Editor’s note: For years, our very own Andy Bottoms has been projecting the NCAA Tournament bracket.
Below is Andy’s latest set of projections for 2017. Expect regular updates between now and Selection Sunday.
Despite losses by Gonzaga and North Carolina, the one seeds remain unchanged from a week ago, but the gap has certainly narrowed between those two teams and the group waiting in the wings.
For the Zags, a loss in the WCC Tournament to anyone other than Saint Mary’s would almost surely push them onto the two line, while a loss to the Gaels in the Finals could have the same result depending on how other teams fare. CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander and I discussed Gonzaga’s tournament outlook on this week’s episode of the Bracketology.FM podcast.
North Carolina can tighten its grip on a one seed by beating Duke at home on Saturday, at which point they would only need to avoid an early-round upset in the ACC Tournament.
Some quick thoughts on others in the mix for a top seed:
- Oregon – The Ducks have a winnable game left at Oregon State, and a run to the Pac-12 Tournament Title would entail wins over Arizona and/or UCLA, making their case very compelling.
- Louisville – If the Cardinals can win at Wake and then knock off Notre Dame at home, they give themselves a chance to grab a one seed with a deep ACC Tournament run and a few other breaks.
- Baylor – Despite their recent struggles, the Bears still boast nine Top 50 wins and 14 Top 100 wins. They probably need to win the Big 12 Tournament, but that’s not out of the question.
- UCLA – I don’t expect the Bruins to struggle with the Washington schools at home, and a Pac-12 Tournament Championship with wins over Oregon and Arizona could push them to the one line.
- Florida State – This one is a long shot, but the Noles already have nine Top 50 wins with games left at Duke and home against Miami. Win those and then run the table in the ACC Tournament, and things get interesting.
- Kentucky – Unfortunately for UK, there aren’t many SEC wins that can truly move the needle, but if the Wildcats win out, I suppose it’s possible.
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Here are my projections through the games from February 27.
I’ve also listed my last four in and first five out as usual, but my thoughts on those teams can all be found within the latest edition of Bracket Watch.
|EAST (NEW YORK)||MIDWEST (KANSAS CITY)|
|Buffalo – March 16/18||Tulsa – March 17/19|
|1) Villanova||1) Kansas|
|16) NC Central / UC-Irvine||16) Mount St. Mary’s / New Orleans|
|8) South Carolina
||8) Miami (FL)|
|9) Michigan St.||9) Northwestern|
|Buffalo – March 16/18||Orlando – March 16/18|
|5) Notre Dame
|12) Illinois St. / Vanderbilt||12) UT-Arlington
|4) West Virginia||4) Florida|
|13) Monmouth||13) Princeton|
|Salt Lake City – March 16/18||Sacramento – March 17/19|
|6) Iowa St.||6) SMU|
|11) Syracuse||11) Middle Tennessee|
|3) Arizona||3) UCLA|
|14) Akron||14) Bucknell|
|Indianapolis – March 17/19||Orlando – March 16/18|
|7) Maryland||7) Wisconsin|
|10) Wichita St.||10) Providence|
|2) Louisville||2) Florida St.|
||15) UNC Greensboro|
|SOUTH (MEMPHIS)||WEST (SAN JOSE)|
|Greenville – March 17/19||Salt Lake City – March 16/18|
|1) North Carolina||1) Gonzaga|
|16) Texas Southern||16) North Dakota|
|8) Dayton||8) Michigan|
|9) Arkansas||9) Xavier|
|Milwaukee – March 16/18||Greenville – March 17/19|
|5) Cincinnati||5) Minnesota|
|12) UNC-Wilmington||12) Nevada|
|4) Virginia||4) Duke|
|13) Vermont||13) Belmont|
|Indianapolis – March 17/19||Milwaukee – March 16/18|
|6) Oklahoma St.||6) Saint Mary’s|
|11) Rhode Island / Seton Hall
|3) Kentucky||3) Butler|
|14) UNC-Asheville||14) Florida Gulf Coast|
|Tulsa – March 17/19||Sacramento – March 17/19|
|7) Creighton||7) Virginia Tech|
|10) VCU||10) Marquette|
|2) Baylor||2) Oregon|
|15) South Dakota||15) Cal St. Bakersfield|
Note: I broke down the bubble teams in more detail in this week’s Bracket Watch.
Last Four In
First Five Out
Here is how the bids broke down by conference:
ACC (9): Duke, Florida State, Louisville, Miami (FL), North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Big East (7): Butler, Creighton, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Xavier
Big Ten (7): Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
Big 12 (5): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State, West Virginia
SEC (5): Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
Pac-12 (4): Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, USC
Atlantic 10 (3): Dayton, Rhode Island, VCU
American (2): Cincinnati, SMU
Missouri Valley (2): Illinois State, Wichita State
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
America East: Vermont
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast
Big Sky: North Dakota
Big South: UNC-Asheville
Big West: UC-Irvine
Conference USA: Middle Tennessee
MEAC: NC Central
Mountain West: Nevada
Northeast: Mount St. Mary’s
Ohio Valley: Belmont
Southern: UNC Greensboro
Southland: New Orleans
Summit: South Dakota
Sun Belt: UT-Arlington
SWAC: Texas Southern
WAC: Cal State Bakersfield
Follow Andy on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops and to receive an update whenever new brackets are posted.