It’s officially February and now we’re really getting into the nitty gritty of the college basketball season. We’re just about at the halfway point of conference play across all leagues and so far, we’ve seen some teams bolster their resume for the NCAA Tournament while others have fallen right into bubble territory.
Analysts like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, CBS’ Jerry Palm, and Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller, among others, are regularly updating their projected field of 68 and and going over where the top programs will end up come tourney time in mid-March. We’ll go over what the experts are projecting as the rest of the season unfolds.
No. 1 seeds
Entering the month of February, Auburn, Baylor, and Gonzaga, seem to be consensus one-seeds among the top analysts. The Tigers have rattled off a nation best 17 straight victories and are primed to be the top seed in the entire tournament. Both the Bears and Bulldogs have had a few setbacks this season but have the resume and the NET ratings to back up their claims to being the top dog in a respective region.
The fourth No. 1 seed is up for debate as the experts have differing opinions. Lunardi has Kansas occupying the spot while Palm has Wisconsin and Miller has Arizona. The Wildcats are currently rated third in NET and are 15-0 against Quad 2-4 opponents. The Badgers have seven wins over Quad 1 foes while the Jayhawks have five.
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 Duke, UCLA, Purdue, and Houston are in the mix as projected two-seeds seeds while the likes of Kentucky, Villanova, LSU, and Michigan State are being strongly considered 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.
Entering the month of February, the likes of Oregon, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Creighton, North Carolina, and Wyoming, among others, are all squarely on the bubbles. Opinions on their respective fates vary with a team like UNC, for example, in the field of 68 for some experts while others have them on the outside looking in.
There’s still plenty of time for these teams to improve their standing but they’ll have to move fast.
ACC - 5 (Lunardi), 4 (Palm), 3 (Miller)
Big 12 - 8 (Lunardi, Miller, and Palm)
Big East - 7 (Lunardi, Miller, and Palm)
Big Ten - 8 (Miller), 7 (Lunardi and Palm)
MWC - 3 (Lunardi, Miller, and Palm)
Pac-12 - 4 (Lunardi, Miller, and Palm)
SEC - 7 (Miller), 6 (Lunardi and Palm)
WCC - 4 (Lunardi, Miller, and Palm)