Dave Ommen

Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics

Arizona, Duke headline preseason bracket

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We have to start somewhere, so why not at the top?

That’s where you’ll find Arizona and Duke – the top two overall seeds in our preseason bracket.  Next in line: Michigan State and Kansas.  Most likely, these names aren’t surprising.

Each has the talent, coaching, and cache to reach the Final Four.

The more difficult part of any preseason bracket is sorting through a bunch of teams that have as many questions as answers.

At this point, we have no results, no wins or losses, no on-the-court data points.

Which leaves us with less reliable methods, such as speculation, expectation, and even some good ole’ fashioned guesswork.

Thankfully, today’s bracket is merely a starting point, nothing more, nothing less.

After a rather tumultuous offseason, the good news is this: a new college basketball season is upon us.  Here’s to another exciting season on the court.

CONTENDER SERIES: Kentucky | Kansas | Arizona | Michigan State | Duke
Big Ten Preview | ACC Preview | Big 12 Preview | Pac 12 Preview | SEC Preview

PRESEASON BRACKET

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • St. Bonaventure vs. Oklahoma | Midwest Region
  • Connecticut vs. Stanford East Region
  • IDAHO vs. TX-SOUTHERN | Midwest Region
  • ST. FRANCIS (PA) vs. MORGAN STATE | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

WEST Los Angeles  SOUTH – Atlanta                        
San Diego Charlotte
1) ARIZONA 1) DUKE
16) UC-IRVINE 16) MORGAN ST/ ST. FRANCIS
8) TCU 8) Maryland
9) Iowa 9) Texas
Boise Wichita
5) GONZAGA 5) UCLA
12) MID TENNESSEE ST 12) MISSOURI STATE
4) Notre Dame 4) Minnesota
13) WESTERN MICHIGAN 13) VERMONT
Charlotte Detroit
6) Alabama 6) Northwestern
11) NEVADA 11) Virginia Tech
3) Miami-FL 3) Cincinnati
14) FL GULF COAST 14) IONA
Dallas Nashville
7) Baylor 7) Providence
10) Creighton 10) Michigan
2) WICHITA STATE 2) KENTUCKY
15) SO DAKOTA ST 15) MURRAY STATE
MIDWEST – Omaha EAST – Boston
Wichita Detroit
1) KANSAS 1) MICHIGAN STATE
16) IDAHO / TX-SOUTHERN 16) NORTHWESTERN ST
8) Missouri 8) Virginia
9) Wisconsin 9) Arkansas
Boise Dallas
5) Purdue 5) Xavier
12) OAKLAND 12) CHARLESTON
4) Louisville 4) West Virginia
13) BUCKNELL 13) HARVARD
Pittsburgh Nashville
6) Seton Hall 6) Texas A&M
11) St. Bonaventure / Oklahoma 11) Connecticut / Stanford
3) Florida 3) North Carolina
14) FURMAN 14) GA SOUTHERN
San Diego Pittsburgh
7) Saint Mary’s 7) RHODE ISLAND
10) UCF 10) Oregon
2) USC 2) VILLANOVA
15) Grand Canyon 15) NC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Arizona is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Duke, Michigan State, and Kansas.

Last Four Byes (at large): Oregon, UCF, Michigan, Virginia Tech

Last Four IN (at large): Oklahoma, Stanford, Connecticut, St. Bonaventure

First Four OUT (at large): Butler, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, VCU

Next four teams OUT (at large): St. John’s, Florida State, SMU, Saint Joseph’s

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan

ACC (7): DUKE, Miami-FL, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech

SEC (6): KENTUCKY, Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas

BIG 12 (6): KANSAS, West Virginia, Baylor, TCU, Texas, Oklahoma

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Creighton

Pac 12 (5): ARIZONA, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford

American (4): WICHITA STATE, Cincinnati, UCF, Connecticut

Atlantic 10 (2): RHODE ISLAND, St. Bonaventure

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Missouri State (MVC) Iona (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), Georgia Southern (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Idaho (BSKY), Oakland (HORIZON), Northwestern State (SLND), Furman (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Western Michigan (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), Charleston (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Morgan State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), Grand Canyon (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), St. Francis, PA (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

