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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | January 22, 2022

2022 men's NCAA tournament bracket predictions, 50 days before Selection Sunday

2022 March Madness men's bracket predictions, 50 days to Selection Sunday

Selection Sunday for the 2022 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament will hit the 50 days away marker on Saturday. With March Madness rapidly approaching, NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz has updated his projections for the 2022 men's basketball tournament.

Here's how Katz projects the 68-team field to look, through Thursday, Jan. 20.

First, here's the bracket in table form.

March Madness bracket predictions

Seed WEST EAST MIDWEST SOUTH
1 Gonzaga Kansas Baylor Auburn
16 UNC Wilmington Troy Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/Alcorn State Colgate/Norfolk State
         
8 Oklahoma North Carolina Miami Texas
9 Florida State San Diego State Marquette Davidson
         
5 Providence Tennessee Alabama Ohio State
12 Mississippi State Saint Mary's/Creighton Chattanooga Oregon/Texas A&M
         
4 Houston Michigan State UCLA Texas Tech
13 Vermont Ohio Louisiana Tech Oakland
         
6 Loyola Chicago Indiana Iowa State UConn
11 BYU Murray State Iona Arkansas
         
3 Illinois Kentucky LSU Duke
14 Princeton Wagner South Dakota State Liberty
         
7 Seton Hall Iowa Xavier Southern California
10 Colorado State West Virginia Wake Forest San Francisco
         
2 Arizona Villanova Purdue Wisconsin
15 Seattle Fullerton Winthrop Weber State

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

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

Gonzaga and Auburn jump to top overall seeds

The 2021 runner-up, Gonzaga, takes the top overall seed in Andy Katz's latest bracket predictions. Gonzaga holds out of conference wins over projected tournament teams Texas, Alcorn State, UCLA and Texas Tech. So far, Gonzaga has dominated its West Coast Conference opponents, reaching the 110 point mark in its first three outings. If the Bulldogs continue their reign of dominance, Gonzaga could get the top overall seed in back-to-back years.

Auburn is currently Gonzaga's biggest challenger for the top overall seed, rising from a four seed and 13th overall to open 2022. The Tigers have one of the best freshmen in the country in Jabari Smith; the potential first-overall NBA Draft pick along with impact transfers has helped Auburn become — in the eyes of Katz — the best team in the country. With just one loss to UConn, in double-overtime at that, Auburn could push for the No. 1 overall seed before season's end.

Rounding out the No. 1 seeds in Katz's bracket are two Big 12 teams, Kansas and Baylor.

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Number of bids by conference

Conferences with multiple teams in Katz's preseason bracket
Conference Total Teams Teams (Automatic Qualifier in bold)
SEC 8 Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Texas A&M
Big Ten 7 Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, Iowa
Big East 7 Villanova, Providence, UConn, Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette, Creighton
Big 12 7 Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia
ACC 5 Duke, Miami (Fla), North Carolina, Florida State, Wake Forest
Pac-12 4 Arizona, UCLA, USC, Oregon
West Coast 4 Gonzaga, San Francisco, BYU, Saint Mary's
Mountain West 2 San Diego State, Colorado State

The SEC leads all conferences with eight teams in the projected tournament field. The Big Ten, Big East and Big 12 follow with seven teams apiece. It's the first time in Andy Katz's bracket predictions this season the the Big Ten has not led all conferences with the most tournament teams. 

The ACC, for all of its struggles this season, has one more team than in the last projected bracket, with the Hurricanes and Seminoles joining the party. However, the ACC's struggles are reflected in the conference's seedings; the ACC's first appearance within the overall seeds is the lowest of any conference with multiple teams in the field outside of the Mountain West.

ACC: Miami and Florida State stand in the way of Duke men's basketball winning the ACC

Teams on the outside looking in

Here are Andy Katz's first four teams out.

First four out

1. Virginia Tech
2. Florida
3. Wyoming
4. Michigan

Virginia Tech and Florida are the first two teams out in the latest bracket projections. After alternating wins and losses in December, the Hokies have a chance to boost their tournament resume with two games remaining against both North Carolina and Miami, plus a road matchup against Florida State. Meanwhile, Florida started 2022 with a three-game losing streak, but can prove itself against its tough remaining SEC slate.

