The men’s college basketball season continues to plunge through the month of January as team’s start to get into the thick of conference play. While we still have a ways to go before the end of the regular season, it’s never too early to start speculating who will land where for the NCAA Tournament in March.
Analysts like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, CBS’ Jerry Palm, and NCAA correspondent Andy Katz, among others, are regularly updating the field of 68 and and going over where the top programs will end up come tourney time. We’ll go over what the experts are projecting as the rest of the season unfolds.
No. 1 seeds
As of today, Auburn, Baylor, and Gonzaga, are projected as one seeds by both Lunardi and Palm and with good reason. All three teams have had few hiccups this season and all three are ranked in the top six in both NET and KenPom metrics.
Where both experts differ is the fourth No. 1 seed as Lunardi has Arizona while Palm has Duke. The Wildcats are 2-1 against Quad 1 opponents this season while the Blue Devils are 3-2. Duke is trying to bounce back after suffering an overtime loss at Florida State on Tuesday.
Andy Katz currently has Arizona, Baylor, Duke, and Purdue as his No. 1’s but his list was released over a week ago. We’ll see where he slots everyone with a new update.
Other Notable Seeds
Simmering just below the top tier are red hot teams that could play their way into the No. 1 seed conversation if they continue to rack up more wins in conference play. Teams like Kansas, LSU, UCLA, and Wisconsin are being projected for two-seeds seeds while the likes of Kentucky, Villanova, Ohio State, and Illinois are in the mix for three-seeds.
The real tension comes from the bubble and determining who will sneak their way into the tournament and who will be left out.
As of now, the likes of Oregon, Stanford, Arkansas, Belmont, Texas A&M, and St. Bonaventure, among others, are on the razor’s edge with some experts projecting them as the last teams in while others are projecting them as missing the final cut of 68.
Fortunately for these programs, there’s still plenty of time to improve their resume down the stretch. Oregon, in particular, has rattled off five straight victories and scored a huge victory over USC last Saturday.
Big Ten - 10 (Katz), 7 (Lunardi), 6 (Palm)
Big 12 - 8 (Lunardi), 7 (Katz and Palm)
SEC - 7 (Lunardi and Katz), 5 (Palm)
Big East - 7 (Lunardi and Palm), 6 (Katz)
ACC - 4 (Lunardi, Palm, and Katz)
Pac-12 - 4 (Lunardi and Palm), 3 (Katz)
WCC - 4 (Lunardi, Palm, and Katz)
MWC - 3 (Lunardi), 1 (Katz and Palm)