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)

Bracketology: Villanova leads Field of 68

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Selection Sunday is here. Tonight, the Selection Committee will reveal its 2017 NCAA tournament bracket.  While there will be a healthy debate about whether Duke’s late-season run should vault them onto the No. 1 seed line, what we do know – or at least believe – is that reigning champ Villanova will be the No. 1 overall seed.

For now, North Carolina remains the top seed in the South Region.  It may change this afternoon.  Either way, your top line figures to end up with Villanova (East), Kansas (Midwest), North Carolina/Duke (South), Gonzaga (West).

With league favorites winning most of their conference tournaments, potential bid thieves have largely been eliminated.  The biggest bubble debate figures to be centered around Syracuse.  Will the Orange’s high quality wins outweigh its losses, record-high RPI, and poor record away from the Carrier Dome?  That’s something we won’t know for sure until tonight.

UPDATED: March 12, 2017 | Morning Update

Note: Teams in ALL CAPS 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
  • Rhode Island vs. Kansas State | Midwest 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 / N ORLEANS 16) UC-DAVIS / Texas State
8) Miami 8) South Carolina
9) Dayton 9) Marquette
Orlando Milwaukee
5) IOWA STATE 5) Virginia
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) Kansas State / Rhode Island
4) Florida 4) Butler
13) EAST TENNESSEE ST 13) Princeton
Indianapolis Sacramento
6) Wisconsin 6) Creighton
11) Xavier 11) MID TENNESSEE ST
3) Louisville 3) UCLA
14) IONA 14) NEW MEXICO ST
Sacramento Greenville
7) Saint Mary’s 7) Michigan
10) Michigan State 10) Vanderbilt
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) MOUNT ST. MARY’S
8) Northwestern 8) Arkansas
9) Oklahoma State 9) Seton Hall
Milwaukee Buffalo
5) Cincinnati 5) Purdue
12) NEVADA 12) VERMONT
4) Notre Dame 4) West Virginia
13) WINTHROP 13) BUCKNELL
Orlando Tulsa
6) SMU 6) Minnesota
11) Providence 11) Wake Forest / USC
3) Florida State 3) Baylor
14) KENT STATE 14) FLA GULF COAST
Salt Lake City Indianapolis
7) Maryland 7) Virginia Tech
10) WICHITA STATE 10) VCU
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): VCU, Michigan State, Xavier, Providence

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

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): VCU, Dayton, Rhode Island

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), Texas State (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)

Bracketology: Duke looking dangerous

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As the final seconds ticked away in Brooklyn, Duke celebrated its ACC tournament victory over rival North Carolina. With it, the Blue Devils may also have secured a spot as the No. 2 seed in the East Region behind Villanova.  One thing’s for sure, Duke looks dangerous.  In the Pac-12, Arizona and Oregon are fighting for the No. 2 seed out West.

Vanderbilt continues its push with a third victory over Florida.  Elsewhere on the bubble, teams like Kansas State, Wake Forest, USC, and Illinois State sit and watch.  Keep an eye on what unfolds today in the Atlantic 10, particularly.

UPDATED: March 11, 2017

Note: Now that conference tournaments have begun, 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)

