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Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | January 28, 2019

Bracketology: The March Madness field predicted, less than 50 days from Selection Sunday

Andy Katz predicts the March Madness field 50 days from Selection Sunday

We're now 50 days from Selection Sunday and with it, the start of March Madness. To get prepared, we have our latest prediction for the March Madness field, thanks to 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 fifth bracket prediction of the season for the DI men's basketball tournament.

MORE: Selection Sunday 2019: Time, dates, schedule and everything else you need to know

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 NCAA tournament bracket prediction January 25

And here's that bracket in table form:

  East West South Midwest
1 Virginia Michigan St. Duke Tennessee
16 Norfolk St./Prairie View Weber St. Sam Houston/RMU Rider
         
8 Ole Miss Mississippi St. Nebraska St. John's
9 TCU Washington UCF NC St.
         
5 Purdue Louisville Texas Tech Virginia Tech
12 Hofstra Liberty Old Dominion Murray St.
         
4 Villanova Iowa St. Marquette Maryland
13 Radford UC Irvine Texas St. Stony Brook
         
6 Iowa Buffalo Kansas St. Wisconsin
11 USF/Butler Alabama/Indiana Ohio St. Wofford
         
3 Houston Nevada LSU North Carolina
14 Loyola-Chicago George Mason N. Kentucky Bowling Green
         
7 Syracuse Oklahoma Cincinnati Auburn
10 Texas Minnesota Florida St. Seton Hall
         
2 Kentucky Gonzaga Michigan Kansas
15 Princeton Bakersfield South Dakota St. Bucknell

Michigan State cracks the top line

For the first time in a long time, Katz’s bracket prediction has a new 1 seed. After Michigan fell to Wisconsin by 10 on the road, the previously-undefeated Wolverines needed a buzzer-beater to take down Minnesota at home, and those two games bumped the Wolverines off the 1 line and down to a 2 seed. 

Watch Michigan's Charles Matthews' game-winning buzzer beater

A red-hot Michigan State was ready to fill that void. The Spartans are riding a 13-game winning streak, including back-to-back double-digit wins against ranked teams in No. 13 Maryland and No. 19 Iowa. Michigan State’s two losses (in the season opener on a neutral court to Kansas, and a November overtime loss to Louisville) are in the rear-view mirror now as the Spartans are dominating the Big Ten, sitting in first place at 9-0 in conference. The Michigan-Michigan State matchup will be extra spicy this year, but we’ve still got a month before the first of those (Feb. 24). 

For now, Michigan State sits on top, along with the three 1 seeds that haven’t changed in weeks: Virginia, Duke, and Tennessee.

MAC-Attack

After a loss to Northern Illinois earlier this week, Buffalo fell to second place in the MAC. In first? Bowling Green, which sits at 14-5 overall and 6-0 in conference. The two teams play twice before the conference tournament (on Feb. 1 and March 8), but at the moment, Katz has the Falcons capturing the MAC’s automatic bid and Buffalo getting in as an at-large. That would make for the first time the MAC was a two-bid league since 1999, when Miami (Ohio) got in as an at-large and Kent State secured the automatic bid.  

Andy Katz: POY Candidates

Syracuse leads biggest risers

Beat the No. 1 team in the country at their place, and you’ll move up a few seeds. That’s what happened for Syracuse, which took down Duke at Cameron Indoor last week and moved from a 10 seed to a 7 seed in Katz’s latest bracket. The Orange followed the upset up with wins against Pittsburgh and Miami. Next, they head to Blacksburg to take on a No. 10 Virginia Tech team that dropped two of its last three games (granted, they were at Virginia and North Carolina). Time to see if the Duke game was a sign of things to come.

Villanova had a tumultuous start to the season, losing some understandable games (vs. Michigan and at Kansas) and some questionable ones (at home to Furman and on the road against Penn). But the Wildcats are hitting their stride, having won their last seven games, including tough matchups at Butler and Creighton and against No. 24 St. John’s. That performance has Villanova at a 4 seed on Katz’s latest bracket, up from a 6 seed in the previous prediction. The Wildcats don’t have too many opportunities to move much farther up the board, but don’t be surprised to see their name called in the Committee’s first Top 16 reveal next month.

RELATED: It's time to consider we counted out Villanova way too early

Some other big jumps: 

  • Cincinnati jumped from a 9 to a 7
  • Villanova jumped from a 6 to a 4
  • Wisconsin jumped from an 8 to a 6
  • Kansas State jumped from an 8 to a 6

Texas Tech among biggest drops

Texas Tech is ready for January to end already. The Red Raiders were 15-1 and ranked No. 8 in the country on Jan. 15. Ten days later, they’ve dropped three in a row to unranked teams and fallen from a 2 seed in Katz’s last prediction to a 5 seed this time around. Texas Tech has some tuning up to do with home games against Arkansas and TCU before taking on Kansas on the road on Feb. 2. There’s still plenty of time to get back up the seed list, but the Red Raiders are trending in the wrong direction.

