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Bracketology: Illinois hops to No. 1 seed, Ohio State drops a rung

Updated Mar. 1, 2021 7:56 p.m. ET

It's official: The month of madness is finally here.

March's first edition of Bracketology sees a shake-up among the top seeds for the NCAA tournament, according to FOX Sports bracketologist Mike DeCourcy.

A series of three consecutive losses bumped No. 7 Ohio State to a 2-seed in DeCourcy's latest projections for the tourney.

Misfortune for the Buckeyes is prosperity for No. 4 Illinois, which slides up to fill the vacancy and joins No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Baylor among the 1-seeds.

The Illini bounced back from last week's defeat to Michigan State to take down Nebraska and No. 25 Wisconsin, setting up a mouthwatering top-five matchup against the Wolverines on Tuesday.

Illinois is holding out hope that superstar guard Ayo Dosunmu will be back from injury and ready to square off against Michigan. 

Here's a look at DeCourcy's latest bracket:


Aside from the top-seed shuffle, the No. 9 Houston Cougars moved up a rung as a projected No. 2 seed, and No. 10 Villanova fell to a 3-seed.

The Cougars have won three straight blowouts by margins of 38, 24 and 46 points.

As for Villanova, the Wildcats lost 73-61 to the 9-13 Butler Bulldogs in an upset Sunday.

On the other side of the bracket, the bubble continues to percolate with teams jostling for position. Duke was among the "Last Four In" in DeCourcy's previous projections, but an 80-73 loss to Louisville has the Blue Devils on the outside looking in at the moment.

Meanwhile, Boise State appears to be playing with fire following back-to-back losses to No. 19 San Diego State. The Broncos were sitting as a No. 10 seed heading into the weekend and now are among the "Last Four In."

From a conference standpoint, the count remains the same for those hoping to be represented in the big dance.

The Big Ten leads the way with nine teams, followed by the Big 12 and ACC with seven apiece. By DeCourcy's count, the SEC has six teams, and the Big East has five.

Out west, the Pac-12 should get a quartet of teams into the bracket alongside three for the Mountain West. Finally, the Atlantic 10, WCC and Missouri Valley conferences each have a pair of teams making the cut.


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