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Wayne Staats | NCAA.com | January 25, 2020

2020 NCAA tournament bracketology: Predictions 50 days from Selection Sunday

2020 NCAA tournament bracketology: March Madness predictions 50 days from Selection Sunday

Through a wild college basketball season full of shockers and upsets, Baylor has emerged as a constant for 2020 NCAA tournament predictions — at least through Jan. 23 games.

With less than two months until Selection Sunday, Baylor leads the latest March Madness projections from NCAA.com's Andy Katz. Gonzaga, San Diego State and Kansas are the remaining projected No. 1 seeds.

In Katz's previous predicted bracket on Jan. 14, Duke, Butler and Gonzaga joined Baylor as No. 1 seeds. Katz had earlier made a preseason bracket in September (50 days before opening night last fall), and also one in early December (roughly 100 days from Selection Sunday).

2020 NCAA tournament predictions: Projected bracket

Here is Andy Katz's projected 2020 NCAA tournament bracket.

Click or tap here to open the bracket in a new window.

And here's his latest bracket in table form.

Seed South East West Midwest
1 Baylor Kansas Gonzaga San Diego St.
16 South Dakota St. Quinnipiac/
Prairie View A&M
Robert Morris/
Norfolk State
Winthrop
         
2 Dayton Duke Florida State West Virginia
15 Wright St. Murray State UC Irvine Montana
         
3 Seton Hall Michigan State Oregon Louisville
14 William & Mary Colgate New Mexico St. Little Rock
         
4 Maryland Auburn Iowa Kentucky
13 North Texas Vermont Loyola Chicago Stephen F.
Austin
         
5 Butler Arizona Villanova Rutgers
12 East Tennessee St. Yale Akron Virginia Tech/
Richmond
         
6 LSU Colorado Illinois Stanford
11 N.C. State/
Oklahoma
Memphis Liberty Ohio State
         
7 Penn State Marquette Wichita State Wisconsin
10 Saint Mary's Indiana BYU VCU
         
8 Michigan Houston Texas Tech Creighton
9 Arkansas Florida Minnesota USC

No. 1 seeds: Baylor, Gonzaga, San Diego State, Kansas

Baylor is again the No. 1 overall seed. Baylor is also No. 1 in Katz's most recent Power 36 and the AP Poll. Big 12 rival Kansas takes the final No. 1 seed, up from a No. 2 seed.

San Diego State, the final undefeated team, moved up from Katz's 2-line from his last bracket to take the third No. 1 seed. The Aztecs are also No. 1 in the NET rankings.

Gonzaga, which is No. 1 in the Coaches Poll, is a No. 1 seed again for Katz, though the Bulldogs moved up from the final top seed spot to No. 2 overall.

The four current projected top seeds have a varied history on the top line. Baylor and San Diego State have never been a No. 1 seed. The Bears have been No. 3 four times (most recently 2017), while the Aztecs were a No. 2 seed in 2011.

But Kansas and Gonzaga are more familiar as top seeds. Gonzaga earned a top seed for the first time in 2013 and did so again in 2017 and 2019.

Then there's Kansas. The Jayhawks have been a top seed in 1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Kansas hasn't been seeded worse than No. 4 since 2000.

Moving up

Though it's been only a couple of weeks, some teams made big steps forward either into the bracket or up the seed line.

Among teams that were in both projections, Iowa is the standout. The Hawkeyes were 33rd overall (a No. 9 seed) on Jan. 14 but jumped 19 spots to a No. 4 seed after beating Northwestern, Michigan and Rutgers.

Houston is also on the rise. The Cougars were 44th in Katz's Jan. 14 bracketology. But after losing to Tulsa on Jan. 11, the Cougars put together wins against SMU, Wichita State and UConn to go up 15 spots to 29th (a No. 8 seed).

Here are the biggest risers:

  • Iowa: Up 19 spots to 14th — 4 seed
  • Houston: Up 15 spots to 29th — 8 seed
  • Marquette: Up 11 spots to 28th — 7 seed
  • Florida: Up 11 spots to 34th — 9 seed
  • Arizona: Up 10 spots to 18th — 5 seed
  • Rutgers: Up 10 spots to 20th — 5 seed
  • Illinois: Up 6 spots to 23rd — 6 seed
  • Minnesota: Up 6 spots to 37th — 10 seed
  • Florida State: Up 5 spots to 8th — 2 seed
  • Louisville: Up 5 spots to 9th — 3 seed
  • Penn State: Up 5 spots to 26th — 7 seed
  • USC: Out of the field to 35th — 9 seed
  • N.C. State: Out of the field to 43rd — 11 seed

The bubble

Katz's last at-large teams in the field are N.C. State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Richmond. In his previous bracket, Katz had N.C. State and Richmond among his first four teams out.