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Michigan also sits among the first four teams out, falling from its status as a potential title pick in the preseason after earning a No. 1 seed and advancing to the Elite Eight in 2021. This season, the Wolverines have just one win over a projected tournament team (San Diego State) and sit 2-3 in Big Ten play.

Here are the next teams to miss the cut.

Next four out

5. St. Bonaventure
6. TCU
7. Rutgers
8. UAB

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Andy Katz's field of 68

Here is Katz’s full seed list in order, 1-68:

RANK | SEED | TEAM | CONFERENCE
1. 1 -- Gonzaga | WCC (AQ)
2. 1 -- Auburn | SEC (AQ)
3. 1 -- Baylor | Big 12
4. 1 -- Kansas | Big 12 (AQ)
5. 2 -- Purdue | Big Ten
6. 2 -- Arizona | Pac-12 (AQ)
7. 2 -- Villanova | Big East 
8. 2 -- Wisconsin | Big Ten
9. 3 -- Duke | ACC
10. 3 -- Kentucky | SEC
11. 3 -- LSU | SEC
12. 3 -- Illinois | Big Ten (AQ)
13. 4 -- UCLA | Pac-12
14. 4 -- Texas Tech | Big 12
15. 4 -- Michigan State | Big Ten
16. 4 -- Houston | AAC (AQ)
17. 5 -- Ohio State | Big Ten
18. 5 -- Tennessee | SEC
19. 5 -- Alabama | SEC
20. 5 -- Providence | Big East (AQ)
21. 6 -- Iowa State | Big 12
22. 6 -- Loyola Chicago | MVC (AQ)
23. 6 -- UConn | Big East
24. 6 -- Indiana | Big Ten
25. 7 -- Xavier | Big East
26. 7 -- USC | Pac-12
27. 7 -- Seton Hall | Big East
28. 7 -- Iowa | Big Ten
29. 8 -- Miami (Fla.) | ACC (AQ)
30. 8 -- Texas | Big 12
31. 8 -- Oklahoma | Big 12
32. 8 -- North Carolina | ACC
33. 9 -- Davidson | A10 (AQ)
34. 9 -- Marquette | Big East
35. 9 -- San Diego State | MWC (AQ)
36. 9 -- Florida State | ACC
37. 10 -- West Virginia | Big 12
38. 10 -- San Francisco | WCC
39. 10 -- Wake Forest | ACC
40. 10 -- Colorado State | MWC
41. 11 -- BYU | WCC
42. 11 -- Arkansas | SEC
43. 11 -- Murray State  | OVC (AQ)
44. 11 -- Iona | MAAC (AQ)
45. 12 -- Mississippi State | SEC
46. 12 -- Saint Mary's | WCC
47. 12 -- Creighton | Big East
48. 12 -- Oregon | Pac-12
49. 12 -- Texas A&M | SEC
50. 12 -- Chattanooga | Southern (AQ)
51. 13 -- Ohio | MAC (AQ)
52. 13 -- Oakland | Horizon (AQ)
53. 13 -- Louisiana Tech | Conference USA (AQ)
54. 13 -- Vermont | America East (AQ)
55. 14 -- South Dakota State | Summit (AQ)
56. 14 -- Wagner | NEC (AQ)
57. 14 -- Liberty | ASun (AQ)
58. 14 -- Princeton | Ivy (AQ)
59. 15 -- Seattle | WAC (AQ)
60. 15 -- Weber State | Big Sky (AQ)
61. 15 -- Winthrop | Big South (AQ)
62. 15 -- Fullerton | Big West (AQ)
63. 16 -- Troy | Sun Belt (AQ)
64. 16 -- UNC Wilmington | CAA (AQ)
65. 16 -- Colgate | Patriot (AQ)
66. 16 -- Norfolk State | MEAC (AQ)
67. 16 -- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi | Southland (AQ)
68. 16 -- Alcorn State | SWAC (AQ)

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