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Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | March 4, 2021

2021 NCAA bracketology: March Madness predictions by Andy Katz

How to pick a 15 vs. 2 upset in the NCAA tournament — if you dare

There's a change on the No. 1 seed line in March Madness correspondent Andy Katz's latest NCAA tournament bracket predictions. In addition to Gonzaga and Baylor, there are still two Big Ten teams that are projected No. 1 seeds, except Illinois replaced Ohio State. The Wolverines also leap-frogged the Bears, becoming the second No. 1 seed, after Gonzaga, with Baylor and Illinois as the third and fourth No. 1 seeds, respectively.

Katz's latest predictions reflect the games played through Sunday, Feb. 28 (before Rutgers and St. Bonaventure lost Monday). Katz will make bracket projections next Monday and on Selection Sunday, which is March 14. He got 67 of the 68 teams correct in his final prediction before Selection Sunday in 2019.

FILL IT OUT: Get a printable 2021 NCAA bracket here

Here is where Katz projects this year's tournament field based on games through Feb. 28 (Tap or click here to open the bracket in a new window.)

The 2021 March Madness bracket, predicted by Andy Katz on Feb. 28. The 2021 March Madness bracket, predicted by Andy Katz on Feb. 28.

And here's that same bracket in table form.

  1 4 2 3
1 Gonzaga Illinois Michigan Baylor
16 Prairie View/North Carolina A&T Texas State/Bryant James Madison Cleveland State
         
2 Iowa Alabama West Virginia Ohio State
15 South Dakota State Siena Grand Canyon UMBC
         
3 Florida State Kansas Houston Villanova
14 Eastern Washington Liberty Navy Abilene Christian
         
4 Oklahoma Texas Tech Arkansas Purdue
13 Belmont UNC Greensboro UC Santa Barbara Winthrop
         
5 USC Creighton Texas Oklahoma State
12 Seton Hall/Drake Wichita State Toledo Western Kentucky
         
6 Colorado Maryland Wisconsin Clemson
11 Michigan State/Boise State Georgia Tech St. Bonaventure VCU
         
7 UCLA Virginia Tech Virginia Missouri
10 Louisville UConn LSU North Carolina
         
8 Tennessee BYU Florida Rutgers
9 San Diego State Loyola Chicago Oregon Xavier

Let's take a closer look at Katz's bracket.

Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor and Illinois are the No. 1 seeds

Compared to Katz's previous bracket predictions, three of the four No. 1 seeds are different in terms of which school is in which position, in relation to the 68-team, overall seed list. The only constant was Gonzaga remaining as the No. 1 overall seed. Michigan passed Baylor to become the second No. 1 seed, with the Bears at No. 3 overall on the 68-team list. Then, Illinois replaced Big Ten foe Ohio State as the fourth No. 1 seed.

The changes coincide with Michigan passing Baylor in the AP poll to reach the No. 2 overall ranking, with the Bears at No. 3, and Illinois climbing to No. 4.

Gonzaga, Michigan and Baylor are also the top three teams in the NET rankings, as of March 1.

If those predicted seeds are to hold, then the Big Ten could join an exclusive club of conferences that had multiple No. 1 seeds in the same NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Gonzaga is attempting to take an undefeated record into Selection Sunday.

 

Recent national champions in an unusual position

Duke and North Carolina combined to win three national championships last decade and the Tar Heels were the national runners-up in 2016, so the two Tobacco Road rivals combined to appear in 40 percent of the championship games from 2010 through 2019.

In Katz's latest predicted bracket for 2021, North Carolina is projected to make the field as a No. 10 seed. Duke is not in the projected field.

Kentucky, which won the 2012 national championship and lost in the 2014 national championship, isn't in the tournament picture for Katz. Michigan State, which has made every NCAA tournament since 1998 and which is the last Big Ten team to win the national championship, is a No. 11 seed in Katz's latest projected tournament field.

