Bracket Watch: Northwestern is poised to make its first tourney ever

BY Stewart Mandel • January 24, 2017

Last weekend, Northwestern won at Ohio State for the first time since 1977. With that, the 16-4 Wildcats — now tied for second place in the Big Ten — are serious contenders to earn their first NCAA tournament berth since ... well, ever.

If the season ended today, Northwestern would not even be a bubble team; it’d be squarely in. Chris Collins’ team is currently my first No. 8 seed, or No. 29 overall. While the Wildcats lack a truly high-end win, they’ve beaten two RPI Top 50 foes (Dayton and Wake Forest) and gone a decent 5-4 against RPI Top 100 teams.

The Wildcats need to do some work down the stretch to feel safe. They’re currently 5-2 in the Big Ten; they’ll want to finish at least 10-8. And their resume will look that much better if they win at least two of their four remaining scheduled games against Top 50 foes (two against Purdue, at Wisconsin and vs. Maryland).

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. West champions and Midwest vs. South champions in the national semifinals, based on the order of the No. 1 seeds.


Seed Team Location
1 Villanova* at Buffalo
16 Mount St. Mary's*/Morgan State*
8 Dayton*
9 Clemson
4 West Virginia at Buffalo
13 Princeton*
5 Florida
12 Vermont*
6 Wisconsin* at Sacramento
11 Pittsburgh/Kansas State
14 Bucknell*
7 Maryland at Greenville, SC
10 Texas Tech
2 North Carolina*
15 Winthrop*

Seed Team Location
1 Kentucky* at Indianapolis
16 UC Irvine*
8 Michigan State
4 Oregon at Sacramento
13 Akron*
5 Cincinnati*
12 Nevada*
6 Saint Mary's at Orlando
11 Michigan
3 Notre Dame
14 New Mexico State*
7 Virginia Tech at Salt Lake City
10 Arkansas
2 Gonzaga*
15 North Dakota State*

Seed Team Location
1 Kansas* at Tulsa
16 Texas Southern*/New Orleans*
8 Northwestern
9 Marquette
4 Virginia at Greenville, SC
13 Valparaiso*
5 Minnesota
12 Illinois State*
6 Purdue at Milwaukee
11 Wake Forest/Georgia
3 Butler
14 Belmont*
7 South Carolina at Orlando
10 Iowa State
2 Florida State
15 UNC Greensboro*

Seed Team Location
1 Baylor at Tulsa
16 Weber State*
8 Indiana
4 Creighton at Milwaukee
13 Monmouth*
5 Duke
12 Middle Tennessee*
6 Xavier at Salt Lake City
11 UNC Wilmington*
3 Arizona*
14 Florida Gulf Coast*
7 SMU at Indianapolis
10 Seton Hall
2 Louisville
15 Georgia Southern*

LAST FOUR IN: Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Georgia

FIRST FOUR OUT: Illinois, Miami, Providence, VCU

NEXT FOUR OUT: Rhode Island, Oklahoma State, NC State, Cal

MULTIPLE BID CONFERENCES: ACC (10), Big Ten (8), Big 12 (7), Big East (6), SEC (5), Pac-12 (4), American (2), WCC (2)

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