basketball-men-d1 flag

Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | January 11, 2019

The March Madness field, predicted at start of conference play

Andy Katz bracket breakdown

Here is our latest NCAA tournament bracket prediction for the March Madness field of 68, courtesy of NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz.

Katz has traveled the country this regular season watching games and talking to top players and coaches, all of which have helped inform his third bracket prediction of the season for the DI men's basketball tournament. We're publishing this initially on Jan. 8, which happens to be 68 days from Selection Sunday, set for March 17. That's when the selection committee will reveal the full field of 68 teams, including 36 at-large bids and 32 automatic qualifiers.

We break down his picks below, but first, let’s look at the bracket itself (Tap or click here to open the bracket in a new window or tab).

Andy Katz's March Madness bracket predictions for January 8

And here’s that bracket in table form:

Seed East West South Midwest
1 Duke Tennessee Michigan Virginia
16 NC A&T/Robert Morris Purdue-Fort Wayne Northern Colorado/Rider Texas Southern
         
8 LSU Louisville Villanova Purdue
9 Maryland Iowa UCF Ole Miss
         
5 NC State Mississippi State Auburn Florida State
12 Murray State Lipscomb Georgia State North Texas
         
4 Ohio State North Carolina Virginia Tech St. John's
13 UC Irvine Radford Loyola-Chicago Fresno State
         
6 Marquette Indiana Seton Hall TCU
11 Texas/Syracuse San Francisco Arizona VCU
         
3 Kentucky Oklahoma Nevada Houston
14 Wofford Stony Brook CS Bakersfield Hofstra
         
7 Wisconsin Iowa State Minnesota Buffalo
10 Arizona State Nebraska Missouri/Cincinnati Alabama
         
2 Texas Tech Gonzaga Kansas Michigan State
15 Princeton Green Bay Stephen F. Austin Lehigh

Now for some analysis:

Gonzaga and Nevada step back

Gonzaga and Nevada both dropped one seed since Katz’s last bracket. The Bulldogs had a rough December, losing back-to-back games to Tennessee and North Carolina, which were two of the last real tests of the season for Gonzaga. That stretch saw them fall from a 1 seed to a 2 seed in Katz's latest field. Now comes the tough part of being in the WCC — Gonzaga has 15 games left on its regular-season schedule. None are against currently ranked teams, and only two are against teams currently in the top 60 of NET rankings (both San Francisco). The Bulldogs — finally healthy — could easily win out. But if teams above them stay consistent, it would be hard to justify Gonzaga jumping back up to a 1 seed.

View the full current NET rankings

Nevada faces a similar situation. After a disastrous 85-58 loss to New Mexico on Jan. 5, the Wolf Pack fell from a 2 seed to a 3 seed. Now, they head into the heart of MWC play without another good opportunity to prove themselves. Nevada has just three games left against opponents in the top 100 of the NET rankings (Fresno State twice, and Utah State). Win out, and the Wolf Pack will certainly be in the conversation for a top 4 seed, but their ceiling has definitely been lowered by the New Mexico loss.

Texas, Nebraska among biggest drops

Since Katz filed his last bracket, Texas has had a rough stretch. The Longhorns are 5-2, but only two of those wins came against a team currently inside the top 100 in NET rankings. And the losses both came at home — to Providence (current NET ranking of 98), and VCU (current NET ranking of 46). A win on the road against an unranked, but proven Kansas State team was a highlight in this stretch, but the Longhorns still have a lot to prove. Luckily for them, they’ll have plenty of chances to do just that, with close-approaching games against Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, and TCU. It’ll be a tough stretch for sure, but Texas’ fate will be much more certain on the other side.

Nebraska also fell in the latest bracket, from a 4 seed to a 10. The Cornhuskers have dropped three of their past seven games, and though the losses were all on the road and all to respectable teams (Minnesota, Maryland, and Iowa), three losses in a month is never a good look. 

And the bubble finally popped for Furman. The Paladins started the season 12-0 (with a statement win at No. 8 Villanova), earning them a 9 seed in Katz’s second bracket. But then December came, and Furman lost back-to-back games at LSU and East Tennessee State — neither of which were exactly close. After that slide, they’re understandably absent from the latest bracket prediction.

Some other big names dropping from the field entirely are Arkansas (10-3), Kansas State (10-4), Temple (11-3), and Davidson (10-4).

RELATED: Watch the 13 best finishes in college basketball this year

TCU is one of the biggest risers

TCU is currently riding a nine-game winning streak, pushing them to 12-1 on the year — enough to see them enter the field in Katz’s latest bracket prediction as a 6 seed after not appearing in the December edition. That one loss came to an impressive Lipscomb team back in November, and though none of the Horned Frogs’ past nine wins are eye-popping on paper, that streak is nothing to be scoffed at. The biggest test this season for TCU will come Wednesday, as they travel to take on No. 7 Kansas. We’ll know a lot more about them after that matchup.

MORE: Watch March Madness live here when the NCAA tournament begins

Mississippi State also jumped up the seed list, from a 12 to a 5. The Bulldogs are also in the middle of nine-game win streak, which has included some impressive wins against Clemson, Cincinnati, Wofford and at Dayton. A meaty SEC schedule will allow for even more upward movement as the Bulldogs will play Kentucky and Auburn twice each, and travel to Tennessee.

Seton Hall entered Katz’s field for the first time this year as a 6 seed after a thrilling December. First, the Pirates took down No. 9 Kentucky at Madison Square Garden in one of the most exciting games of the year. Then came a win at Maryland, and another buzzer beater to down St. John’s. Even after a loss at DePaul, few teams are looking as ready for the madness of March as Seton Hall.