Here's Katz's full field of 68:

RANK | SEED | TEAM | CONFERENCE
1. 1 -- Gonzaga | WCC (AQ)
2. 1 -- Michigan | Big Ten (AQ)
3. 1 -- Baylor | Big 12 (AQ)
4. 1 -- Illinois | Big Ten
5. 2 -- Ohio State | Big Ten
6. 2 -- Alabama | SEC (AQ)
7. 2 -- Iowa | Big Ten
8. 2 -- West Virginia | Big 12
9. 3 -- Florida State | ACC (AQ)
10. 3 -- Kansas | Big 12
11. 3 -- Houston | American (AQ)
12. 3 -- Villanova | Big East (AQ)
13. 4 -- Arkansas | SEC
14. 4 -- Oklahoma | Big 12
15. 4 -- Texas Tech | Big 12
16. 4 -- Purdue | Big Ten
17. 5 -- Texas | Big 12
18. 5 -- USC | Pac-12 (AQ)
19. 5 -- Creighton | Big East
20. 5 -- Oklahoma State | Big 12
21. 6 -- Clemson | ACC
22. 6 -- Colorado | Pac-12
23. 6 -- Maryland | Big Ten
24. 6 -- Wisconsin | Big Ten
25. 7 -- Virginia | ACC
26. 7 -- UCLA | Pac-12
27. 7 -- Virginia Tech | ACC
28. 7 -- Missouri | SEC
29. 8 -- Rutgers | Big Ten
30. 8 -- Tennessee | SEC
31. 8 -- BYU | WCC
32. 8 -- Florida | SEC
33. 9 -- San Diego State | Mountain West
34. 9 -- Oregon | Pac-12
35. 9 -- Xavier | Big East | SEC
36. 9 -- Loyola Chicago | Missouri Valley (AQ)
37. 10 -- LSU |SEC
38. 10 -- UConn | Big East
39. 10 -- North Carolina | ACC
40. 10 -- Louisville | ACC
41. 11 -- St. Bonaventure | Atlantic 10 (AQ)
42. 11 -- Georgia Tech | ACC
43. 11 -- VCU | Atlantic 10
44. 11 -- Michigan State | Big Ten
45. 11 -- Boise State | Mountain West
46. 11 -- Seton Hall | Big East
47. 12 -- Drake | Missouri Valley
48. 12 -- Wichita State | American (AQ)
49. 12 -- Western Kentucky | C-USA (AQ)
50. 12 -- Toledo | MAC (AQ)
51. 13 -- Belmont | OVC (AQ)
52. 13 -- UC Santa Barbara | Big West (AQ)
53. 13 -- Winthrop | Big South (AQ)
54. 13 -- UNC Greensboro | Southern (AQ)
55. 14 -- Liberty | ASUN (AQ)
56. 14 -- Abilene Christian | Southland (AQ)
57. 14 -- Navy | Patriot (AQ)
58. 14 -- Eastern Washington | Big Sky (AQ)
59. 15 -- South Dakota State | Summit (AQ)
60. 15 -- Grand Canyon | WAC (AQ)
61. 15 -- UMBC | America East  (AQ)
62. 15 -- Siena | MAAC (AQ)
63. 16 -- Cleveland State | Horizon (AQ)
64. 16 -- James Madison | CAA (AQ)
65. 16 -- Texas State | Sun Belt (AQ)
66. 16 -- Bryant | NEC (AQ)
67. 16 -- Prairie View A&M | SWAC (AQ)
68. 16 -- North Carolina A&T | MEAC (AQ)

 

Here's the schedule for this season's tournament:

Round Dates LocationS
Selection Sunday Sunday, March 14  
First Four Thursday, March 18 Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
First Round Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium
Second Round Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22 Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium
Sweet 16 Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28 Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse
Elite Eight Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 Lucas Oil Stadium
Final Four Saturday, April 3 and Monday, April 5 Lucas Oil Stadium

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