Selection Sunday has finally arrived in college basketball and in just a few short hours, we will finally know the full 68-team field for the 2023 NCAA Tournament
Analysts have regularly updated their projected field for March Madness all season long and we’ve finally reached the end point. Today, we’ll take a look at the final 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 their last projections for the tourney. Let the madness begin.
No. 1 seeds
As was the case for most of the regular season, these experts are in lockstep in having Alabama, Kansas, Houston, and Purdue as No. 1 seeds heading into the NCAA Tournament. All four teams have stood above the rest of the sport for the entire year and there’s a strong case to be made for why each team could to cut down the nets at NRG Stadium in Houston in a few weeks.
However, there is also an argument to be made for Texas potentially stealing a No. 1 seed. The Longhorns roasted the Jayhawks in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday, their second victory over KU in the span of the week. With 14 Quad 1 victories on their resume, the committee will think long and hard about where to slot UT.
Now comes the moment of truth for all of the teams on the bubble, where some will hear their names called for the big dance while others will be making plans for the NIT in the coming week.
According to the bracket experts, the high profile bubble teams like Clemson, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin are out and will miss this year’s NCAA Tournament. UNC, in particular, could not make the necessary run through the ACC Tournament this past week and will most likely be the first preseason No. 1 program to miss the NCAA Tournament since the tourney expanded to 64 teams. In Nashville, Jerry Stackhouse’s Vanderbilt squad had a strong showing in the SEC Tournament and were a threat to steal a bid. However, they were ousted by Texas A&M in the semis and the bracket experts do not feel as if that was enough to get in.
Meanwhile, the analysts are split over whether Nevada will get in with Lunardi and the USA Today crew leaving the Wolf Pack out while Palm and Dobbertean have them in. Nevada fared pretty well in a competitive Mountain West Conference during the regular season. However, an immediate exit from the league tournament at the hands of San Jose State didn’t do them any favors.
Finally, if you’re a fan of Arizona State, NC State, or Rutgers, don’t be too worried. You’re most likely in. The Sun Devils were able to topple USC on Friday to get to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals and that may have been enough to allow them to sneak into the dance.
Projected bids per conference
ACC - 5 (Lunardi, Palm, USA Today), 4 (Dobbertean)
Big East - 5 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Big Ten - 9 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Big 12 - 7 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
Pac-12 - 4 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, USA Today), 3 (Palm)
SEC - 8 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
AAC - 2 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)
MWC - 4 (Dobbertean, Palm), 3 (Lunardi, USA Today)
WCC - 2 (Dobbertean, Lunardi, Palm, USA Today)