Predicting the NCAA tournament bracket

Selection Sunday is just two 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   Pittsburgh Pitt returns to the top line after a brief one-week absence because its loss at Louisville was not as bad as Texas’ at Colorado or Duke’s at Virginia Tech.
16 Montana/
  McNeese State
Montana is out of the Big Sky; McNeese State plays in the Southland.
8 Kansas State Kansas State moved itself to more solid ground with victories at Nebraska and at home against Missouri last week.
9 Georgia Georgia has alternated wins and losses in its past seven games.
at Tucson
5 Villanova The Wildcats have lost their past three home games.
12 Minnesota Since Al Nolen broke his foot, Minnesota is 2-7 but still has three RPI top-25 wins.
4 North Carolina UNC is 4-4 against the RPI top 50.
13 Princeton The Ivy League title will be on the line when Princeton travels to Harvard on Saturday.
at Tucson
6 Texas A&M The Aggies’ five-game win streak was snapped at Baylor.
11 Penn State Despite a 15-12 overall record, the Nittany Lions are 8-8 in the Big Ten, have the ninth-ranked strength of schedule (SOS), three RPI top-50 wins and eight top-100 victories.
3 San Diego State San Diego State didn’t rise to the occasion for the biggest game in school history, falling to BYU 80-67 at home on Saturday.
14 Bucknell Bucknell is the top seed in the Patriot League tournament.
at Charlotte
7 Arizona The Wildcats were swept in Los Angeles last week, falling by eight at USC before being embarrassed by UCLA 71-49. Arizona is just 2-4 against the top 50.
10 Marquette Marquette pretty much locked in 11 teams from the Big East when it won at UConn on Thursday. That was the Eagles’ fourth RPI top-25 victory.
2 Duke Their Blue Devils’ 37th-ranked strength of schedule is underwhelming, but that should go up after a trip to Chapel Hill on Saturday.
15 Long Beach State Long Beach State has clinched the Big West regular-season championship.




Seed Team Comment
at Denver
1 BYU I had BYU as a No. 1 seed last week, and after the Cougars won at San Diego State to improve to 4-0 vs. the RPI’s top 25, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.
16 Bethune Cookman/
  Texas Southern
Bethune-Cookman leads the MEAC; Texas Southern is the first-place team in the SWAC.
8 Cincinnati Cincinnati locked up a bid with a win at Georgetown.
9 Illinois A win at Purdue on Tuesday would punch the Illini’s ticket.
at Tampa
5 Vanderbilt Vandy has won six of seven.
12 Saint Mary’s After a loss at home against Gonzaga on Thursday, the Gaels will probably need to win the WCC tournament to get into the field.
4 Louisville The Cardinals held Rutgers to just 37 points on the road before beating Pitt in OT at home.
13 Missouri State The Bears completed a season sweep of Wichita State, but those two wins are their only ones vs. the top 100.
at Washington D.C.
6 Xavier Xavier has won 14 of its past 15 games.
11 Utah State Utah State has locked up the WAC regular-season title.
3 Syracuse SU’s 2-3 zone defense returned to early season form and Jim Boeheim’s crew avenged a pair of losses by knocking off Villanova and Georgetown on the road.
14 Long Island LIU is the top seed in the NEC tournament.
at Chicago
7 Missouri The Tigers are 2-6 in true road games.
10 UAB UAB stands alone atop the Conference USA standings, but four teams are just one game behind the Blazers.
2 Purdue Purdue has defeated four top-50 teams in the past two weeks.
15 Fairfield Fairfield is the top seed and hosts the MAAC tournament starting Friday.




Seed Team Comment
at Tulsa
1 Kansas The Jayhawks are 16-2 against the top 100.
16 Murray State Murray State is the top seed in the Ohio Valley tournament.
8 UCLA The Bruins beat both of the Arizona schools at home and have now won eight of nine to pull into a first-place tie with the Wildcats.
9 Tennessee After picking up a huge victory at Vandy — the Vols’ third RPI top-25 and seventh top-50 win of the season — UT lost at home to Mississippi State for its third sub-100 defeat.
at Denver
5 Connecticut The Huskies are 8-6 against the top 50.
12 Florida State/
FSU’s loss at Maryland drops it into a First Four game; Richmond moves into the final at-large spot thanks to its win over Purdue on Nov. 27 and a stellar 11-4 road/neutral record.


4 Wisconsin The Badgers have won 19 straight at home.
13 Belmont Belmont won the Atlantic Sun by three games.
at Tampa
6 Old Dominion Old Dominion will be the No. 2 seed in the Colonial tournament and doesn’t need to win a single game to go dancing.
11 Memphis The Tigers have the best overall resumé in Conference USA thanks to four top-50 wins, but a 27-point loss at UTEP leaves Memphis needing to win out.
3 Florida Florida’s loss at Kentucky was its first to a top-50 team since Nov. 16.
14 Vermont Vermont will be the top seed in the American East tournament.
at Chicago
7 UNLV The Rebels have won four in a row.
10 Michigan State Wins over Iowa and Michigan this week should put the Spartans in the field for good.
2 Notre Dame The Irish have won nine of 10.
15 Coastal Carolina Coastal Carolina won the Big South by three games.




Seed Team Comment
at Cleveland
1 Ohio State The Buckeyes are 14-2 against the top 100.
16 Florida Atlantic FAU is the Sun Belt regular-season champion.
8 West Virginia West Virginia picked up its ninth Big East win at Rutgers on Sunday.
9 Washington The Huskies close out their schedule with home games against the Los Angeles schools.
at Washington D.C.
5 Kentucky Kentucky is a completely different team away from Rupp Arena (6-8).
12 Virginia Tech/
The Hokies are breathing a lot easier after upsetting Duke; Colorado is back in the field after knocking off Texas.
4 St. John’s The Red Storm has won six in a row, with four of those coming over top-50 teams.
13 Oakland Oakland is the top seed in the Summit League tournament.
at Charlotte
6 George Mason George Mason takes a 15-game winning streak into the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, which begins Friday in Richmond.
11 Michigan Michigan has won seven of 10 with the 20th-toughest schedule. and while it is 0-7 vs. the RPI top 25, it has eight wins vs. the top 100.
3 Georgetown The Hoyas have lost their past two, but playing without star guard Chris Wright has something to do with it.
14 College of Charleston Charleston limps into the Southern tournament with back-to-back losses.
at Tulsa
7 Temple The Owls improved their non-conference strength of schedule with a game at Duke.
10 Butler Butler has earned a double-bye in the Horizon tournament and will therefore need only two wins to claim an automatic bid.
2 Texas Texas blew a 22-point first-half lead at Colorado.
15 Kent State Kent State is tied atop the East division in the MAC.
The last schools in: Florida State, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Richmond
The last schools out: Alabama, Boston College, Maryland, Gonzaga