  • Kansas State vs. USC | Midwest Region
  • Wake Forest vs. Illinois State | South Region
  • SOUTH DAKOTA ST vs. New Orleans | Midwest Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. NC Central | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City
Buffalo Tulsa
1) Villanova 1) Kansas
16) MT. ST. MARY’S / NC Central 16) SO DAKOTA ST / New Orleans
8) Miami 8) Arkansas
9) Dayton 9) Marquette
Orlando Buffalo
5) Minnesota 5) Virginia
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) UT-Arlington
4) Florida 4) Butler
13) Vermont 13) Princeton
Sacramento Indianapolis
6) Iowa State 6) Wisconsin
11) Providence 11) Kansas State / USC
3) UCLA 3) Louisville
14) IONA 14) Akron
Greenville Salt Lake City
7) Maryland 7) Saint Mary’s
10) Vanderbilt 10) VCU
2) Duke 2) Arizona
15) Texas-Southern 15) UC-Irvine
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) North Carolina
16) North Dakota 16) JACKSONVILLE STATE
8) South Carolina 8) Northwestern
9) Seton Hall 9) Oklahoma State
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) West Virginia 5) Cincinnati
12) Nevada 12) Wake Forest / Illinois State
4) Notre Dame 4) Purdue
13) BUCKNELL 13) EAST TENNESSEE ST
Orlando Tulsa
6) SMU 6) Creighton
11) Xavier 11) Mid Tennessee State
3) Florida State 3) Baylor
14) WINTHROP 14) FLA GULF COAST
Sacramento Indianapolis
7) Virginia Tech 7) Michigan
10) Michigan State 10) WICHITA STATE
2) Oregon 2) Kentucky
15) CSU-Bakersfield 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): VCU, Michigan State, Xavier, Providence

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

First Four OUT (at large): Rhode Island, Syracuse, California, Iowa

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

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Wake Forest

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

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

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

SEC (5): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt

Pac 12 (4): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC

Atlantic 10 (2): DAYTON, VCU

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): WICHITA STATE, Illinois State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: IONA (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), NORTHERN KENTUCKY (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), EAST TENNESSEE STATE (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (ASUN), JACKSONVILLE STATE (OVC), UNC-WILMINGTON (CAA), WINTHROP (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), BUCKNELL (PAT), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: Villanova reclaims overall No. 1 seed

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With two days until Selection Sunday, the reigning national champions are back atop the bracket.  Villanova eased through a victory on Thursday while Kansas fell to TCU.  North Carolina retains its spot in the South, but could push past Kansas on the final seed list by beating Duke tonight.  Gonzaga remains No. 1 in the West Region.

UPDATED:  March 10, 2017

Note: Teams in ALL CAPS (other than abbreviated teams) 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)

  • Illinois State vs. Kansas State | Midwest Region
  • USC vs. Wake Forest South Region
  • SOUTH DAKOTA ST vs. New Orleans | Midwest Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. NC Central | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST – New York MIDWEST Kansas City
Buffalo Tulsa
1) Villanova 1) Kansas
16) MT. ST. MARY’S / NC Central 16)  SO DAKOTA ST / New Orleans
8) Miami 8) Michigan
9) Oklahoma State 9) Seton Hall
Orlando Buffalo
5) Minnesota 5) Virginia
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) UT-Arlington
4) Florida 4) Butler
13) Princeton 13) Vermont
Salt Lake City Indianapolis
6) Iowa State 6) Wisconsin
11) Mid Tennessee St 11) Kansas State / Illinois State
3) Arizona 3) Louisville
14) IONA 14) Akron
Greenville Sacramento
7) Creighton 7) Saint Mary’s
10) VCU 10) WICHITA STATE
2) Duke 2) UCLA
15) Texas-Southern 15) UC-Irvine
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) North Carolina
16) North Dakota 16) JACKSONVILLE STATE
8) Arkansas 8) Dayton
9) Northwestern 9) Marquette
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) West Virginia 5) Cincinnati
12) Nevada 12) Wake Forest / USC
4) Notre Dame 4) Purdue
13) BUCKNELL 13) EAST TENNESSEE ST
Orlando Tulsa
6) SMU 6) Maryland
11) Vanderbilt 11) Xavier
3) Florida State 3) Baylor
14) WINTHROP 14) FLA GULF COAST
Sacramento Indianapolis
7) South Carolina 7) Virginia Tech
10) Michigan State 10) Providence
2) Oregon 2) Kentucky
15) CSU-Bakersfield 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): VCU, Providence, Xavier, Vanderbilt

