College hoops is almost back and it's time for our first look ahead to what the 2021 NCAA tournament field might look like. The season begins Nov. 25 and NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz has released his first projected bracket for 2021 March Madness.
Here are his top 10 seeds, or first ten in, which be breaks down on this week's March Madness 365 podcast:
As we all know, there aren’t just 10 teams in the NCAA tournament, so let’s break down the rest of Katz’s preseason March Madness field:
|16||NC Central/E. Washington||Praire View A&M/St. Francis Pa.||Colgate||Vermont|
|9||LSU||Northern Iowa||UConn||Saint Louis|
|4||Arizona State||Texas Tech||Creighton||Rutgers|
|13||New Mexico State||Stephen F. Austin||Liberty||ETSU|
|6||Stanford||Houston||Florida State||West Virginia|
|14||Hofstra||Akron||North Texas||Little Rock|
|10||Boise State||Ohio State||Oklahoma||Memphis|
|15||UC Irvine||Winthrop||NDSU||Wright State|
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the highlights.
Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova and Illinois are Katz's No. 1 seeds
Those are Katz's picks, right now, for the top seeds. Three of them are easy picks as the No. 1 team headed into this season, according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
“This is the year where I think you can vote any of three teams as the preseason No. 1 — Baylor, Villanova, Gonzaga, in whatever order you want,” Lunardi told Katz on this week’s podcast.
For the fourth No. 1 spot, Katz went with the Fighting Illini. Katz has the Illini automatically qualifying by winning the Big Ten tournament.
Illinois gets the nod over projected No. 2 seeds Iowa, a team led by preseason national Player of the Year favorite Luka Garza, and Kansas, a team that returns last season’s Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Garret.
All four No. 1 seeds bring back a solid core of players.
Gonzaga is led by the returning Corey Kispert. The Zags will also bring in highly-touted freshman Jalen Suggs. Baylor returns potential Big 12 Player of the Year Jared Butler. Villanova will be led by veteran point guard Collin Gillespie as well as return most of its core from last season. And the Illini will return stars Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn — two of the main reasons Katz is so high on Illinois.
Along with Iowa and Kansas, Wisconsin and Virginia, Katz’s favorite to win the ACC, also join the No. 2 line.
Although regular-season scheduling is still to be determined, especially non-conference games, there is a chance we will see conference foes like Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as Baylor and Kansas face each other at least once this year.
Who's on Katz's bubble, right now
Katz went beyond the field of 68 to make some predictions on the bubble for the upcoming season.
First Four out:
Next four out:
Andy Katz's field of 68
Here is Katz’s full seed list in order:
|46||San Diego State||12|
|51||New Mexico State||13|
|53||Stephen F. Austin||13|
|54||East Tennessee State||13|
|61||North Dakota State||15|
|65||North Carolina Central||16|
|67||Prairie View A&M||16|
|68||St. Francis, Pa||16|