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Latest NCAA tourney projections: Duke’s a 1, but who else?

Mar 4, 2013, 10:37 PM EDT

Miami v Duke Getty Images

After another wild weekend of college hoops, one thing is certain.  We can expect the unexpected.  Which should make for an incredible month of March.

Take the top seed line.  Indiana remains in control of its current No. 1 seed position.  The other three spots still have some wiggle room – although based on Ryan Kelly’s return performance Saturday against Miami-FL, the Duke Blue Devils appear headed for yet another top seed on Selection Sunday.  In this update, Gonzaga and Kansas grab the other two No. 1 slots.  Miami, Georgetown, Louisville, New Mexico, Michigan State, and Michigan are close behind.  Remember, there are only four spots on each seed line.  Someone has to be number nine or ten on the seed list (s-curve).  And the order could easily change.  Throughout the bracket, these final two weeks will help decide the starting position for several teams.

The bottom of the bracket is no less uncertain.  This past Saturday, six teams sitting directly on the bubble lost.  So in some ways, not a lot changed.  The newest addition to the bracket is Boise State.  After beating Colorado State, the Broncos resume is tournament worthy with two games to play.  As a side note, Boise is a true 11 seed in the bracket but had to be placed on the 12 line because of various conflicts and bracketing principles.  It’s not uncommon for this to happen.  Many of the teams in the middle of the bracket are tightly bunched and while one or two seed lines may appear to be a big difference, that’s not necessarily true.

The final couple of at-large spots in the Field of 68 could be argued for hours.  That’s why this week’s games and those in conference tournament play may prove more important than ever.  For now, the final at-large spots belong to Iowa State, Villanova, Virginia, and Tennessee.  Those four are paired in the First Four – with winners headed to matchups in the East and West Regions. Kentucky, Baylor, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Arkansas are among the first teams outside the bracket.

Note: The bracket update does not include the Baylor-Texas game on Monday evening.  That game will be factored into our next update. Enjoy the ride to Selection Sunday.

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings. 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)

  • Villanova vs. Tennessee | East Region
  • Iowa State vs. Virginia | West Region
  • NORFOLK STATE vs. SOUTHERN | South Region
  • CHARLESTON SO vs. NORTHEASTERN | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTWashington, DC                         MIDWEST- Indianapolis
Philadelphia Dayton
1) Duke 1) INDIANA
16) MERCER 16) CHARLESTON-SO / NORTHEASTERN
8) Butler 8) NC State
9) MEMPHIS 9) Missouri
Dayton San Jose
5) Ohio State 5) Arizona
12) Villanova / Tennessee 12) AKRON
4) Oklahoma State 4) Syracuse
13) BELMONT 13) DAVIDSON
Auburn Hills Kansas City
6) OREGON 6) UNLV
11) Temple 11) Saint Mary’s
3) Michigan State 3) Kansas State
14) VALPARAISO 14) SF AUSTIN
Lexington Philadelphia
7) Colorado State 7) Minnesota
10) Oklahoma 10) Wichita State
2) Louisville 2) GEORGETOWN
15) NIAGARA 15) PRINCETON
SOUTH – Dallas WEST – Los Angeles
Kansas City Salt Lake
1) KANSAS 1) GONZAGA
16) NORFOLK ST / SOUTHERN 16) LONG BEACH
8) San Diego State 8) North Carolina
9) Cincinnati 9) CREIGHTON
Salt Lake San Jose
5) SAINT LOUIS 5) UCLA
12) MID TENNESSEE ST 12) Boise State
4) Wisconsin 4) Marquette
13) LOUISIANA TECH 13) BUCKNELL
Austin Auburn Hills
6) Notre Dame 6) Pittsburgh
11) La Salle 11) Iowa State / Virginia
3) FLORIDA 3) Michigan
14) MONTANA 14) STONY BROOK
Lexington Austin
7) Illinois 7) VCU
10) Colorado 10) California
2) MIAMI-FL 2) NEW MEXICO
15) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 15) ROBERT MORRIS

NOTES on the BRACKET: Indiana is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Duke, Gonzaga, and Kansas. Next in line are Miami-FL, New Mexico, Georgetown, Louisville.

Last Five teams in (at large): Boise State, Iowa State, Villanova, Virginia, Tennessee

First Five teams out (at large): Kentucky, Baylor, Alabama, Massachusetts, Arkansas

Next Five teams out (at large): Maryland, Mississippi, Iowa, Southern Miss, Arizona State

Breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova

Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois

Mountain West (5): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise State

Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, California

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

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis

ACC (5): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL, Virginia

SEC (3): Missouri, Florida, Tennessee

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s

Conference USA (1): Memphis

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … BELMONT (Ohio Valley), BUCKNELL (Patriot), MIDDLE TENNESSE ST (Sunbelt), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE(Summit), VALPARAISO (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), LOUISIANA TECH (WAC), NIAGARA (MAAC), STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (Southland), AKRON (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), PRINCETON (IVY), LONG BEACH (Big West), NORTHEASTERN (Colonial), STONY BROOK (American East), MONTANA (Big Sky), NORFOLK STATE (MEAC), CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN (Big South), ROBERT MORRIS (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)

