The 2022-23 men’s college basketball season continues to move along through the month of February with another busy slate on tap for this weekend. With just over three weeks to go until Selection Sunday, every remaining game in the regular season becomes that much more important.
Analysts are regularly updating their projected field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament and going over where the top programs will end up come mid-March. Today, we’ll take a look at the latest brackets of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, CBS’ Jerry Palm, Blogging the Bracket’s Chris Dobbertean, and the USA Today team of Eddie Timanus, Paul Myerberg, and Erick Smith to see what they are projecting at this current juncture of the season.
No. 1 seeds
As we hit mid-February, there is currently a near consensus among the bracket experts that the No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament will consist of Purdue, Alabama, Houston, and Kansas.
Both the Boilermakers and Crimson Tide stumbled this week, but have built up enough equity throughout the year where a loss here and there and conference play won’t hurt them. The Cougars are the top ranked team in both KenPom and NET and have continued to mow right through AAC competition. Meanwhile, the defending national champion Jayhawks have held their own through a very difficult Big 12 and are currently in the race for the regular season league title.
The only discrepancy came from the USA Today group, who has UCLA as a No. 1 seed over Kansas. The Bruins are a top five team in both KenPom and NET and are cruising right along at the top of the Pac-12 standings.
Last Four In/First Four Out
As the regular season starts the wind down, there’s a handful of bonafide bubble teams who the experts are split over whether or not they’ll make the field of 68. Chief among them is Kentucky, who Lunardi and Palm currently have making it into the tournament while Dobbertean and the USA Today crew have sitting out. The Wildcats’ resume took a gigantic hit last week with losses to Arkansas and Georgia, but they did manage to somewhat get back on track with a victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday. With just two Quad 1 victories this season, UK has a lot of ground to make up and time is running out.
Another blueblood whose NCAA Tournament hopes the experts are split on is North Carolina, who has been up and down in ACC play. The Tar Heels have dropped four of its last five and are an abysmal 0-8 against Quad 1 opponents this year. UNC can still pick up a few quality wins before the ACC Tournament in a few weeks, but time is of the essence for Hubert Davis’ group.
A handful of other bubble teams find themselves needing strong finishes to their regular season schedules to have a shot at the dance. As of right now, the likes of Clemson and Wisconsin would barely sneak in according to bracketologists while USC, Oregon, and New Mexico would just miss the cut.
Key games this weekend
Thursday, February 16
No. 3 Purdue at Maryland, 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Colorado at Arizona State, 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Utah at No. 8 Arizona, 10 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
No. 13 Gonzaga at Loyola-Marymount, 11 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Friday, February 17
New Mexico at San Jose State, 10:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Saturday, February 18
Illinois at No. 14 Indiana, noon ET, ESPN
Seton Hall at No. 20 UConn, noon ET, Fox
Rutgers at Wisconsin, noon ET, Big Ten Network
No. 10 Tennessee at Kentucky, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
No. 19 Iowa State at No. 12 Kansas State, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Wake Forest at No. 15 Miami, 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
Florida at Arkansas, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Oklahoma State at No. 22 TCU, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+
No. 9 Baylor at No. 5 Kansas, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
Pitt at Virginia Tech, 5 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Duke at Syracuse, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
Texas A&M at Missouri, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Utah at Arizona State, 6 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Michigan State at Michigan, 8 p.m. ET, Fox
Nevada at Utah State, 8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
BYU at No. 17 Saint Mary’s, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Sunday, February 19
North Carolina at NC State, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Bradley at Southern Illinois, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Memphis at No. 2 Houston, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
Belmont at Drake, 3 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Iowa at Northwestern, 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Oregon at Washington State, 7 p.m. ET, FS1
Projected bids per conference
ACC - 7 (Lunardi, USA Today), 5 (Dobbertean, Palm)
Big East - 5 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Big Ten - 9 (Lunardi, Palm), 8 (Dobbertean, USA Today)
Big 12 - 8 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Pac-12 - 4 (Dobbertean), 3 (Palm, USA Today), 2 (Lunardi)
SEC - 8 (Palm), 7 (Dobbertan, Lunardi, USA Today)
AAC - 2 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
MWC - 4 (Dobbertean) 3 (Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
WCC - 2 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)