Kentucky holds top spot in 2015 Preseason Bracket

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Fresh off a national title game appearance, the Kentucky Wildcats hold the top spot in our 2015 Preseason Bracket – hardly a surprise given the team’s returning talent and stellar recruiting class.  If all goes according to the UK’s plan, the Wildcats path to the Final Four would likely go through Louisville and Cleveland in the Midwest Region.

Keeping the top spot won’t be easy.  Wisconsin, Arizona, and Duke will push the Wildcats as projected No. 1 seeds.  Next in line: Kansas.  The Jayhawks have a habit of winning Big 12 titles and putting themselves in the top-line discussion.  Some believe Gonzaga has the horses, too.   And the Atlantic Coast Conference appears as deep as the once-mighty Big East – which opens the door for more than one ACC representative atop the bracket.

But let’s also remember this … we’re currently working off of blueprints and expected returns.  The actual college basketball season is more like the stock market.  Teams will have ups and downs.  Some teams will outperform expectations. Some will underperform.  There will be a surprise or two, and that’s we love it.

What we do know is that come March, 68 teams will begin an amazing journey toward Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. In 2010, that venue delivered an incredible championship game between Butler and Duke, as Gordon Hayward’s half-court heave bounced off the rim as time expired.  Let’s hope we’re treated to an equally good classic this go-around.

UPDATED: November 14, 2014 | PRESEASON PROJECTION

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

Several new bracketing principles were introduced last year. You can read them for yourself here. 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)

  • Xavier vs. Colorado State | Midwest Region
  • Boise State vs. LSU | West Region
  • ST. FRANCIS-BROOKLYN vs. WEBER ST | East Region
  • STONY BROOK vs. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Cleveland SOUTH Houston                       
Louisville Louisville
1) KENTUCKY 1) WISCONSIN
16) STONY BROOK / UAPB 16) COASTAL CAROLINA
8) Dayton 8) UCLA
9) BYU 9) Arkansas
Jacksonville Portland
5) Michigan State 5) Utah
12) Xavier / Colorado State 12) LOUISIANA TECH
4) Iowa State 4) SAN DIEGO STATE
13) GEORGIA STATE 13) IONA
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
6) SMU 6) Michigan
11) Northern Iowa 11) Georgia
3) VILLANOVA 3) Virginia
14) WOFFORD 14) S.F. AUSTIN
Charlotte Omaha
7) Ohio State 7) Syracuse
10) George Washington 10) Minnesota
2) North Carolina 2) KANSAS
15) NORTHEASTERN 15) FGCU
EAST – Syracuse WEST – Los Angeles
Charlotte Portland
1) DUKE 1) ARIZONA
16) ST. FRANCIS / WEBER ST 16) ORAL ROBERTS
8) Illinois 8) Iowa
9) HARVARD 9) Pittsburgh
Columbus Seattle
5) Kansas State 5) Oklahoma
12) TOLEDO 12) Boise State / LSU
4) CONNECTICUT 4) GONZAGA
13) MURRAY STATE 13) UC IRVINE
Jacksonville Seattle
6) VCU 6) Colorado
11) Miami-FL 11) Memphis
3) Florida 3) WICHITA STATE
14) CLEVELAND STATE 14) NEW MEXICO STATE
Omaha Columbus
7) Stanford 7) Nebraska
10) Florida State 10) Georgetown
2) Texas 2) Louisville
15) AMERICAN 15) NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Wisconsin, Arizona, and Duke.

Last Five teams in (at large): Memphis, Xavier, Boise State, LSU, Colorado State

First Five teams out (at large): Maryland, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, St. John’s, Baylor

Next five teams out (at large): NC State, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Massachusetts, UTEP

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Miami-FL

Big Ten (8): Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas State

Pac-12 (5): Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Stanford, UCLA

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU

Big East (3): Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier

American (3): Connecticut, SMU, Memphis

Atlantic 10 (3): VCU, Dayton, George Washington

Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Boise State, Colorado State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa