Predicting the NCAA tournament bracket

Selection Sunday is just three weeks away, so it’s time to pay close attention to which teams are safely in the field and which still have some work to do. Here is the latest set of projections from our newest bracketologist, Jordan Schwartz.

Remember: Now that the field has expanded to include 68 teams, there will be four play-in games before the normal 64-team field begins play. The "First Four" will be comprised of two games between the four lowest-seeded at-large teams and two games between the four lowest-seeded automatic bid teams. The two winners of the at-large games will be placed into the field at a spot determined by the Selection Committee on Selection Sunday (most likely as an 11, 12 or 13 seed) and the two winners of the automatic bid games will be placed into the field as 16 seeds.



Seed Team Comment
at Cleveland
1   Ohio State The Buckeyes’ only two losses have been on the road against RPI top-18 teams.
16 Florida Atlantic FAU hasn’t danced in nine years.
8 Old Dominion ODU picked up a nice BracketBuster victory when it downed Cleveland State for its third top-50 win.
9 Washington Washington played well in a one-point loss at Arizona, but the Huskies came up short, falling to a measly 2-4 against the top 50.
at Tampa
5 Vanderbilt Vandy’s 77.6 points per-game average is tied for 18th in the nation.
12 Colorado State/
CSU could really use a win at BYU or SDSU; Marquette’s 68 RPI is not good, but its three best wins are better than any other bubble team.
4 St. John’s The Red Storm is now tied with Pitt and Notre Dame for most RPI top-25 wins in the country (6).
13 Belmont No one has more wins than Belmont, but 16 of the 25 have come against sub-200 competition.
at Chicago
6 Texas A&M The Aggies have straightened themselves out with four straight wins.
11 Illinois Illinois has lost seven of 11.
3 Notre Dame Notre Dame’s seven-game win streak came to an end at West Virginia.
14 Oakland Oakland’s 83.6 points per game rank third in America.
at Charlotte
7 UNLV The Rebels’ win at Colorado State was their third against the top 50.
10 Memphis Memphis lost at Rice but hangs onto a bid thanks to a 4-3 mark against the top 50.
2 Duke Duke’s RPI (6), strength of schedule (39) and records against the RPI top 25 (1-1) and top 50 (6-2) are not good enough for a No. 1 seed.
15 Miami (OH) The RedHawks hold a half-game lead in the Mid-American Conference.




Seed Team Comment
at Denver
1 BYU BYU is 3-0 vs. the RPI top 25, and its RPI, strength of schedule (SOS) and records vs. the top 50, vs. the top 100 and in road/neutral games are all better than what appears on Pitt’s resume.
16 Montana/
  McNeese State
Montana has the 17th-best defense in the country; McNeese State hasn’t made the tournament since 2002.
8 Kansas State KSU was the bubble team that improved its chances the most last week by beating top-ranked Kansas.
9 Georgia Georgia picked up a big win at Tennessee on Saturday to notch its third top-50 victory.
at Denver
5 Louisville Louisville lost at Cincinnati last week but then beat UConn.
12 Butler The Bulldogs’ four top-50 wins are keeping them in the field.
4 North Carolina The Tar Heels won a defensive battle over BC on Saturday 48-46.
13 Harvard Harvard reclaims first place in the Ivy after Princeton’s loss at Brown.
at Tampa
6 West Virginia The Mountaineers have six top-50 wins.
11 Penn State When you compare all the bubble teams, PSU has one of the top two strength of schedules and is one of nine schools with an RPI top-25 victory (Wisconsin).
3 Florida The Gators finish their regular-season slate against four top-80 teams.
14 Bucknell Bucknell has won five in a row.
at Charlotte
7 Missouri Missouri’s 83 points-per-game average is tied for fifth in the country.
10 Saint Mary’s The Gaels need to bounce back from their loss to Utah State with a win over Gonzaga if they want to feel safe about their at-large chances.
2 Georgetown The Hoyas have the No. 5 RPI, No. 3 SOS, are 5-5 vs. the RPI top 25 and are 11-4 away from home.
15 Long Island LIU’s 13-3 road mark is eighth best in the country.