Some other big names entering the field are Mississippi (11-2), San Francisco (14-2), VCU (10-4), Missouri (9-3), and Alabama (10-3).

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 bracket in December:

1.     Duke (1)
2.     Michigan (1) (AQ)
3.     Virginia (1) (AQ)
4.     Tennessee (1) (AQ)
 
5.     Gonzaga (2)
6.     Michigan State (2)
7.     Kansas (2)
8.     Texas Tech (2) (AQ)
 
9.     Houston (3) (AQ)
10.   Nevada (3)
11.   Oklahoma (3)
12.   Kentucky (3)
 
13.   Virginia Tech (4)
14.   North Carolina (4)
15.   St. John’s (4)
16.   Ohio State (4)
 
17.   NC State (5)
18.   Auburn (5)
19.   Florida State (5)
20.   Mississippi State (5)
 
21.   Indiana (6)
22.   Marquette (6)
23.   Seton Hall (6)
24.   TCU (6)
 
25.   Minnesota (7)
26.   Buffalo (7) (AQ)
27.   Iowa State (7)
28.   Wisconsin (7)
 
29.   Louisville (8)
30.   LSU (8)
31.   Purdue (8)
32.   Villanova (8) (AQ)
 
33.   Iowa (9)
34.   Maryland (9)
35.   Ole Miss (9)
36.   Nebraska (9)
 
37.   UCF (10)
38.   Alabama (10)
39.   Arizona State (10)
40.   Missouri (10)
 
41.   Cincinnati (11)
42.   VCU (11) (AQ)
43.   Texas (11)
44.   Syracuse (11)
45.   Arizona (11) (AQ)
46.   San Francisco (11) (AQ)
 
47.   North Texas (12) (AQ)
48.   Georgia State (12) (AQ)
49.   Lipscomb (12) (AQ)
50.   Murray State (12) (AQ)
 
51.   UC Irvine (13) (AQ)
52.   Fresno State (13) (AQ)
53.   Loyola-Chicago (13) (AQ)
54.   Radford (13) (AQ)
 
55.   Wofford (14) (AQ)
56.   Hofstra (14) (AQ)
57.   Stony Brook (14) (AQ)
58.   Bakersfield (14) (AQ)
59.   Lehigh (15) (AQ)
60.   Stephen F. Austin (15) (AQ)
61.   Princeton (15) (AQ)
62.   Green Bay (15) (AQ)
63.   Purdue-Fort Wayne (16) (AQ)
64.   Texas Southern (16) (AQ)
65.   Northern Colorado (16) (AQ)
66.   Rider (16) (AQ)
67.   NC AT (16) (AQ)
68.   Robert Morris (16) (AQ)

Bracket movement

Here is how every team's seed has changed since Katz's last prediction:

Team Bracket 3 seed Bracket 2 seed Movement
Duke 1 1 0
Michigan 1 1 0
Virginia 1 1 0
Tennessee 1 2 +1
Gonzaga 2 1 -1
Kansas 2 2 0
Texas Tech 2 2 0
Michigan State 2 3 +1
Nevada 3 2 -1
Kentucky 3 3 0
Houston 3 5 +2
Oklahoma 3 8 +5
Ohio State 4 4 0
North Carolina 4 5 +1
Virginia Tech 4 6 +2
St. John's 4 8 +4
Auburn 5 3 -2
Florida State 5 6 +1
NC State 5 11 +6
Mississippi State 5 12 +7
Indiana 6 7 +1
Marquette 6 7 +1
Seton Hall 6 N/A N/A
TCU 6 N/A N/A
Wisconsin 7 3 -4
Buffalo 7 4 -3
Iowa State 7 5 -2
Minnesota 7 10 +3
Villanova 8 6 -2
Louisville 8 7 -1
Purdue 8 8 0
LSU 8 11 +3
Maryland 9 7 -2
Iowa 9 10 +1
UCF 9 11 +2
Ole Miss 9 N/A N/A
Nebraska 10 4 -6
Arizona State 10 5 -5
Cincinnati 10 10 0
Alabama 10 N/A N/A
Missouri 10 N/A N/A
Texas 11 4 -7
Syracuse 11 8 -3
Arizona 11 9 -2
San Francisco 11 N/A N/A
VCU 11 N/A N/A
Lipscomb 12 14 +2
North Texas 12 14 +2
Georgia State 12 N/A N/A
Murray State 12 N/A N/A
Radford 13 12 -1
UC Irvine 13 15 +2
Fresno State 13 N/A N/A
Loyola Chicago 13 N/A N/A
Stony Brook 14 14 0
Bakersfield 14 N/A N/A
Hofstra 14 N/A N/A
Wofford 14 N/A N/A
Green Bay 15 N/A N/A
Lehigh 15 N/A N/A
Princeton 15 N/A N/A
Stephen F. Austin 15 N/A N/A
Rider 16 15 -1
Northern Colorado 16 16 0
NC A&T 16 N/A N/A
Purdue-Fort Wayne 16 N/A N/A
Robert Morris 16 N/A N/A
Texas Southern 16 N/A N/A

College basketball awards: 20 small forwards named to 2020 Julius Erving Award preseason watch list

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 20 preseason candidates for the 2020 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
READ MORE

College basketball awards: 20 shooting guards named to 2020 Jerry West Award preseason watch list

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced 20 candidates for the 2020 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
READ MORE

Jordan Nwora, Cole Anthony, and a trio of Blue Devils lead Andy Katz's Top 10 ACC players

Andy Katz was in Charlotte last week for the ACC’s 2019 Operation Basketball, where he talked to players and coaches ahead of the 2019-20 season and ranked the top 10 players in the conference. Here is that list.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners