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NCAAB

Feb 21, 2022

BRUCE MARSHALL'S BRACKETOLOGY

Where did the season go? Thanks to the NFL extending its season to Valentine’s Day, college hoops has had to wait a bit longer than usual to move into its usual featured role. March, thanks goodness, is still reserved for the Madness, though we can only hope that the NFL doesn’t come up with the idea someday soon to extend its season to Easter Sunday, and giving TV viewers the option of watching the NFC Championship game or the finals of the South Regional. Whatever, we’re glad that college hoops at least has a few weeks to move into the spotlight.

In the meantime, the Big Dance is suddenly looming on the horizon, and next week will begin the first of the conference tournaments. We’ll be providing out own periodic updates of how we see the brackets shaping up as move as Selection Sunday gets closer.

As is usually the case in mid-February, the bubble has a “soft” look with various teams moving in and out of the periphery of consideration. By the time the calendar hits March, the bubble usually begins to take a more distinctive shape. And then there are the conference tournaments, where a few “bubble thieves” will undoubtedly emerge, and we begin to wonder which of the highest seeded mid-major entries might be able to squeeze into the field of 68 if getting knocked off in their league tourneys. At the moment, those entries will likely include Iona (Metro-Atlantic), North Texas (Conference USA), Chattanooga (Southern), and South Dakota State (Summit, though each at the moment risks sitting on the wrong side of the cut-line if forced to the at-large route. For the time being, we are projecting Murray State (Ohio Valley) into the field regardless if surviving the conference tourney that begins on March 2 at the Ford Center in Evansville.

We are still about a week or so away from worrying about any of that, but for the time being (President’s Day) have projected a field of 68 with the following multi-bid loop breakdowns:

  • Big East-7
  • Big Ten-7
  • ACC-6
  • Big 12-6
  • SEC-6
  • Mountain West-4
  • Pac 12- 3
  • West Coast-3
  • American-2
  • Missouri Valley-2

Following are our latest bracket projections as of February 21. For the top four seeds, we’re just relaying the latest from the Selection Committee, which is providing a weekly report of how things would shape up if the Dance started today. Of course, it doesn’t (we can already forecast some changes to come in the next report, unlikely that Tennessee, for examples, stays on the 3-line after the loss at Arkansas on Saturday), but to avoid confusion we’ll just ride with the Committee’s current list of the top four seeds before getting round to out own projections for the rest of the field.

NO. 1 SEEDS

  • Gonzaga, Auburn, Arizona, Kansas

NO. 2 SEEDS

  • Duke, Purdue, Kentucky, Baylor

NO. 3 SEEDS

  • Villanova, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Illinois

NO. 4 SEEDS

  • Texas, Wisconsin, UCLA, Providence

NO. 5 SEEDS

  • USC, UConn, Houston, Arkansas

NO. 6 SEEDS

  • Iowa, Alabama, Ohio State, Wake Forest

NO. 7 SEEDS

  • Murray State, Michigan State, Saint Mary's, Boise State

NO. 8 SEEDS

  • Miami-Florida, Notre Dame, LSU, Marquette

NO. 9 SEEDS

  • Seton Hall, Colorado State, Xavier, Wyoming

NO. 10 SEEDS

  • UNC, Creighton, Davidson, Iowa State

NO. 11 SEEDS

  • San Francisco, Rutgers, Chattanooga, SMU

NO. 12 SEEDS

  • North Texas, UNI, San Diego State*, Virginia*, Loyola-Chicago*, Oklahoma*

NO. 13 SEEDS

  • Iona, Vermont, Ohio, South Dakota State

NO. 14 SEEDS

  • Princeton, New Mexico State, Texas State, Montana State

NO. 15 SEEDS

  • Colgate, Cleveland State, Jacksonville State, Wagner

NO. 16 SEEDS

  • Winthrop, Long Beach State, New Orleans*, Norfolk State*, UNC-Wilmington*, Texas Southern*

*- Play-in game participants

LAST FOUR IN

  • San Diego State, Virginia, Loyola-Chi, Oklahoma

LAST FOUR OUT

  • Memphis, TCU, Oregon, Florida

NEXT FOUR OUT

  • Virginia Tech, Belmont, Michigan, Dayton
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