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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | January 8, 2022

Men's March Madness bracket predictions: Top seeds get a new look ahead of 2022

2022 March Madness bracket predictions, less than 3 months to selections

December is almost over, meaning March is just a few months away. That means March Madness is closing in, and NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz has updated his projections for the 2022 men's basketball tournament. The season is flying by, but here's how Katz projects the 68-team field to look, as of Dec. 20.

Here's the bracket in table form.

March Madness bracket predictions

  WEST EAST MIDWEST SOUTH
1 Arizona Duke Purdue Baylor
16 Campbell FGCU/Texas Southern Nicholls State/Norfolk State Western Illinois
         
8 Minnesota Iowa Texas Tech BYU
9 West Virginia Oklahoma North Carolina Virginia Tech
         
5 Villanova Xavier Seton Hall Tennessee
12 Murray State Davidson Iona UAB
         
4 Iowa State Auburn Kentucky  Ohio State
13 New Mexico State UC Irvine Chattanooga Oakland
         
6 Wisconsin Providence Illinois Colorado State
11 Creighton Arkansas/Belmont Saint Mary's/St. Bonaventure Northwestern
         
3 LSU Michigan State Houston Southern California
14 Ohio Navy Wagner Vermont
         
7 Loyola Chicago Texas UConn Michigan
10 Indiana San Francisco Florida Wake Forest
         
2 Gonzaga UCLA Kansas Alabama
15 Weber State Princeton Texas State Towson

RANKINGS: Click here for the latest NET rankings | AP Top 25

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

Defending champ Baylor lands No. 1 overall seed

The defending champion Bears are back on top after starting the season undefeated. Early in the regular season, Baylor picked up wins over Michigan State, Villanova and Oregon. 

In what has been an unpredictable 2021-22 season, the Bears have been consistent throughout. Combine a strong start with Katzโ€™s prediction that Baylor takes the Big 12 automatic qualifier and that earns the Bears the top overall seed.

SHOCKER: Here are 5 of the biggest surprises after the first month of college basketball 

Other No. 1 seeds get a shake-up

In the preseason, Andy Katz's top seeds were the following: UCLA, Gonzaga, Kansas and Purdue. Only the Boilermakers retain their No. 1 seed this go around as the top of the bracket sees changes.

Joining Purdue with No. 1 seeds are Baylor, Arizona, and Duke. Baylor and Duke slightly rise from three and two seeds, respectively. Meanwhile, Arizona makes a tremendous jump from the fifth team left out of the field to the second overall seed.

The shift at the top of bracket shows how fluid this season has been. Let's see how the new four No. 1 seeds fare and if they can hold on to their top spot when Katz makes his next bracket prediction.

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Number of bids by conference

Number of Bids Conference
10 Big Ten
7 SEC, Big 12
6 Big East
4 ACC, WCC
3 Pac-12
2 OVC, A-10

MORE: The remaining undefeated teams in men's basketball

Last four teams in

Here are Andy Katz's last four teams in:

Last Four in

  1. Saint Mary's
  2. St. Bonaventure
  3. Arkansas
  4. Belmont

The last four teams in have a different look than in the preseason. Arkansas dropped from its projected four seed as did St. Bonaventure from its nine seed. Belmont is no longer projected to win the OVC with Murray State winning the bid, meaning it earns the final spot in the tournament. The largest jump among the four teams comes from Saint Mary's. The Gaels were at the bottom of Katz's bubble in the preseason.

ANALYTICS ANALYSIS: Shot selections are becoming more uniform and that means fewer midrange 2s

Memphis finds itself on the outside looking in 

Here are Andy Katz's first four teams out.

First Four out

  1. Marquette
  2. Memphis
  3. DePaul
  4. UCF

Memphis, with elite freshmen Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, misses the 2022 NCAA tournament in Katz's latest projections. That's a lot of talent that we won't get to see in March Madness unless head coach Penny Hardaway can right the ship.

SEASONS GREETINGS: 4 holiday wishes for March Madness contenders

RANK | SEED | TEAM | CONFERENCE
1. 1 -- Baylor | Big 12 (AQ)
2. 1 -- Arizona | Pac-12 (AQ)
3. 1 -- Purdue | Big Ten (AQ)
4. 1 -- Duke | ACC (AQ)
5. 2 -- Gonzaga | WCC (AQ)
6. 2 -- Kansas | Big 12
7. 2 -- UCLA | Pac-12 
8. 2 -- Alabama | SEC
9. 3 -- Southern California | Pac-12
10. 3 -- Houston | AAC (AQ)
11. 3 -- Michigan State | Big Ten
12. 3 -- LSU | SEC (AQ)
13. 4 -- Auburn | SEC
14. 4 -- Ohio State | Big Ten
15. 4 -- Iowa State | Big 12
16. 4 -- Kentucky | SEC
17. 5 -- Xavier | Big East (AQ)
18. 5 -- Tennessee | SEC
19. 5 -- Villanova | Big East
20. 5 --- Seton Hall | Big East
21. 6 -- Providence | Big East
22. 6 -- Illinois | Big Ten
23. 6 -- Colorado State | Mountain West (AQ)
24. 6 -- Wisconsin | Big Ten
25. 7 -- UConn | Big East
26. 7 -- Texas | Big 12
27. 7 -- Loyola Chicago | MVC (AQ)
28. 7 -- BYU | WCC
29. 8 -- Michigan | Big Ten
30. 8 -- Texas Tech | Big 12
31. 8 -- Iowa | Big Ten
32. 8 -- Minnesota | Big Ten
33. 9 -- West Virginia | Big 12
34. 9 -- North Carolina | ACC
35. 9 -- Virginia Tech | ACC
36. 9 -- Oklahoma | Big 12
37. 10 -- Indiana | Big Ten
38. 10 -- San Francisco | WCC
39. 10 -- Florida | SEC
40. 10 -- Wake Forest | ACC
41. 11 -- Creighton | Big East
42. 11 -- Northwestern | Big Ten
43. 11 -- Arkansas  | SEC
44. 11 -- Belmont | OVC
45. 11 -- Saint Mary's | WCC
46. 11 -- St. Bonaventure | A-10
47. 12 -- Davidson | A-10 (AQ)
48. 12 -- Murray State | OVC (AQ)
49. 12 -- UAB | C-USA (AQ)
50. 12 -- Iona | MAAC (AQ)
51. 13 -- Chattanooga | Southern (AQ)
52. 13 -- New Mexico State | WAC (AQ)
53. 13 -- Oakland | Horizon (AQ)
54. 13 -- UC Irvine | Big West (AQ)
55. 14 -- Ohio | MAC (AQ)
56. 14 -- Navy | Patriot (AQ)
57. 14 -- Wagner | NEC (AQ)
58. 14 -- Vermont | America East (AQ)
59. 15 -- Texas State | Sun Belt (AQ)
60. 15 -- Towson | CAA (AQ)
61. 15 -- Weber State | Big Sky (AQ)
62. 15 -- Princeton | Ivy (AQ)
63. 16 -- Western Illinois | Summit (AQ)
64. 16 -- Campbell | Big South (AQ)
65. 16 -- Florida Gulf Coast | Atlantic Sun (AQ)
66. 16 -- Texas Southern | SWAC (AQ)
67. 15 -- Nicholls | Southland (AQ)
68. 16 -- Norfolk State | MEAC (AQ)

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