Seed Team Comment
at Tulsa
1 Kansas Despite last week’s loss at Kansas State, the Jayhawks are still the No. 1 team in the RPI.
16 Bethune-Cookman/
  Texas Southern
Bethune-Cookman has won three in a row to jump into first place in the MEAC, while Texas Southern has reeled off six straight.
8 Cincinnati The Bearcats’ big win over Louisville was their third over an RPI top-25 team.
9 Minnesota The Gophers have dropped four of five.
at Tucson
5 Villanova ‘Nova escaped DePaul in overtime but lost at home to Syracuse on Monday night.
12 Cleveland State The Vikings lost their BracketBuster to ODU, but they still lead the Horizon.


4 Kentucky The Wildcats don’t have a single bad loss this season.
13 Missouri State The Bears were exposed by Valpo in their BracketBuster game.
at Washington D.C.
6 Arizona The Wildcats picked up a big win over Washington, but that was just their second vs. the top 50.
11 Florida State FSU looked good in its first game without Chris Singleton, beating Wake by 18.
3 Connecticut The Huskies would’ve been a No. 2 seed if not for a loss at Louisville on Friday.
14 Coastal Carolina The Chanticleers’ 22-game win streak was snapped by Gardner-Webb.
at Tucson
7 Temple The Owls take their eight-game win streak to Cameron Indoor on Wednesday.
10 Michigan State The Spartans scored their fourth top-50 victory over Illinois on Saturday.
2 San Diego State SDSU will attempt to wrestle away BYU’s 1 seed when two of the top three teams in the RPI meet for the second time this season on Saturday.
15 Fairfield The Stags have won 10 of 11.




Seed Team Comment
at Tulsa
1 Texas The Longhorns suffered a shocking loss at Nebraska, but they are still 7-2 vs. the top 50.
16 Long Beach State Long Beach State has won six in a row.
8 Tennessee UT will most likely make the field because of five top-50 wins and the second-strongest schedule in the country.
9 UCLA UCLA’s six-game win streak came to an end in overtime at Cal on Sunday.
at Washington D.C.
5 Wisconsin The Badgers lost at Purdue, but bounced back with a triumph over Penn State.
12 Boston College/
  Southern Miss
BC remains in the field thanks to strong computer numbers (RPI 45, SOS 19) and seven wins over the top 100; Southern Miss is the last team in.
4 Syracuse C.J. Fair is scoring in double figures off the bench in the past five contests for the Orange, who beat Villanova on Monday.
13 College of Charleston Charleston downed Vermont in the BracketBusters to run its win streak to six games.
at Chicago
6 Xavier The Musketeers have a good opportunity to finish the regular season on a nine-game win streak.
11 UAB UAB’s tourney hopes will be on the line when it travels to Southern Miss on March 2.
3 Purdue E’Twaun Moore’s career-high 38 points led Purdue past Ohio State and pulled the Boilermakers within one game of first place.
14 Vermont The Catamounts’ 10-game streak was snapped by Charleston.
at Cleveland
7 George Mason The Patriots have won13 straight, the longest streak in the nation.
10 Utah State Utah State was the biggest winner of BracketBuster weekend. The Aggies upset Saint Mary’s by 10 on the road to secure their first top-100 win.
2 Pittsburgh Pitt’s six RPI top-25 wins remain tied for the best total in the country, but the rest of its resume falls just short of our four No. 1 seeds.
15 Morehead State First place in the Ohio Valley will be on the line when the Eagles travel to Murray State on Thursday.
The last schools in: Boston College, Colorado State, Marquette, Southern Miss
The last schools out: Nebraska, Richmond, VCU, Michigan