The 2022-23 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.
That’s right, Bracketology season is finally upon us.
Analysts like Joe Lunardi of ESPN, Jerry Palm of CBS, Kevin Sweeney of Sports Illustrated, and Chris Dobbertean of Blogging the Bracket are regularly updating their projected field of 68 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
As of right now, there seems to be a consensus among experts that the No. 1 seeds will be Alabama, Houston, Kansas, and Purdue. This tracks as they all currently occupy the top four slots in the AP poll and are ranked in the top seven in both NET and KenPom rankings.
Out of the four, Houston would most likely grab the top overall seed in the tournament if the season ended today. The Cougars are the top rated team in KenPom and NET, posting an 8-1 record in Quad 1-2 games and a perfect 10-0 record against Quad 4 opponents.
Other Notable Seeds
Simmering just below that 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. The experts have the likes of Tennessee, Gonzaga, and Xavier operating as two-seeds at moment with the Iowa State receiving some consideration for this group. Also in the mix as three-seeds are Arizona, Texas, Virginia, and UConn.
The stock of UConn in particular has plummeted over the last two weeks and Wednesday’s 67-66 loss to Seton Hall marked its fifth loss in six games. This was a team that was undefeated coming out of the Christmas holiday and seemed to be on track to solidifying a possible No. 1 seed. That’s a testament to how quickly this can all change with each passing week.
Where things get really is the bubble and determining which teams will get invited to the big dance and which teams will get left at home.
As of right now, there’s a question mark surrounding Kentucky, with some experts like Sweeney and Palm having John Calipari’s group making the field of 68 while others like Lunardi and Dobbertean have them staying home. The Wildcats have had a disjointed start in SEC play and a home loss to South Carolina did significant damage to their resume. They’ve since rebounded with good wins over Tennessee and Georgia, so we’ll see which side of the bubble they’ll inch towards in the coming weeks.
Other notable schools on the bubble include Memphis, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Pitt, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. The Mountaineers in particular got off to a disastrous 0-5 start in Big 12 play before finally picking up a victory against TCU on Wednesday. They’re ranked 23rd in KenPom and 24th in NET, so at least the metrics have their back.
Big Ten - 11 (Dobbertean), 10 (Lunardi and Palm)
Big 12 - 8 (Dobbertean and Lunardi), 7 (Palm)
SEC - 6 (Palm), 5 (Dobbertean and Lunardi)
Big East - 5 (Dobbertean and Lunardi), 4 (Palm)
ACC - 7 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, and Palm),
Pac-12 - 4 (Palm), 3 (Dobbertean and Lunardi)
WCC - 2 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, and Palm)
MWC - 3 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, and Palm)
AAC - 2 (Lunardi and Palm), 1 (Dobbertean)
Last Four In, Last Four Out
Last Fours January 19
|Last Four Byes|
|Last Four In|
|12||Boise State||West Virginia||Maryland||Pittsburgh|
|10||Penn State||New Mexico||USC||Memphis|
|9||New Mexico||Wisconsin||Memphis||Penn State|
|First Four Out|
|8||Kentucky||Wake Forest||Nevada||Mississippi State|
|7||West Virginia||UCF||Wake Forest||Oklahoma|
|6||Northwestern||VIrginia Tech||Florida||West Virginia|
|5||Texas A&M||Boise State||UCF||Wake Forest|
|Next Four Out|
|1||Virginia Tech||Kentucky||Oklahoma State|
Full projected NCAA Tournament Field as of January 19
Bracketology January 19
|4||Marquette||Kansas State||Iowa St.||TCU|
|7||Iowa||Arkansas||San Diego St||Providence|
|Saint Mary's||San Diego State||Duke||San Diego State|
|Michigan St.||FAU||Michigan St.||North Carolina|
|NC State||Clemson||Arizona St.||Michigan State|
|8||North Carolina||NC State||Wisconsin||Clemson|
|San Diego St.||Maryland||Missouri||NC State|
|9||Missouri||Ohio State||N. Carolina||FAU|
|Arizona St.||Indiana||Pittsburgh||Boise State|
|Ohio State||Creighton||Penn St.||Indiana|
|FAU||Oklahoma||New Mexico||Arizona State|
|Indiana||Charleston||Boise St.||New Mexico|
|Boise State/Penn State||West Virginia/Wisconsin||FAU||Pittsburgh/Penn State|
|12||Oklahoma/New Mexico||Pittsburgh/New Mexico||Memphis/Indiana||VCU|
|Liberty||Kent State||Dayton||Oral Roberts|
|Oral Roberts||Southern Miss.||Oral Roberts||Charleston|
|Kent State||VCU||Kent St.||Kent State|
|13||Marshall||Oral Roberts||Uc Irvine||Marshall|
|Southern Illinois||Liberty||S. Illinois||Southern Illinois|
|UC Riverside||UC Riverside||Siue||Youngstown State|
|Youngstown St.||SIU Edwardsville||E. Washington||Colgate|
|Eastern Washington||Eastern Washington||Colgate||SIUE|
|16||SE Louisiana||UNC Asheville||Southern U.||Fairleigh Dickinson/UMBC|
|Southern/Morgan State||UMBC||Fdu/Texas A&M-CC||Southern/Morgan State|
|Southeastern Louisiana/FDU||Southeastern Louisiana/Fairleigh Dickinson||Morgan State/UMBC||UNC-Asheville|
|UNC Asheville||Morgan State/Southern||Siena||Texas A&M–Corpus Christi|