We haven’t even reached the month of March yet and madness has already reigned supreme in college basketball. A record seven Top 10 teams fell on Saturday, including everyone in the top six. With most conferences entering the final week of the regular season and some already beginning their league tournaments, one has to wonder how this chaos impacted the field for the NCAA Tournament.
College basketball analysts from across several outlets are regularly updating their projected field of 68 and going over where the top programs will end up come tourney time in mid-March. Today, we’ll look at what ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, CBS’ Jerry Palm, and USA Today’s Scott Gleeson are projecting coming out of a that wild weekend.
No. 1 seeds
As it stands now, the consensus No. 1 seeds for the trio of analysts are Gonzaga, Arizona, and Baylor, who got elevated to one-seed status after taking down Kansas with an 80-70 victory on Saturday. The victory gave the Bears a nation-leading 11 Quad 1 victories for the year, a resume point that justifies the reigning national champions to grab a coveted top spot of a region.
There are differing opinions on who should grab the final No. 1 seed as Gleeson and Lunardi have Kansas while Palm still has Auburn. Despite Saturday’s loss, the Jayhawks still have the second-most Quad 1 victories with 10. Auburn stumbled against Tennessee in a 67-62 loss on Saturday but is still ranked No. 8 in KenPom and No. 11 in NET.
Other Notable Seeds
Below the one’s is the next tier of teams like Duke, Kentucky, Purdue being strongly considered as No. 2 seeds and teams like Texas Tech, Villanova, and Wisconsin in three-seed territory. The Red Raiders could’ve solidified themselves into two-seed territory if they didn’t stumble against TCU in a 69-66 loss on Saturday.
Saint Mary’s took down Gonzaga in a 67-57 victory on Saturday and that elevated them to No. 5 seed territory according to Palm. Other mid-majors like Murray State, Wyoming, Colorado State, and San Francisco are being slotted anywhere from six to 10 in expert brackets.
The real tension comes from the bubble and determining who will sneak their way into the tournament and who will be left out.
Right now, there are varying opinions on a variety of teams whose NCAA Tournament dreams hang in the balance. Florida defeated Georgia over the weekend and finds themselves in Palm’s Field of 68 but out of Lunardi’s and Gleeson’s brackets. Michigan, Memphis, and Indiana managed to also make the cut in two out of the three while North Carolina is going dancing in all three. We’ll see how the final week of the regular season alters things.
Multi-bid Conference Breakdown
AAC - 3 (Palm), 2 (Gleeson and Lunardi)
ACC - 5 (Gleeson, Lunardi and Palm)
Big 12 - 6 (Gleeson, Lunardi and Palm)
Big East - 7 (Gleeson, Lunardi and Palm)
Big Ten - 9 (Lunardi, 8 Gleeson), 6 (Palm)
MWC - 4 (Gleeson and Palm), 3 (Lunardi)
MVC - 2 (Lunardi), 1 (Gleeson and Palm)
Pac-12 - 3 (Gleeson, Lunardi and Palm)
SEC - 7 (Palm), 6 (Gleeson and Lunardi)
WCC - 4 (Gleeson and Palm), 3 (Lunardi)