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Andy Katz | NCAA.com | December 8, 2022

2023 March Madness men's bracket predictions one month into the season, by Andy Katz

Andy Katz's bracket predictions 1 month into the season

It may be only December, but it's never too early to try to project the 68-team field for the March Madness men's tournament.

NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz has put together his first in-season bracket predictions for the 2023 NCAA men's basketball tournament. Here's how he projects things to shake out, through games played on Wednesday, Dec. 7. 

First, here's the bracket in table form (scroll to the right to view the full bracket).

2023 March Madness men's bracket predictions

SEED MIDWEST WEST SOUTH EAST
1 Houston Virginia Purdue UConn
16 Northwestern State High Point/Sacred Heart Norfolk State/Grambling UMass Lowell
         
8 Ohio State Kansas State Xavier Miami (Fla.)
9 Southern California Rutgers Virginia Tech UNLV
         
5 Iowa State Kentucky UCLA TCU
12 Kent State Charleston UAB Iona
         
4 Arkansas Baylor Gonzaga Illinois
13 Murray State Florida Gulf Coast Cleveland State Portland State
         
6 Creighton Mississippi State Wisconsin Arizona State
11 Missouri UMass Butler/New Mexico LSU/Iowa
         
3 Indiana Arizona Alabama  Duke
14 Chattanooga Seattle Cornell Southern Miss
         
7 San Diego State North Carolina Auburn Michigan State
10 Marquette Texas Tech Michigan Utah
         
2 Kansas Maryland Texas  Tennessee
15 UC Santa Barbara American Denver SIU Edwardsville

Let's take a closer look at Katz's predictions:

Top seeds in the NCAA bracket

The No. 1 seeds in Andy Katz's first bracket predictions, in order of overall seeding, are Houston, Purdue, UConn and Virginia. This is a far cry from the preseason rankings. In the initial AP top 25, Houston checked in at No. 3, with North Carolina first, Gonzaga second and Kentucky fourth. Each of those teams have dropped down in the early going, but Katz still has them all in the tournament. 

LATEST RANKINGS: Click or tap here to view the latest AP Top 25

Houston has surged out of the gates to 9-0, moving up to first in the polls, thanks in large part to the best defense in the nation, which has allowed just 47.3 points per game. They get a big test with No. 10 Alabama on Sunday.

Purdue, fourth in the polls, looks to be the favorite in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are 9-0 with notable ranked wins over Gonzaga and Duke. Topping Katz's latest Power 36, Purdue looks like one of the most complete teams.

Meanwhile, UConn (10-0) is yet to start play in the Big East, but the Huskies look primed to assert their dominance on the conference. They've been strong on both sides of the ball, checking in with the fifth-best points differential at plus-23.8, and already have some hardware under their belt this season, winning the Phil Knight Invitational. 

Looking at Virginia, the Cavaliers have been proving any preseason doubters wrong. At 8-0, they have big wins over Baylor, Illinois and Michigan, and look like early favorites entering ACC play. They face a huge challenge against Houston on Dec. 17.

We'll see how things shake out as conference play heats up.

Number of bids by conference

Conferences with multiple teams in Katz's bracket projections
CONFERENCE TOTAL TEAMS TEAMS
Big Ten 10 Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin
SEC 8 Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee
Big 12 7 Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech 
Big East 5 Butler, Creighton, Marquette, UConn, Xavier
ACC 5 Duke, North Carolina, Miami (Fla.), Virginia, Virginia Tech
Pac-12 4 Arizona, Southern California, UCLA, Utah
Mountain West 3 New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV

The Big TenSEC and the Big 12 are very well-represented in Katz's predictions.

POWER 36: Click or tap here to view Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings

Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin are all firmly in the picture in the Big Ten. Michigan and Michigan State each fell out of the latest Power 36 rankings, but they should still find their way into the field.

Next up is the SEC, which has eight teams in Katz's predicted bracket. The Big 12 follows, as reigning national champion Kansas looks set to have another strong season, while Baylor, Iowa State and TCU pose as challengers within the conference. 

