Race on for No. 1 seeds in latest NCAA tournament projection

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Two weeks from Selection Sunday and only two of four No. 1 seeds appear to be locked in place: Kentucky and Syracuse.  Six teams are wrangling for those final two spots – most likely in the Midwest and West Regions.  While the South Region appears to be a more natural fit for Kentucky, it’s possible the Wildcats could be routed through St. Louis, which is a few miles closer to Lexington than Atlanta.  With Kansas and Missouri among the teams in contention for that region, however, it seems more plausible that UK will feed through the South.  Just something to keep in mind.

source: AP

Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, and Ohio State join KU and Mizzou as potential No. 1 seeds.  Both Duke and North Carolina and Michigan State and Ohio State play each other again in the regular season.  We could easily see a third matchup in the ACC and Big Ten conference tournaments.  So the race is far from over.  Conference championships (regular season and/or conference tourney) will likely prove decisive.

In today’s bracket, Michigan State (Midwest) and Kansas (West) grab the final No. 1 seed positions.  A quick note of explanation: Duke beat both the Spartans and Jayhawks on neutral courts in November.  Those are important victories that could ultimately work in the Blue Devils’ favor.  As of this bracket, however, Michigan State and Kansas have outright leads in their respective conferences.  That’s why MSU and KU have been slotted just ahead of Duke on the s-curve.  Safe to say, we have a lot of basketball left.   For those wondering, spots 5-8 on the s-curve are listed like this: Duke, Missouri, Ohio State, North Carolina.

Today’s update also features a unique situation in the First Four.  Dayton is among those teams – slotted against Texas in an opening round game.  There is no bracketing provision that excludes Dayton from playing on its home floor if the Flyers are indeed a First Four participant.  This was covered by the NCAA during the Mock Selection exercise in Indianapolis.  The winner of the Dayton-Texas game heads to Nashville for a matchup with Louisville.  The other at-large First Four game is Colorado State and Arizona.  That winner heads to Portland to battle Wisconsin.  As a point of reference, the Selection Committee will try to route one at-large matchup winner to a Thursday/Saturday site and one to a Friday/Sunday site.  One of the at-large games will be played Tuesday and one Wednesday.

Enjoy a great weekend of hoops.

BRACKET UPDATE: Saturday, February 25 | 9 a.m. (ET)

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Dayton (17-10) vs. Texas (17-11) | Midwest Region
  • Colorado State (16-9) vs. Arizona (20-9) | South Region
  • MISS VALLEY ST (16-11) vs. SAVANNAH ST (16-10) | South Region
  • STONY BROOK (17-8) vs. UNC-ASHEVILLE (19-6) | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTBoston SOUTHAtlanta                                    
Pittsburgh Louisville
1) SYRACUSE (28-1) 1) KENTUCKY (27-1)
16) UNC-ASHEVILLE / STONY BROOK 16) MS VALLEY ST / SAVANNAH ST
8) Virginia (21-6) 8) St. Louis (21-5)
9) HARVARD (22-3) 9) Connecticut (17-10)
Portland Portland
5) Indiana (21-7) 5) Wisconsin (19-8)
12) BYU (21-7) 12) Arizona / Colorado State
4) TEMPLE (22-5) 4) Notre Dame (20-8)
13) MID TENNESSEE ST (22-4) 13) ORAL ROBERTS (25-5)
Albuquerque Nashville
6) Creighton (24-5) 6) NEW MEXICO (21-5)
11) Washington (19-8) 11) Southern Mississippi (20-6)
3) Baylor (22-5) 3) Georgetown (19-6)
14) NEVADA (20-5) 14) DREXEL (24-5)
Pittsburgh Greensboro
7) MURRAY STATE (24-1) 7) Kansas State (19-8)
10) Seton Hall (19-9) 10) Mississippi State (19-9)
2) Ohio State (23-5) 2) North Carolina (24-4)
15) BUCKNELL (20-8) 15) BELMONT (22-7)
MIDWEST – St. Louis WEST – Phoenix
Columbus Omaha
1) MICHIGAN STATE (22-5) 1) KANSAS (23-5)
16) LONG ISLAND (22-7) 16) UT-ARLINGTON (20-6)
8) ST. MARY’S (22-5) 8) Purdue (18-10)
9) CALIFORNIA (23-6) 9) Cincinnati (20-8)
Nashville Albuquerque
5) Louisville (21-7) 5) UNLV (21-6)
12) Dayton / Texas 12) Xavier (17-10)
4) Florida (22-6) 4) WICHITA STATE (24-4)
13) IONA (23-6) 13) LONG BEACH (18-7)
Louisville Columbus
6) Florida State (19-8) 6) Vanderbilt (19-8)
11) Alabama (18-9) 11) West Virginia (17-12)
3) Marquette (23-5) 3) Michigan (20-7)
14) AKRON (20-5) 14) DAVIDSON (20-7)
Omaha Greensboro
7) San Diego State (19-6) 7) Gonzaga (22-5)
10) MEMPHIS (20-8) 10) Iowa State (20-8)
2) Missouri (25-3) 2) DUKE (24-4)
15) WEBER STATE (21-4) 15) VALPARAISO (18-10)

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Syracuse, Michigan State, and Kansas. Next in line are Duke, Missouri, Ohio State, and North Carolina.

Last Five teams in (at large): Xavier, Dayton, Colorado State, Texas, Arizona

First Five teams out (at large): Northwestern, NC State, Miami-FL, Oregon, LSU

Next Five teams out (at large): South Florida, VCU, UCF, St. Joe’s, Massachusetts

Bracket adjustments: Several one-line adjustments were made to accommodate bracket principles and procedures.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (9): Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, Connecticut, Marquette, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Seton Hall

Big Ten (6): Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue

Big 12 (6): Baylor, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Alabama

ACC (4): North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Florida State

Atlantic 10 (4): Xavier, St. Louis, Temple, Dayton

Mountain West (4): UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico, Colorado State

West Coast (3): Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, BYU

Pac 12 (3): Washingon, California, Arizona

Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Mississippi

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

Conference leaders/champions … Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt), Valparaiso (Horizon), Akron (MAC), Drexel (CAA), Nevada (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Iona (MAAC), Weber State (Big Sky), Davidson (Southern), Oral Roberts (Summit), Long Beach State (Big West), Long Island (NEC), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Harvard (Ivy), NC-Asheville (Big South), Savannah State (MEAC), Bucknell (Patriot), Stony Brook (America East), UT-Arlington(Southland), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC)