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)