The 2022-23 men’s college basketball season continues to move along through the month of February with another busy slate this weekend. While the sporting world will be fixated on Super Bowl 57, there will still be plenty of college hoops results that will have consequences for the NCAA Tournament in just one month.
Analysts 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 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
Entering the second weekend in February, there is still a consensus across the board that Purdue and Alabama will walk into the NCAA Tournament as the top two seeds in the field. No one is holding the Boilermakers’ rivalry loss to Indiana last Saturday against them and they’ll have a shot at picking up quality conference wins against the likes of Iowa and Northwestern over the next few days. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide is still undefeated in SEC and can put another Quad 1 victory on their resume this weekend when visiting Auburn.
Three out of the four listed experts have Houston as a No. 1 seed as it continues to rack up blowout victories in AAC play. Meanwhile, the likes of Arizona, Kansas, and Texas are all garnering top seed consideration as well and it’ll be interesting with the Big 12 schools considering the top of that conference has been a battle royal. The USA Today crew tagged Tennessee for a top spot, but that may change after the Vols were upset by Vanderbilt on Wednesday.
Last Four In
There’s plenty of bubble teams who the experts have sneaking into the NCAA Tournament field of 68 if the season were to end today. One of those teams is North Carolina, who has dropped three straight in ACC action heading into this weekend’s action. The Tar Heels are a top 50 team in both KenPom and NET, so the metrics back them up for not. But they have to start picking the pace up again before the ACC Tournament.
The likes of Arkansas and Texas A&M are seemingly safe for now as they march through SEC play while Oklahoma State would get in as well. The Cowboys have turned things around after a slow start in Big 12 play and its strength of schedule combined with metrics would make them a lock as long as they continue to string together wins.
First Four Out
There’s also a handful of bubble teams who would be left on the outside looking in if the season wrapped up today. Seton Hall is a team who would be left out in the cold as it has had an up-and-down run in Big East play. The Pirates have struggled against the better teams its conference slate but has handled business against the weaker teams in the league. They play the likes of UConn, Xavier, and Providence down the stretch, so they’ll have a chance to impress the committee.
Other bubble teams that need strong showings throughout the month of February includes Memphis, Florida, and Penn State. The Tigers can ill afford any more non-Houston losses in AAC play while the Nittany Lions are simply trying to maintain through an increasingly jammed Big Ten race.
Key games this weekend
Thursday, February 9
Iowa at No. 1 Purdue, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
San Francisco at No. 16 Gonzaga, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 15 Saint Mary’s at Loyola-Marymount, 10 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Bay Area
USC at Oregon, 11 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Saturday, February 11
West Virginia at No. 5 Texas, noon ET, ESPN2
Penn State at Maryland, noon ET, Big Ten Network
No. 3 Alabama at Auburn, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 21 UConn at No. 23 Creighton, 2 p.m. ET, Fox
No. 24 Rutgers at Illinois, 2 p.m. ET, FS1
Clemson at North Carolina, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Duke at No. 8 Virginia, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 14 Baylor at No. 17 TCU, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2
UNLV at No. 25 San Diego State, 4 p.m. ET, Fox
Oklahoma State at No. 11 Iowa State, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 18 Indiana at Michigan, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 7 UCLA at Oregon, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN
Sunday, February 12
Temple at Memphis, noon ET, ESPN2
No. 1 Purdue at Northwestern, 2 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Projected bids per conference
ACC - 7 (Dobbertean Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Big East - 5 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Big Ten - 9 (Dobbertean), 8 (Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Big 12 - 8 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Pac-12 - 3 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
SEC - 7 (Lunardi), 6 (Dobbertean, Palm, USA Today)
AAC - 2 (Palm, USA Today), 1 (Dobbertean, Lunardi)
MWC - 4 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
WCC - 2 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)