatter. In the very early battle for No. 1 seeds, there's no clear-cut favorite and conference races have created a musical chairs-type shuffling from 1-2. Both Oklahoma and Kansas have held the top spot in the Coaches Poll. And they'll be fighting for Big 12 supremacy and a coveted top seed in the NCAAs.
The Big Ten features two teams — Iowa and Maryland — in the mix for No. 1 seeds, with the Hawkeyes surprisingly leading the way, for now, thanks to a pair of wins against a reeling Michigan State team that's fallen out of the top seed conversation. Then we can't forget the Big East, where projected No. 1 Villanova is once again out front, although Xavier is on its heels. Several ACC teams have underachieved this season, but North Carolina looks the part of a title contender and No. 1 seed thus far.
Projections as of Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. ET.
Last four in: Saint Mary's, Seton Hall, Oregon State, Syracuse
First four out: Alabama, Arizona State, Stanford, Clemson
Others considered for at-large bids (no particular order): Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Tulsa, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Auburn, Tulsa, Florida State, Boise State, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Creighton, Richmond, Evansville, SDSU., Davidson, Georgia, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Tennessee, UTA, UC Irvine, Penn State, BYU, Ohio State, Southern Illinois, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Marquette, Temple, LSU, VCU, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Middle Tennessee State, Arkansas.
Multi-bid conferences: Pac-12 (9), ACC (8), Big 12 (7), Big Ten (6), Big East (5), SEC (4), A-10 (3), WCC (2).
Leaders or highest RPI from projected 1-bid conferences (24 total): UConn (AAC), Stony Brook (America East), N. Florida (Atlantic Sun), Montana (Big Sky), High Point (Big South), Hawaii (Big West), William & Mary (CAA), UAB (CUSA), Valparaiso (Horizon), Princeton (Ivy), Monmouth (MAAC), N. Illinois (Mid-American), Hampton (MEAC), SDSU (MWC), Wichita State (MVC), Mt. St. Mary's (NEC ), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Navy (Patriot), Chattanooga (Southern), Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Southland), IPFW (Summit), UALR (Sun Belt), Texas Southern (SWAC), Cal State Bakersfield (WAC)
Banned from participating: Alcorn State (SWAC), Florida A&M (MEAC), Stetson (Atlantic Sun) Central Arkansas (Southland), SMU (AAC), Southern Miss (C-USA), Pacific (WCC), Cal-State Northridge (Big West), Missouri (SEC)
Transition Schools, ineligible for the tourney: Abilene Christian (Southland), Grand Canyon (WAC), Incarnate Word (Southland), UMass-Lowell (American East), N. Kentucky (Horizon)
Note: All RPI and statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 and has finished as one of the top 5 national bracketologists for his website, Bracket W.A.G. He’s predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
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