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Joe Boozell | | February 6, 2017

NCAA tournament bracket predictions

As March Madness inches closer, the NCAA tournament field of 68 is beginning to take shape.

We won't know until Selection Sunday, March 12, exactly who makes the field. The 10-member NCAA selection committee will go through a painstaking process, allowing for a host of factors, in making its picks. Then the committee will seed each team and place each team in one of four regions. (Read up on everything that goes into the NCAA tournament selection process here.)

The picks below, keeping in mind the selection process, are my best estimation of who will make the field. For more bracketology, check out Joe Lunardi at ESPN and Jerry Palm at CBS.

*Note: Bold indicates a tentative automatic qualifier. For this exercise, we're using current conference leaders. Chart was last updated before Monday's games.

Seed School Analysis  
1 Gonzaga Bulldogs have a good chance to enter March Madness unbeaten.  
1 Villanova As formidable as anyone on both ends of the court.  
1 Kansas Kings of the Big 12 until proven otherwise.  
1 Baylor Tough week for the Bears, but few can match their quality wins.  
2 Louisville Might have jumped onto the one line had it not lost to Baylor head-to-head.  
2 Florida State Perhaps the most athletic team in the country, just demolished Clemson.  
2 North Carolina Picked up a quality win vs. Notre Dame as Duke looms.  
2 Oregon

Ducks are virtually unbeatable in Eugene.

3 Wisconsin Badgers finding groove, have won seven in a row.  
3 Cincinnati Bearcats haven’t lost a game in almost two months.  
3 Arizona Rough showing against Oregon, but Wildcats are loaded.  
3 UCLA Has the highest ceiling in the country, but needs to start defending.  
4 Kentucky Wildcats need another shooter to step out outside of Malik Monk.  
4 West Virginia Mountaineers have compiled some big wins, but also some bad losses.  
4 Virginia Tough loss at Syracuse, but nobody wants to face the Hoos.  
4 Florida Mike White has brought a defense-first mentality to Gainesville.  
5 Creighton Bluejays haven’t been able to find consistency without Mo Watson.  
5 Purdue Boilermakers picked up a gritty win at Maryland on Saturday.  
5 Duke Blue Devils beginning to hit stride after early-season turbulence.  
5 Butler Bulldogs have numerous big wins, but some indefensible losses.  
6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish have lost four in a row, searching for answers.  
6 South Carolina Gamecocks boast one of the stingiest defenses in the country.  
6 Maryland Terps’ tight rope act finally bit them against Purdue.  
6 St. Mary’s Gaels are loaded with shooters up and down the roster.  
7 USC Trojans are 20-4 but face tough upcoming Pac-12 stretch.  
7 Northwestern Wildcats very likely to earn first ever tournament berth.  
7 Xavier Edmond Sumner’s injury a big blow to Xavier’s postseason outlook.  
7 SMU Huge AAC showdown between SMU and Cincinnati on Sunday.  
8 Oklahoma State Jawun Evans: one of the most fun players to watch in America.  
8 Iowa State

No team will want to face Monte Morris in the Big Dance.

8 Dayton Flyers limiting opponents to 30.8 percent shooting from behind the arc.  
8 Virginia Tech Hokies winning close games, but getting blown out in losses.  
9 Michigan State Young Spartans roster struggling to find consistency.  
9 Kansas State Wildcats have proved they can beat anyone on the right night.  
9 Middle Tennessee State

Blue Raiders even stronger after upsetting Michigan State last year.

9 VCU Rams have been solid but unspectacular in just about every category.  
10 Clemson Ugly loss against Florida State hurts the Tigers here.  
10 Minnesota Gophers in the top 10 of adjusted defensive efficiency.  
10 TCU Horned Frogs have won two in a row after four-game skid.  
10 Marquette Golden Eagles quietly have one of the best offenses in the country.  
11 Miami Hurricanes still extremely difficult to knock off at home.  
11 Indiana Injuries have taken a toll on what looked like a promising season.  
11 UNC Wilmington Seahawks were rolling through the CAA before consecutive losses.  
11 (First Four) Wichita State Shockers rolling, but struggled early in the season against quality teams.  
11 (First Four) Arkansas Hogs were playing great ball until unlikely loss at Missouri.  
12 New Mexico State Aggies haven’t lost a game since Nov. 18.  
12 Illinois State Redbirds had won 11 in a row before blowout loss to Wichita State.  
12 Vermont Catamounts are good near the basket, making 55.3 percent of 2-pointers.  
12 (First Four) Syracuse Orange bouncing back after early-season slump.  
12 (First Four) Michigan Wolverines scoring the ball at will; must improve defensively.  
13 Akron Zips can score with most teams but need to improve defensively.  
13 Boise State Limiting opponents to a 31.7 3-point field goal percentage.  
13 Monmouth Hawks have only lost once in the new year after rocky start.  
13 Valparaiso Leading the country in free-throw percentage (80.8).  
14 Belmont Bruins making 62.3 percent of their 2s, which leads the country.  
14 Florida Gulf Coast Dunk City starting to rev its engine, has won 11 of 12.  
14 Princeton Tigers unblemished in Ivy League play thus far.  
14 Bucknell Bison streaking, are 10-1 in the Patriot League.  
15 Arkansas State Red Wolves draining almost 40 percent of their 3s.  
15 Furman Paladins have won five in a row after getting off to a 10-8 start.  
15 North Dakota State Bison have dropped their last two decisions.  
15 UNC Asheville Bulldogs stacked with shooters, have excellent spacing.  
16 Texas Southern Tigers challenged themselves in nonconference slate.  
16      Sam Houston State Bearkats make life difficult for opposing point guards.  
16 (First Four) Mt. St. Mary’s Mountaineers rolling after early-season struggles.  
16 (First Four) Weber State Wildcats shooting 41 percent from deep as a team.  
16 (First Four)              UC Davis Aggies’ offense has sputtered often this year.  
16 (First Four)                NCCU Eagles have been playing sound defensive basketball lately.  

Joe Boozell covers college basketball and a variety of other sports for Check out more of his hoops coverage here.

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