NCAA Tournament bracketology: Baylor leapfrogs Auburn for No. 1 seed after wild weekend

Shelby Mast and Scott Gleeson

The biggest winner following a wild weekend that saw all four projected No. 1 seeds in men's college basketball go down was Baylor.

The Bears picked up another résumé-boosting victory at home vs. Kansas and now have a nation-leading 11 Quadrant 1 victories to pair with a top-5 NET score. Those overall credentials helped coach Scott Drew's team leapfrog Auburn for a coveted No. 1 seed in the latest bracket projection. 

While Gonzaga (lost to Saint Mary's), Arizona (lost to Colorado) and Kansas all lost on Saturday, the Tigers' overall credentials were weak enough to drop them a spot to the No. 2 line with their NET score outside of the top 10.

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That makes Auburn the top No. 2 seed, ahead of SEC rival Kentucky, Duke in the ACC and Purdue in the Big Ten. Both the Wildcats and Boilermakers also lost on Saturday, hurting their chances of vaulting ahead to the No. 1 line on Selection Sunday. Duke, dominant over Syracuse on the road this weekend, also has a shot at vaulting ahead to the No. 1 line, although it may take winning the ACC tournament to get there. 

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Baylor Bears teammates celebrate guard James Akinjo (11) pull up jumper to win the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

With just one week left in the regular season and championship week on tap the week after, we'll have a down-to-the-wire race for a No. 1 seed among Kansas, Baylor, Auburn and Kentucky. Should these team meet again in the Big 12 tournament or SEC tournament, a top seed could be on the line. 

No. 1 seeds

Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas, Baylor.

Last four in

Indiana, Michigan, SMU, North Carolina.

First four out

Memphis, VCU, Saint Bonaventure, Rutgers.

Next four out

 Oregon, Florida, Virginia Tech, Belmont.



Others considered for at-large bids: St John's, South Carolina, Dayton.

On life support:  Richmond, Mississippi State, Saint Louis, Virginia.

Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (8), Big East (7), Big 12 (6), SEC (6), ACC (5), West Coast (4), Mountain West (4), Pac-12 (3), American Athletic (2).

Leaders or highest NET from projected one-bid conferences - (22 total)A10 - Davidson; America East - Vermont; Atlantic Sun - Liberty; Big Sky - Montana State; Big South - Longwood; Big West - Long Beach State; CAA - Towson; C-USA - North Texas; Horizon - Cleveland State; Ivy League - Princeton; MAAC - Iona; MAC - Toledo; MEAC - Norfolk State; Missouri Valley - Loyola-Chicago; Northeast - Wagner; Ohio Valley - Murray State; Patriot - Colgate; Southern - Chattanooga; Southland - Nicholls State; SWAC - Texas Southern; Summit - South Dakota State; Sun Belt - Texas State; WAC - New Mexico State.

  • Ineligible schools: Oklahoma State (banned), Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack, Dixie State, Tarleton State, Bellarmine, UC San Diego, St. Thomas.


NCAA Tournament language explainer:

  • NET stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, which is the barometer for the selection committee. It includes game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin (capping at 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
  • Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
  • Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
  • Quadrant 3 wins: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
  • Quadrant 4 wins: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET

Note: Most statistical data is used from The NET rankings (NCAA Evaluation Tool) also are a reference point. 

About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his ninth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past eight March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.

About our college basketball reporter: Scott Gleeson has covered men's college basketball for USA TODAY since 2012, contributing to bracketology and running Bubble Tracker before tackling everything March Madness following Selection Sunday. He correctly forecasted Virginia would win the national championship in 2019 before the season began and also picked Loyola-Chicago as a Cinderella mid-major in 2018. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.