It's mostly the usual suspects in the Big East, ACC and Pac-12. However, definitely keep an eye on North Carolina (5-4) as the preseason favorite has fallen out of the rankings amid a brutal slump. 

In the Mountain West, UNLV and New Mexico have their hats in the ring alongside San Diego State.

Teams on the outside looking in

First Four out

  1. San Francisco
  2. Utah State
  3. Clemson
  4. Oklahoma 

Oklahoma and Clemson have both had early slip-ups out of the gate. Clemson dropped close ones to Iowa and South Carolina, while Sam Houston stunned Oklahoma on opening night. But the Sooners seemed to recover before falling to Villanova two games ago. Utah State is off to an undefeated 7-0 start, while San Francisco is close to joining Gonzaga out of the WCC in the 68-team field.

Andy Katz's field of 68

Here is Katz’s full seed list in order, from one through 68:

RANK | SEED | TEAM | CONFERENCE
1. 1 -- Houston | AAC
2. 1 -- Purdue | Big Ten
3. 1 -- UConn | Big East
4. 1 -- Virginia | ACC
5. 2 -- Texas | Big 12
6. 2 -- Tennessee | SEC
7. 2 -- Kansas | Big 12
8. 2 -- Maryland | Big Ten
9. 3 -- Duke | ACC
10. 3 -- Arizona | Pac-12
11. 3 -- Alabama | SEC
12. 3 -- Indiana | Big Ten
13. 4 -- Arkansas | SEC
14. 4 -- Baylor | Big 12
15. 4 -- Illinois | Big Ten
16. 4 -- Gonzaga | WCC
17. 5 -- Iowa State | Big 12
18. 5 -- UCLA | Pac-12
19. 5 -- Kentucky | SEC
20. 5 -- TCU | Big 12
21. 6 -- Creighton | Big East
22. 6 -- Wisconsin | Big Ten
23. 6 -- Arizona State | Pac-12
24. 6 -- Mississippi State| SEC
25. 7 -- North Carolina | ACC
26. 7 -- San Diego State | Mountain West
27. 7 -- Auburn | SEC
28. 7 -- Michigan State | Big Ten
29. 8 -- Ohio State | Big Ten
30. 8 -- Xavier | Big East
31. 8 -- Kansas State | Big 12
32. 8 -- Miami (Fla.) | ACC
33. 9 -- Rutgers | Big Ten
34. 9 -- Virginia Tech | ACC

35. 9 -- Southern California | Pac-12

36. 9 -- UNLV | Mountain West
37. 10 -- Marquette | Big East
38. 10 -- Michigan | Big Ten
39. 10 -- Texas Tech | Big 12
40. 10 -- Utah | Pac-12
41. 11 -- Missouri | SEC
42. 11 -- Butler | Big East
43. 11 -- New Mexico | Mountain West
44. 11 -- UMass | A10
45. 12 -- LSU | SEC
46. 12 -- Iowa | Big Ten
47. 12 -- Charleston | CAA
48. 12 --  Kent State | MAC
49. 12 -- UAB | Conference USA
50. 12 -- Iona | MAAC
51. 13 -- Florida Gulf Coast | ASUN
52. 13 -- Portland State | Big Sky
53. 13 -- Murray State | Missouri Valley
54. 13 -- Cleveland State | Horizon
55. 14 -- Southern Miss | Sun Belt
56. 14 -- Seattle | WAC
57. 14 -- Cornell | Ivy
58. 14 -- Chattanooga | Southern
59. 15 -- UCSB | Big West
60. 15 -- Denver | Summit
61. 15 -- SIUE | Ohio Valley
62. 15 -- American | Patriot
63. 16 -- Northwestern State | Southland
64. 16 -- UMass Lowell | America East
65. 16 -- High Point | Big South
66. 16 -- Sacred Heart | Northeast
67. 16 -- Norfolk State | MEAC
68. 16 -- Grambling State | SWAC

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