His last four at-large bids from earlier this month have seen different trends since Jan. 14. Houston and Florida have shot up Katz's ranked list, with the Cougars up 15 spots to 29th (a No. 8 seed) and Florida up 11 spots to 34th (a No. 9 seed). However, his final two teams in the field from mid-January, Utah and Oregon State, are now out of his projected list.

Katz's Field of 68

RANK | SEED | TEAM | CONFERENCE
1. 1 -- Baylor (AQ) Big 12
2. 1 -- Gonzaga (AQ) WCC
3. 1 -- San Diego State (AQ) Mountain West
4. 1 -- Kansas Big 12
5. 2 -- Duke ACC
6. 2 -- West Virginia Big 12
7. 2 -- Dayton (AQ) A-10
8. 2 -- Florida State ACC
9. 3 -- Louisville (AQ) ACC
10. 3 -- Michigan State (AQ) Big Ten
11. 3 -- Oregon (AQ) Pac-12
12. 3 -- Seton Hall (AQ) Big East
13. 4 -- Kentucky SEC
14. 4 -- Iowa Big Ten
15. 4 -- Maryland Big Ten
16. 4 -- Auburn SEC
17. 5 -- Villanova Big East
18. 5 --- Arizona Pac-12
19. 5 -- Butler Big East
20. 5 -- Rutgers Big Ten
21. 6 -- Stanford Pac-12
22. 6 -- LSU (AQ) SEC
23. 6 -- Illinois Big Ten
24. 6 -- Colorado Pac-12
25. 7 -- Wisconsin Big Ten
26. 7 -- Penn State Big Ten
27. 7 -- Wichita State American
28. 7 -- Marquette Big East
29. 8 -- Houston (AQ) American
30. 8 -- Michigan Big Ten
31. 8 -- Creighton Big East
32. 8 -- Texas Tech Big 12
33. 9 -- BYU WCC
34. 9 -- Florida SEC
35. 9 -- USC Pac-12
36. 9 -- Arkansas SEC
37. 10 -- Minnesota Big Ten
38. 10 -- Saint Mary's WCC
39. 10 -- Indiana Big Ten
40. 10 -- VCU A-10
41. 11 -- Ohio State Big Ten
42. 11 -- Memphis American
43. 11 -- N.C. State ACC
44. 11 -- Oklahoma Big 12
45. 11 -- Liberty (AQ) ASUN
46. 11 -- Virginia Tech ACC
47. 12 -- Richmond A-10
48. 12 -- East Tennessee State (AQ) Southern
49. 12 -- Akron (AQ) MAC
50. 12 -- Yale (AQ) Ivy
51. 13 -- Stephen F. Austin (AQ) Southland
52. 13 -- Loyola Chicago (AQ) Missouri Valley
53. 13 -- North Texas (AQ) C-USA
54. 13 -- Vermont (AQ) America East
55. 14 -- William & Mary (AQ) Colonial
56. 14 -- Little Rock (AQ) Sun Belt
57. 14 -- New Mexico State (AQ) WAC
58. 14 -- Colgate (AQ) Patriot League
59. 15 -- UC Irvine (AQ) Big West
60. 15 -- Montana (AQ) Big Sky
61. 15 -- Wright State (AQ) Horizon
62. 15 -- Murray State (AQ) OVC
63. 16 -- South Dakota State (AQ) Summit
64. 16 -- Winthrop (AQ) Big South
65. 16 -- Quinnipiac (AQ) MAAC
66. 16 -- Prairie View A&M (AQ) SWAC
67. 16 -- Robert Morris (AQ) NEC
68. 16 -- Norfolk State (AQ) MEAC

The Big Ten has, by far, the most teams in the field with 11. That's down from 12 in Katz's past projection — it's been proven to be hard to win on the road in that league. Twelve of the league's 14 teams have two or fewer home losses this season.

After the Big Ten comes the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12 and the SEC. These five conferences are projected to have five teams in the field of 68.

First four out: Purdue, Utah, Cincinnati, Rhode Island

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