Bracketology: Final predictions are in and Syracuse, Illinois State won’t be happy

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It’s almost time to being the Madness.  Here’s one final look at our projected NCAA Tournament Bracket.

UPDATED: March 12, 2017 | 4:30 p.m. (ET)

Note: Teams in ALL CAPS will represent automatic bids as they are earned.

Regarding bracketing principles, can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Wake Forest vs. USC | South Region
  • Providence vs. Kansas State | East Region
  • UC DAVIS vs. Texas State | Midwest Region
  • NEW ORLEANS vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) Kansas
16) NC CENTRAL / MT ST. MARY’S 16) UC-DAVIS / NEW ORLEANS
8) Miami 8) South Carolina
9) Dayton 9) VCU
Orlando Milwaukee
5) IOWA STATE 5) Virginia
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) VERMONT
4) Florida 4) Butler
13) EAST TENNESSEE ST 13) PRINCETON
Indianapolis Sacramento
6) Wisconsin 6) SMU
11) Kansas St / Providence 11) MID TENNESSEE ST
3) Louisville 3) UCLA
14) IONA 14) NEW MEXICO ST
Sacramento Greenville
7) Saint Mary’s 7) Maryland
10) Michigan State 10) Marquette
2) Oregon 2) DUKE
15) TEXAS-SOUTHERN 15) JACKSONVILLE ST
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) North Carolina
16) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 16) TROY
8) Northwestern 8) Arkansas
9) Oklahoma State 9) Seton Hall
Milwaukee Buffalo
5) Cincinnati 5) Purdue
12) NEVADA 12) Wake Forest / USC
4) Notre Dame 4) West Virginia
13) WINTHROP 13) BUCKNELL
Tulsa Orlando
6) Michigan 6) Minnesota
11) Xavier 11) RHODE ISLAND
3) Baylor 3) Florida State
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) KENT STATE
Salt Lake City Indianapolis
7) Virginia Tech 7) Creighton
10) Vanderbilt 10) WICHITA STATE
2) ARIZONA 2) KENTUCKY
15) NORTH DAKOTA 15) NORTHERN KENTUCKY

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Marquette, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Xavier

Last Four IN (at large): Providence, Kansas State, Wake Forest, USC

First Four OUT (at large): Illinois State, Syracuse, California, Iowa

Next four teams OUT (at large): Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, Alabama

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): DUKE, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Wake Forest

Big 10 (7): Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan State

Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Seton Hall, Marquette, Xavier, Providence

Big 12 (6): IOWA STATE, Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

SEC (5): KENTUCKY, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt

Pac 12 (4): ARIZONA, Oregon, UCLA, USC

Atlantic 10 (2): RHODE ISLAND, Dayton, VCU

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): WICHITA STATE

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: IONA (MAAC), MIDDLE TENNESSE STATE (C-USA), TROY (SBELT), PRINCETON (IVY), NORTH DAKOTA (BSKY), NORTHERN KENTUCKY (HORIZON), NEW OLEANS (SLND), EAST TENNESSEE STATE (STHN), UC-DAVIS (BWEST), KENT STATE (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (ASUN), JACKSONVILLE STATE (OVC), UNC-WILMINGTON (CAA), WINTHROP (BSO), NC-CENTRAL (MEAC), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (SUM), NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC), VERMONT(AEAST), BUCKNELL (PAT), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), TEXAS-SOUTHERN (SWAC)

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.