Bracket Watch: ACC finally grabs a No. 1 seed – for now

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since I started publishing these brackets in mid-January, an ACC team – North Carolina – claims the fourth No. 1 seed. The 23-5 Tar Heels displaced 22-5 Baylor, which fell off the top line for the first time all season.

I’d say there’s a decent chance an ACC team remains one of the top seeds come Selection Sunday. The question is whether it will still be North Carolina.

Roy Williams’ team sits alone atop the conference right now at 11-3. But it’s also benefited from what Ken Pomeroy ranks as the ACC’s easiest league schedule to date. That will change soon enough; three of UNC’s last four games are against Top 25 foes Louisville, Virginia and Duke.

If the Tar Heels slip up, 22-5 Louisville is sitting just two spots behind them at No. 6 on my overall seed list, and both 22-6 Florida State and 22-5 Duke aren’t far behind. Neither is a pair of Pac-12 teams, 24-4 Oregon and 25-3 Arizona.

Villanova, Kansas and Gonzaga seem entrenched as the first three No. 1 seeds, but the fourth one should remain up for grabs through the conference tournaments.

A reminder: Selection Sunday is March 12, and the tourney begins March 14. The Final Four is April 1-3 in Phoenix.

* — Denotes projected conference champion, automatic berth

This edition’s bracket is East vs. South and Midwest vs. West in the national semifinals, based on the order of my No. 1 seeds.

 

BRACKET WATCH

EAST REGION (NEW YORK)
Seed Team Location
1 Villanova* at Buffalo
16 NC Central*
8 Virginia Tech
9 Iowa State
4 West Virginia at Buffalo
13 Monmouth*
5 Virginia
12 UNC Wilmington*
6 SMU* at Orlando
11 Kansas State
3 Florida State
14 Princeton*
7 South Carolina at Salt Lake City
10 Michigan State
2 Arizona*
15 Florida Gulf Coast*
SOUTH REGION (Memphis)
Seed Team Location
1 North Carolina* at Greenville, SC
16 North Dakota State*
8 Dayton*
9 Michigan
4 UCLA at Sacramento
13 Belmont*
5 Maryland
12 Middle Tennessee*
6 Creighton at Indianapolis
11 Clemson
3 Kentucky
14 Bucknell*
7 Minnesota at Tulsa
10 Wichita State*
2 Baylor
15 Furman*
MIDWEST REGION (KANSAS CITY)
Seed Team Location
1 Kansas* at Tulsa
16 UC Irvine*/New Orleans*
8 Miami
9 VCU
4 Butler at Milwaukee
13 Valparaiso*
5 Wisconsin
12 Vermont*
6 Notre Dame at Orlando
11 Seton Hall/TCU
3 Florida*
14 Akron*
7 Oklahoma State at Indianapolis
10 Marquette
2 Louisville
15 North Dakota*
WEST REGION (SAN JOSE)
Seed Team Location
1 Gonzaga* at Salt Lake City
16 Texas Southern*/Mount St. Mary’s*
8 Xavier
9 USC
4 Purdue* at Milwaukee
13 Nevada*
5 Cincinnati
12 UT Arlington*
6 Saint Mary’s at Greenville, SC
11 Wake Forest/Cal
3 Duke
14 UNC Asheville*
7 Northwestern at Sacramento
10 Arkansas
2 Oregon
15 Cal State Bakersfield*

LAST FOUR IN: Seton Hall, TCU, Wake Forest, Cal

FIRST FOUR OUT: Syracuse, Tennessee, Illinois State, Providence

NEXT FOUR OUT: Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Indiana, Alabama

MULTIPLE BID CONFERENCES: ACC (10), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (7), Big East (6), Pac-12 (5), SEC (4), A-10 (2), American (2), WCC (2)