Latest NCAA tournament projection: UNC’s now a 1 seed

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With a little help from Ohio State Sunday afternoon in East Lansing, North Carolina grabs the final No. 1 seed in our latest bracket projection. We’re one week from Selection Sunday. Kentucky continues to own the No. 1 overall seed and stays in the South. Syracuse (East) and Kansas (Midwest) hold the other two positions.

Ohio State, Michigan State, and Duke are still alive in the No. 1 seed chase. Missouri would need a little more help. Those four are your two-seeds heading into conference tournament play, and it’s somewhat unlikely to change unless Marquette were to win the Big East championship.

What can be said about the bubble that hasn’t already been noted? Teams being considered for the final at-large spots all have significant flaws. Hopefully, conference tournament play will help sort a few of those issues out. When teams are broken down, there is a fair amout of subjectivity involved. What is most important to each voting member of the Selection Committee? That’s a question only those folks in the room know for sure.

One addition to our Last 5 IN is Tennessee. Yes, the Volunteers are just 17-13 (vs. D-I teams), but they did claim the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament. It’s also worth noting that Tennessee is 10-5 with freshman Jarnell Stokes, who joined the team in early January.  He is averaging 9.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in those 15 contests and Tennessee is a different team with him in the lineup.  Losses to Oakland, Charleston, and Austin Peay occurred before he arrived.  It will be interesting to see how the Committee handles that information.  Given Tennessee’s two wins over Florida, and victories over Vanderbilt, Connecticut, and Mississippi, UT slides into the First Four.  They likely need a couple of wins in New Orleans to hold their spot – depending on what happens around them.

Here’s our latest bracket update … regular updates ahead as we move through Championship Week.

One note: As automatic bids are now being awarded, teams listed in CAPS will signify teams that have actually clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, rather than the projected champion.  Exceptions are made for teams that normally uses abbreviations (UNLV, BYU, etc). The highest seed remaining in a conference tournament is used as the projected champion if the bid has not been determined.

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)

  • Tennessee (17-13) vs. St. Joseph’s (19-12) | Midwest Region
  • Xavier (19-11) vs. Seton Hall (19-11) | South Region
  • Miss Valley State (18-12) vs. Savannah State (18-10) | South Region
  • Stony Brook (21-8) vs. UNC-ASHEVILLE (21-9) | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTBoston SOUTHAtlanta                                
Pittsburgh Louisville
1) Syracuse (30-1) 1) Kentucky (30-1)
16) UNC-ASHEVILLE / Stony Brook 16) Ms Valley St / Savannah St
8) Iowa State (22-9) 8) Cincinnati (22-9)
9) Virginia (22-7) 9) Memphis (23-8)
Portland Nashville
5) Vanderbilt (20-10) 5) Florida State (21-9)
12) VCU (27-6) 12) Seton Hall / Xavier
4) Temple (24-6) 4) MURRAY STATE (27-1)
13) Long Beach (20-8) 13) Drexel (26-5)
Nashville Columbus
6) New Mexico (23-6) 6) San Diego State (22-6)
11) California (23-8) 11) Mississippi State (21-10)
3) Indiana (23-7) 3) Michigan (22-8)
14) Davidson (23-7) 14) Loyola-MD (23-8)
Greensboro Omaha
7) Notre Dame (21-10) 7) Gonzaga (25-5)
10) Harvard (23-4) 10) Connecticut (18-12)
2) Duke (26-5) 2) Missouri (27-4)
15) Bucknell (23-8) 15) Montana (21-6)
MIDWEST – St. Louis WEST – Phoenix
Omaha Greensboro
1) Kansas (26-5) 1) North Carolina (27-4)
16) UT-Arlington (22-7) 16) Long Island (24-8)
8) St. Mary’s (24-5) 8) Purdue (20-11)
9) Alabama (20-10) 9) West Virginia (19-12)
Portland Albuquerque
5) Wichita State (25-5) 5) UNLV (23-7)
12) Tennessee / St. Joseph’s 12) BYU (23-8)
4) Wisconsin (22-8) 4) Georgetown (21-7)
13) Nevada (23-5) 13) Oral Roberts (27-5)
Louisville Albuquerque
6) Florida (22-9) 6) CREIGHTON (26-5)
11) Colorado State (18-10) 11) Washington (21-9)
3) Marquette (25-6) 3) Baylor (24-6)
14) Akron (20-10) 14) Denver (22-8)
Pittsburgh Columbus
7) Kansas State (21-9) 7) Louisville (22-9)
10) Southern Mississippi (22-7) 10) St. Louis (23-6)
2) Ohio State (25-6) 2) Michigan State (23-7)
15) BELMONT (26-7) 15) Valparaiso (20-10)

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

Last Five teams in (at large): VCU, Seton Hall, Xavier, Tennessee, St. Joseph’s

First Five teams out (at large): Dayton, South Florida, Texas, Northwestern, NC State

Also considered: Miami (Fla), Iona, Oregon, Middle Tennessee State, Central Florida

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

SEC (6): Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Tennessee

Big 12 (5): Baylor, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State

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

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

Atlantic 10 (4): Xavier, St. Louis, Temple, St. Joseph’s

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

Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Mississippi

Pac 12 (2): Washingon, California

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

Conference leaders/champions … Denver (Sun Belt), Valparaiso (Horizon), Akron (MAC), Drexel (CAA), Nevada (WAC), MURRAY STATE (OVC), Loyola-MD (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)