We’re in the single digits on the Selection Sunday countdown now, but there’s still plenty of uncertainty when it comes to how the field of 68 will fill out.
Our own NCAA.com basketball analyst Andy Katz has traveled the country all season long. He's watched games. He's talked to the best players and coaches. And through it all he's sifted through the mountain of information he's collected to put together full bracket predictions for the March Madness field.
Before we break down his 10th bracket prediction of the season for the Division I men's basketball tournament, let's take a look at the bracket itself. (Tap or click here to open the bracket in a new window or tab).
And here's that bracket in table form:
(This is the first prediction this season where we have teams that have won their conference tournament and clinched a spot in March Madness. Those teams are bolded. Their seed still won't be decided until Sunday, but they are guaranteed a spot in the tournament.)
|16||Sam Houston St.||St. Francis/Iona||Gardner-Webb||Prairie View/Norfolk St.|
|12||NMSU||Florida/Indiana||NC St./Ohio St.||Murray St.|
|4||Florida St.||Kansas St.||Kansas||Virginia Tech|
|14||Old Dominion||Montana||Harvard||Georgia St.|
|10||Minnesota||Seton Hall||Utah St.||Arizona St.|
|2||LSU||Michigan St.||Tennessee||North Carolina|
Kentucky and Tennessee flipped… again
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before — Tennessee and Kentucky traded places on the top two lines again this week.
A week after destroying No. 4 Kentucky, Tennessee finished their regular season with an 84-80 loss at Auburn, while Kentucky won its final two games against Ole Miss and Florida.
For now, that leaves Gonzaga, Virginia, Kentucky, and Duke as the 1 seeds a week before Selection Sunday. Gonzaga and Virginia are virtually locked in there, but depending on what happens in the SEC and ACC tournaments, those last two 1 seeds could be flipped. Tennessee and North Carolina control their own fate there. Knock off Kentucky and Duke, respectively, and the 1 seeds are theirs. The other two 2 seeds — Michigan State and LSU — still have an outside shot at a 1 seed, but will need a lot to fall in their favor.
Auburn, VCU make big leaps
After getting blown out at Kentucky on Feb. 23, Auburn finished the season on fire, beating Georgia and Alabama on the road, Mississippi State at home, and capping it all off with an 84-80 win over No. 5 Tennessee on senior night. That led Katz to push them from an 8 to a 6 seed in today’s bracket. The Tigers also locked up the 5 seed in the SEC tournament, with a chance to face LSU and Kentucky/Tennessee before Selection Sunday.
VCU picked up its sixth loss of the season on Jan. 23, dropping the Rams to 13-6 on the year. They haven’t lost since. Twelve straight conference wins vaulted them to first place in the A-10 and gave them a double-bye in the conference tournament. Their regular season performance earned VCU a NET ranking of 31 — miles ahead of the next A-10 team, Dayton at No. 65. It also bumped them up from a 9 seed to a 7 in Katz’s latest bracket. The Rams missed the tournament last year for the first time in eight seasons. They haven’t made it to the Sweet 16 since their run from the First Four to the Final Four in 2011, but that could easily change if they keep up the momentum.
Ohio State, Iowa, and Marquette suffer slumps
Just when it looked like Ohio State was picking up some momentum heading into the tournament, the Buckeyes started to fall apart. Ohio State lost six of its last eight games in the regular season, including three straight to close out the year. That dropped OSU from a 9 seed to a 12 in Katz’s latest prediction. They’ll have a chance to redeem themselves in the Big Ten tournament (where they face Indiana as the 8 seed and, if they win, 1-seed Michigan State).
Two weeks ago, Iowa was on a tear. The Hawkeyes had won five of six, highlighted by an upset of No. 5 Michigan at home. The only loss had been by one point to No. 24 Maryland. And then March happened. Iowa finished the season with four straight losses, including two to 16-15 Nebraska and 14-16 Rutgers. That streak saw them fall from a 7 to a 9 seed in Katz’s predictions. Still, they earned the 6 seed in the Big Ten tournament. If they win their first game, they’ll take on 3-seed Michigan Friday — a great opportunity to repeat the upset and seriously boost the resume.
Marquette was arguably putting together its best season since 2013 this year, going 4-1 against Top 25 opponents and earning a No. 10 AP ranking themselves. On Feb. 23, the Golden Eagles were 23-4 and in first place in the Big East. And then they lost four straight to close out the season and were leapfrogged by Villanova, which took the conference regular season title. They also fell from a projected 4 seed to a 6 seed in Katz’s latest bracket. The Big East tournament will give them chances to redeem some of those losses, but Marquette will have to fix something before the NCAA tournament if they want to stick around in March Madness.
Andy Katz's field of 68
Here is Katz’s full seed list in order. Beneath it, you’ll find a list of all 68 teams in Katz's latest field, with how their seeding has changed since the last prediction:
|Overall seed||Team||Seed||AQ?||Clinched berth|
|50||New Mexico State||12||AQ|
|63||Sam Houston State||16||AQ|
|67||St. Francis (PA)||16||AQ|
First five out: Clemson, Georgetown, Alabama, Creighton, Belmont
Here is how every team's seed has changed since Katz's last prediction:
|Overall seed||Team||Bracket 10 seed||Bracket 9 seed||Movement|
|50||New Mexico State||12||12||0|
|63||Sam Houston State||16||16||0|
|67||St. Francis (PA)||16||16||0|