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

First Four OUT (at large): Syracuse, Rhode Island, California, Georgia

Next four teams OUT (at large): Indiana, Iowa, Houston, Illinois

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Wake Forest

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

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

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

SEC (5): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt

Pac 12 (4): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC

Atlantic 10 (2): DAYTON, VCU

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): WICHITA STATE, Illinois State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: IONA (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), NORTHERN KENTUCKY (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), EAST TENNESSEE STATE (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (ASUN), JACKSONVILLE STATE (OVC), UNC-WILMINGTON (CAA), WINTHROP (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), BUCKNELL (PAT), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: UNC looks to lock up No. 1 Seed

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North Carolina takes to the court in Brooklyn with its eye on the No. 1 seed in the South Region.  As we advance on Selection Sunday, Kansas and Villanova look like locks for the top line, and Gonzaga did what it had to do by winning the West Coast Conference tournament.

Elsewhere, the waiting begins for Syracuse and Wake Forest, who exited the ACC tournament yesterday.  The Orange, in particular, have taken us into unchartered territory in terms of at-large selection.  They may yet end up in the final bracket, but it could well depend upon what happens today and Friday.

UPDATED:  March 9, 2017

Note: Now that conference tournaments have begun, 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)

  • Illinois State vs. Wake Forest | South Region
  • Kansas State vs. Xavier Midwest Region
  • SOUTH DAKOTA ST vs. New Orleans | Midwest Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. NC Central | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Kansas City EAST New York                              
Tulsa Buffalo
1) Kansas 1) Villanova
16) SO DAKOTA ST / New Orleans 16)  MT ST. MARY’S / NC Central
8) Michigan 8) Miami
9) Arkansas 9) Northwestern
Milwaukee Orlando
5) Notre Dame 5) West Virginia
12) UT-Arlington 12) UNC-WILMINGTON
4) Butler 4) Florida
13) Princeton 13) Vermont
Greenville Salt Lake City
6) Wisconsin 6) Iowa State
11) Kansas State / Xavier 11) Vanderbilt
3) Duke 3) Arizona
14) Akron 14) IONA
Sacramento Indianapolis
7) Saint Mary’s 7) Creighton
10) WICHITA STATE 10) VCU
2) UCLA 2) Louisville
15) UC-Irvine 15) NORTHERN KENTUCKY
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) North Carolina
16) North Dakota 16) JACKSONVILLE STATE
8) South Carolina 8) Dayton
9) Michigan State 9) Marquette
Buffalo Milwaukee
5) Minnesota 5) Cincinnati
12) Nevada 12) Wake Forest / Illinois State
4) Virginia 4) Purdue
13) BUCKNELL 13) EAST TENNESSEE ST
Orlando Tulsa
6) SMU 6) Maryland
11) Mid Tennessee State 11) USC
3) Florida State 3) Baylor
14) WINTHROP 14) FLA GULF COAST
Sacramento Indianapolis
7) Oklahoma State 7) Virginia Tech
10) Seton Hall 10) Providence
2) Oregon 2) Kentucky
15) CSU-Bakersfield 15) Texas-Southern

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Providence, Seton Hall, USC, Vanderbilt

Last Four IN (at large): Xavier, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Illinois State

First Four OUT (at large): Syracuse, Rhode Island, Iowa, Illinois

Next four teams OUT (at large): California, Houston, Georgia, Ole Miss

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Wake Forest

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

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

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

SEC (5): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt

Pac 12 (4): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC

Atlantic 10 (2): DAYTON, VCU

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): WICHITA STATE, Illinois State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: IONA (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), NORTHERN KENTUCKY (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), EAST TENNESSEE STATE (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (ASUN), JACKSONVILLE STATE (OVC), UNC-WILMINGTON (CAA), WINTHROP (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), BUCKNELL (PAT), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)