  1. imwhitewolf - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Gonzaga a #1 seed? How funny. Their strength of schedule is 74th. They are 1-2 vs Top 25 teams and BOTH of those teams are no longer in the top 25.They play in a conference whose tourney is the week BEFORE the big boys. Let’s end this same arguement we have every year. They move up in the polls because they are playing the likes of San Diego, San Franscisco, Portland and, yes, Lewis and Clark State. Who have Indiana, Michigan, Michigan St, etc. played? Why, each other. At best Gonzaga would be fighting for mid pack status in the Big 10, Big East, ACC, and anyother year, in the SEC. As bad as Gonzaga getting a #1 seed would be is even putting St Marys into the tourney. God alone knows what their SOS is but they are 0-2 against the Top 25 and they’ve lost to Pacific, Northern Iowa, the ACC bottom dwelling Georgia Tech plus their two losses to Gonzaga.
    The top seeds, as of today, should go to IU, Miami, Kansas, with the fourth one up in the air between Duke, Michigan, Louisville, and Florida. Now I’m a diehard Duke fan and getting Ryan Kelly back is awesome but if you watched the game against Miami for the first half at least Miami was slicing them up. Kelly was the only one keeping Duke in the game.

    • guatdajel - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      You are so correct. The BIGGEST PROBLEM is the NCAA Football and Basketball Derbies is the fact that the sports media is incompetent, omni-powerful, and not stoppable. Both football and basketball polls are driven by the sports media. Even if it is coaches voting … they have to use the media stories as a base or the media will bully them in print. There is no recourse to fight the sports media. So forever more, college sports tournaments will be corruptly seated! We actually need a new sports network to control the mainstream networks by outing the incompetent analysts and forcing all pollsters to be on a leaky bucket voting scale. What’s that? The more your top selections get beat the lower the value of your votes until you are banned from voting for 25 years. The information should be publicly available. Also, any sports analysts who makes predictions should be required to report his/her accuracy. If the accuracy is below 60%, they must identify themselves as junk reporter, a new title.

  2. homixide - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    East coast teams lose, and their fans still think they deserve spots because of their brand name, RPI is all that matters just because you play certain teams doesn’t give you a free ride #12 UNM has beaten every top 25 team they played this year on the road, so being 1200mi away from your fan base and winning against ranked teams at home is no big deal. Some teams didnt get knocked down on the polls the way they should of been, for losses to teams with low RPI, but some seem to wanna get a free pass for name recognition. If some forgot when the dance starts, a lot of supposed great teams in the last few Tourneys have been knocked off early

    • my6bs - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:13 AM

      Most wins vs RPI Top 100? UNM (17-4)
      Highest winning % vs RPI Top 100? GU (11-2)
      Compared to Indiana (10-4), Michigan (10-4), Louisville (10-5), Michigan St (8-7), Duke (13-4)…

  3. sdb74 - Mar 5, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    You would have to love either UNC or Creighton’s chances of beating Gonzaga in the round of 32 if Gonzaga wins their first game. Gonzaga is a flat out joke. They are like Boise St in football.

  4. florida727 - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I’m sure I’ll be in the minority here, but I think Norfolk State, Southern, Charleston Southern, and Northeastern, should NOT have to play in what is essentially a play-in game, let alone against each other. I know, I know, their conferences are “weak”, especially relative to the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Big East, etc., but they are LEAGUE CHAMPIONS. They at least deserve some respect. Even if they get beat by 112 in the first round by a Duke or an Indiana or whatever, I think they deserve the acknowledgement for their accomplishment.

    The play-in games (please stop calling them “first round” games; that would mean SIXTY teams get a bye into the “second round”, which is laughable) should be bubble teams like Tennessee, Iowa State, Virginia, etc., even though those teams would likely beat the snot out of the four mentioned above. Again, just a respect thing. Like it or not, they’ve earned it. Not everyone can play in the Big 10 or Big East. At least recognize their accomplishments.

  5. rmcdonald23 - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I don’t understand how the PAC-12 has 5 teams predicted to be in. Although I don’t get to watch them play very often because I live on the East coast, I did watch the Arizona/UCLA game recently and was stunned at what poor basketball I was watching from both teams. If they are representative of how the PAC-12 is playing this year, then they shouldn’t even be in the tournament, much less sending 5 teams?!?!

  6. homixide - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Every year there are once good teams in every conference that don’t live up to their expectations, You should major deductions in your ranking depending on how many Blue Chip players you have, if you have the best players in the country and lose, it should matter more take away double the amout of blue chip players to votes recieved and then they get their Ranking that week, Teams of guys not given the same individual player recognition should get a polls bonus+1 for working with a handicap Big power schools should not get extra credit for beating their own conference rivals at home since the have to play them twice anyway. LOL yeah its a funny dream but if your school got all the best players and you still lose it should cost you extra

  7. docwat - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    It’s getting difficult to call the Atlantic 10 a mid-major conf. As to the rips on Gonzaga, I will wait for the tourney. Suffice to say that this is the deepest team Mark Few has had; ask any coach of a top-25 team if they want to have the Bulldogs in their bracket – they don’t!

  8. mungman69 - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Yes, let’s see what Gonzaga does in the tourney before we bury them. Indiana will win it all.

    • indyshepherd - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Gonzaga could be the first #1 that loses to a #16 in NCAA BB tournament history.

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