MORE: There are 6 college basketball national championship contenders this year. Here's why.

Arizona was on the good side of the bubble in Katz’s last prediction, sitting at an 11 seed. But the Wildcats lost two of their last three, both to unranked foes, and now they’re on the outside looking in. The Pac-12 is in rough shape this season, with only one team currently in Katz’s prediction. That makes a rebound tough for Arizona, which doesn’t have a single currently-ranked opponent left on their schedule.

Some other big drops:

  • Nebraska fell from a 5 to an 8
  • Florida State fell from a 7 to a 10
  • Ohio State fell from an 8 to an 11
  • Temple fell from 11 seed out of the tournament

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 Automatic qualifier
1 Virginia 1 *
2 Duke 1  
3 Tennessee 1 *
4 Michigan State 1 *
5 Gonzaga 2 *
6 Michigan 2  
7 Kentucky 2  
8 Kansas 2 *
9 Nevada 3 *
10 North Carolina 3  
11 Houston 3 *
12 LSU 3  
13 Villanova 4 *
14 Maryland 4  
15 Marquette 4  
16 Iowa State 4  
17 Virginia Tech 5  
18 Louisville 5  
19 Purdue 5  
20 Texas Tech 5  
21 Iowa 6  
22 Kansas State 6  
23 Wisconsin 6  
24 Buffalo 6  
25 Auburn 7  
26 Cincinnati 7  
27 Syracuse 7  
28 Oklahoma 7  
29 Ole Miss 8  
30 Mississippi State 8  
31 Nebraska 8  
32 St. John's 8  
33 Washington 9 *
34 TCU 9  
35 UCF 9  
36 NC State 9  
37 Texas 10  
38 Florida State 10  
39 Seton Hall 10  
40 Minnesota 10  
41 Ohio State 11  
42 Alabama 11  
43 Indiana 11  
44 San Francisco 11  
45 Butler 11  
46 Wofford 11 *
47 Murray State 12 *
48 Hofstra 12 *
49 Liberty 12 *
50 Old Dominion 12 *
51 Radford 13 *
52 Stony Brook 13 *
53 Texas State 13 *
54 UC Irvine 13 *
55 Loyola-Chicago 14 *
56 Northern Kentucky 14 *
57 Bowling Green 14 *
58 George Mason 14 *
58 South Dakota State 15 *
59 Princeton 15 *
60 Bucknell 15 *
61 Bakersfield 15 *
63 Weber State 16 *
64 Rider 16 *
65 Sam Houston State 16 *
66 Robert Morris 16 *
67 Norfolk State 16 *
68 Prairie View 16 *

Bracket movement

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

Team Bracket 5 seed Bracket 4 seed Movement
Virginia 1 1 0
Duke 1 1 0
Tennessee 1 1 0
Michigan State 1 2 +1
Michigan 2 1 -1
Gonzaga 2 2 0
Kansas 2 2 0
Kentucky 2 3 +1
Nevada 3 3 0
North Carolina 3 3 0
Houston 3 3 0
LSU 3 4 +1
Maryland 4 4 0
Marquette 4 4 0
Iowa State 4 5 +1
Villanova 4 6 +2
Texas Tech 5 2 -3
Virginia Tech 5 4 -1
Louisville 5 6 +1
Purdue 5 6 +1
Buffalo 6 5 -1
Iowa 6 7 +1
Kansas State 6 8 +2
Wisconsin 6 8 +2
Oklahoma 7 5 -2
Auburn 7 6 -1
Cincinnati 7 9 +2
Syracuse 7 10 +3
Nebraska 8 5 -3
Ole Miss 8 7 -1
St. John's 8 7 -1
Mississippi State 8 8 0
TCU 9 9 0
NC State 9 9 0
Washington 9 10 +1
UCF 9 10 +1
Florida State 10 7 -3
Seton Hall 10 9 -1
Texas 10 11 +1
Minnesota 10 11 +1
Ohio State 11 8 -3
Indiana 11 10 -1
Alabama 11 11 0
San Francisco 11 11 0
Wofford 11 12 +1
Butler 11 N/A N/A
Murray State 12 12 0
Hofstra 12 13 +1
Liberty 12 13 +1
Old Dominion 12 N/A N/A
Radford 13 13 0
Stony Brook 13 N/A N/A
Texas State 13 N/A N/A
UC Irvine 13 N/A N/A
Loyola-Chicago 14 13 -1
Northern Kentucky 14 N/A N/A
Bowling Green 14 N/A N/A
George Mason 14 N/A N/A
South Dakota State 15 14 -1
Princeton 15 14 -1
Bucknell 15 N/A N/A
Bakersfield 15 N/A N/A
Rider 16 15 -1
Sam Houston State 16 16 0
Norfolk State 16 16 0
Weber State 16 N/A N/A
Robert Morris 16 N/A N/A
Prairie View 16 N/A N/A

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