Last Updated Feb 16, 2023, 10:50 AM

2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology Predictions

Bracketology Predictions

2023 NCAA Tournament Futures Odds

As its name implies, the proverbial “bubble” is the most-fluid grouping in Bracketology.  With no official definition, it is subject to wide interpretations.  It also generates the most discussion every year even as few of its inhabitants ever escape the sub-regional round and make it into the Sweet Sixteen. 

The narrowest interpretation of the bubble would include the last four teams projected into the Dance and the first four teams projected out.  Though in truth the grouping is probably much larger, especially with more than a month still to go before Selection Sunday.

In the spirit of this exercise, however, the bubble in invariably the most fun.  At its core, the Big Dance is mostly about hope...first of simply qualifying, which remains paramount for the majority of teams, though the higher up the food chain, hope turns to expectation.  It’s when expectations aren’t met that the biggest tremors are felt every March.  To that end, we offer the current plights of North Carolina and Kentucky, the bluest of blue bloods in college hoops but each having a devil of a time sustaining a run to move clear of the Selection Sunday cut-line. 

North Carolina could be in trouble of missing the NCAA Tournament. (Getty)

UNC & Kentucky on "The Bubble"

A quick reminder about the Tar Heels; about this time last year they were sitting in a similar position, perhaps even more tenuous, before rallying down the stretch and qualifying with room to spare on the 8 -line.  The dynamics, however, feel much different this season, as the current Chapel Hill edition can be labeled as a major underachiever for Hubert Davis after its shock run all for the way to the title game last spring, and ranked number one in various preseason polls.  But with three straight losses at the moment, Carolina is playing its way into potential bubble trouble, and has been demoted three rungs (down to the 10-line) on our newest seeding ladder, with another tricky test on the weekend vs. Clemson, which has also been sliding the wrong direction in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s plight surprises no less, as John Calipari had what was regarded as a consensus top ten contender as it entered the season.  The beatdown loss at home vs. Arkansas at midweek, however, looms ominous, the apparent surge from a few weeks ago that was marked by the upset win over Tennessee has apparently fizzled.  For the moment we are keeping the Cats in our projected field, but just barely as one for the at-large play-in teams. 

Safe to say that Coach Cal can wait no longer for his team to step on the accelerator and stay on ti for the next couple of weeks.  Though UK will be a solid favorite on Saturday at Georgia, a gauntlet of four challenging SEC assignments is lined up right behind, after which we should have an idea if the Cats can breathe a little easier entering next month’s SEC Tourney, or have more work to do.

First Four vs. Next Four

Speaking more of the ever-interesting bubble, a look at our list of first-four and next-four out teams signify some for the more interesting situations to watch in the coming weeks.  For this week, we’ve moved Mississippi State, Wake Forest, Oregon, and Michigan into our new “watch list” with Seton Hall, Utah State, and Wisconsin remaining from last week. 

They’re joined by New Mexico, which would rather not be listed here but temporarily demoted after the Lobos lost for a second time in two weeks to Nevada (albeit as close as could get) on Tuesday night.  The only at-large team from last week that we have pulled from our new projections, with Northwestern moving into the field of 68 in the Lobos’ place this week.

The bubble fun will accelerate in the next couple of weeks before the inevitable shrinking the closer we get to Selection Sunday. As always, stay tuned!   

Bracketology Seed Predictions

Projections as of February 9, 2023

1. Purdue, Houston, Alabama, Arizona
2. UCLA, Virginia,  Kansas, Tennessee
3. Texas, Baylor, Xavier, Kansas State
4. Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga, Creighton, Providence
5. Iowa State, Miami-Fla, Marquette, Indiana
6. UConn, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Arkansas 
7. Duke, Rutgers, Iowa, TCU
8. San Diego State, NC State, Missouri, Auburn
9-Michigan State, Maryland, USC, Florida Atlantic
10-North Carolina, Ttexas A&M, Clemson, Northwestern
11-Nevada, Oral Roberts, Charleston, Oklahoma State
12-VCU, Toledo, West Virginia*, Boise State*, Memphis*, Kentucky*
13-Drake, UC Santa Barbara, Utah Valley, UL-Lafayette
14-Colgate, Furman, Liberty, Eastern Washington
15-UNC-Asheville, Princeton, Iona, Youngstown State
16- Morehead State, Vermont, UMES*, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi*, Alcorn State*, Fairleigh Dickinson

* Play-in game participants at First Four in Dayton

Last Four In...

  1. West Virginia
  2. Boise State
  3. Memphis
  4. Kentucky

First Four Out...

  1. New Mexico
  2. Mississippi State
  3. Seton Hall
  4. Utah State

Next Four Out...

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Wake Forest
  3. Michigan
  4. Oregon

Bracketology Conference Bid Predictions

The Big Ten is expected to get the most bids, led by projected No. 1 Purdue. (Getty)
  • Big Ten: 9
  • Big 12: 8
  • ACC: 7
  • SEC: 7
  • Big East: 5
  • Mountain West: 3
  • Pac-12: 3
  • American: 2
  • West Coast: 2

In this week: Northwestern, Toledo, Utah Valley, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Youngstown State, Iona, Morehead State, UMES, Alcorn State

Out this week: New Mexico, Kent State, Southern Utah, Siena, Milwaukee, UT Martin, SE Louisiana, Howard, Southern U

Biggest Movers Since Last Update:

February 3 - Bracketology Update

  • Northwestern (First Four out to 10)
  • Indiana (10 to 5)
  • TCU (4 to 7)
  • Florida Atlantic (6 to 9)
  • North Carolina (7 to 10)
  • Pittsburgh (8 to 6)
  • Iowa (9 to 7)
  • Marquette (3 to 5)
  • Auburn (6 to 8)
  • Clemson (8 to 10)
  • Boise State 10 to 12)  
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