2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology Predictions

Bracketology Predictions

2023 NCAA Tournament Futures Odds

The final iteration of the Big 12-SEC Challenge last weekend might provide a few reminders for when the ACC takes the SEC’s place next season:

1) It helps to be at home.  Road trips for non-league games during the middle of the conference season have proven more than a bit distracting for various teams in the past.  Note that the host teams were 8-2 in last week’s Challenge.

2) Watch out for desperate teams.  As the last chance to record meaningful intersectional Ws before Selection Sunday, teams hovering around the “bubble” took great advantage, among them West Virginia (over Auburn),  Oklahoma (over Alabama), and Oklahoma State (over Ole Miss), while another (Missouri, over Iowa State)  used the Challenge to solidify its at-large credentials for the Dance.  

We see considerable movement in our projected field this week, mostly to do with a shuffle of the automatic bids, which figures as many conference races remain in flux.  We also shuffled three teams from our projected at-large field.  A quick list of some of the “movers” who might have enjoyed good, or bad, weeks, follows below...

The Terps are 3-0 in their last three games. (Getty)

Good Week - Maryland

We had been undervaluing the Terps, of whom we viewed as something of a pretender after getting exposed by UCLA in late December, and a slow 3-5 break in the Big Ten.  But now Maryland is above water again (6-5) in conference play after wins in three straight, and within the last week avenged an earlier loss to Wisconsin and then took down Indiana at College Park, where Kevin Willard’s team has yet to lose in conference play. 

Bad Week - Iowa State

No team dropped further in our seed lines the past week, as a no-show effort at Mizzou in the Big 12-SEC Challenge, followed by blowing a 17-point halftime lead at a Texas Tech side that had lost its first eight Big 12 games, knocks the Cyclones down a few lines.  Still time for ISU to move back into “protected seed” territory (lines one thru four, with geographically favorable sub-regional assignments), but it’s jammed in the top few lines, and precipitous slips can be punished.

Good Week – Pittsburgh

Had the season begun in Thanksgiving week (as it used to in the old days), the Panthers could discard their 1-3 start and consider themselves a serious candidate for a protected seed.  Since November 20, Jeff Capel’s merry band of transfers has beaten Northwestern (on the road), NC State (on the road), Syracuse (on the road), North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest, Miami-Fla, and, for good measure, another win over the Tar Heels (this time on the road).  Wins in the past week over the Canes and the most-recent over UNC on Wednesday have the Panthers jumping from the ten-line to the eight-line this week.  Maybe we have Pitt too low?

Bad Week – Arizona State

Losses at home vs. UCLA and USC the previous week didn’t knock the Sun Devils out fo the projected field.  But add in subsequent setbacks last weekend in a lost trip to the Northwest at the Washington schools, and suddenly Bobby Hurley’s troops are looking at a four-game slump and a ticket to the NIT unless they began to pull out of their lurch ASAP...such as this weekend at home vs. the Oregon schools.   

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Meanwhile some movement just beyond the cut-line with a couple of teams we are going to keep an eye on as we move into February.  Welcome to the “bubble” the following...

Bubble Watch - Seton Hall

The Pirates have taken advantage of the bottom and middle tiers of the Big East, unbeaten vs. the stragglers (DePaul, Georgetown, and Butler) and the mid-rung (St. John’s, whipped for a second time on Wednesday night in Queens).  The top tier of the Big East (Providence, Xavier, Creighton, and Marquette) has inflicted all of the league defeats, while pre-league wins over Memphis and Rutgers are aging well.  The recent thriller over UConn in Newark is also part of a current 6-1 run.  Claim a scalp or two vs. Creighton, Xavier, or Providence in the next few weeks, and keep taking care of business vs. everyone else, and Shaheen Holloway will have a chance to get back to the Dance after last year’s magic run with Saint Peter’s.

The Pirates are 6-1 in their last seven games. (Getty)

Bubble Watch - Florida

Many thought the Gators blew their chance to move onto the bubble with their loss at Kansas State in the Challenge last weekend.  But that was just the first leg of a crucial four-game stretch for Todd Golden’s crew, which passed the second test with flying colors in the midweek cruise past high-flying Tennessee at Gainesville.  Now comes Kentucky at Rupp Arena on the weekend, followed by a trip to Alabama next Wednesday.  Consensus opinion in the SEC was that the Gators needed to win at least two of these four, then close fast into the SEC Tourney, to enter  the bubble conversation; they’re halfway there after the big midweek win over the Vols.

Bracketology Seed Predictions

Projections as of February 2, 2023

1. Purdue, Houston, Alabama, Tennessee
2. UCLA, Arizona, Virginia,  Kansas
3. Texas, Marquette, Xavier, Gonzaga
4. Baylor, Kansas State, Providence,  TCU
5. Iowa State, Saint Mary’s, Illinois, Creighton
6. Miami-Fl, UConn, Auburn, Florida Atlantic 
7. Duke, Rutgers, Arkansas, North Carolina
8. NC State, Clemson, Pitt, Missouri
9. Michigan State, Iowa, San Diego State, Charleston
10. USC, Indiana, Maryland, Boise State
11. Memphis, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth, Kentucky
12. Oral Roberts, Kent State, New Mexico*, Nevada*, West Virginia*, Oklahoma State*
13. Drake, UC Santa Barbara, Liberty, UL-Lafayette
14. Colgate, Furman, Southern Utah, Princeton
15. UNC-Asheville, Eastern Washington, Siena, Milwaukee
16. UT-Martin, Vermont,  Howard*, Southern U*, Fairleigh Dickinson*, SE Louisiana*  

* Play-in game participants at First Four in Dayton

Updated on 07/25/2024
Bonus Code VIBONUS1600 Claim Now

Last Four In...

New Mexico, Nevada, Memphis, Wake Forest

First Four Out...

Northwestern, Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Utah State

Next Four Out...

Penn State, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona State 

Bracketology Conference Bid Predictions

  • ACC: 7
  • SEC: 7
  • Big Ten: 7
  • Big 12: 7
  • Big East: 5
  • Mountain West: 4
  • Pac-12: 3
  • American: 2
  • West Coast: 2

In this Week: Maryland, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Furman, UT-Martin, Siena, Southern Utah, Drake, UL-Lafayette
Out this Week: Wisconsin, Arizona State, Wake Forest, Samford, SIU-Edwardsville, Iona, Seattle, Southern Illinois, Marshall

Biggest Movers Since Last Update:

January 26 - Bracketology Update

  • Creighton (8 to 5)
  • Iowa State (2 to 5)
  • Florida Atlantic (8 to 6)
  • Duke (9 to 7)
  • Pitt (10 to 8)
  • Missouri (10 to 8)
  • North Carolina (5 to 7)
  • Michigan State (7 to 9)