Thursday, April 22, 2021

March Madness 4.0 Bracket Predictions: Projection of the 68-field for the 2021 NCAA Tournament

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Selection Sunday for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a few days away.

The 68-team field takes shape throughout conference tournament week, and Wednesday’s schedule includes 33 conference tournament games. A lot can change from No.1 Seeds to Bubble over the next four days, and SN will be following the action with daily updates through to Selection Sunday.

Here’s a look at the Field of 68 updated from Sporting News on Wednesday, March 10:

AFTER: Sporting News’ 2020-21 College Basketball All-Americans

March Madness Fork Predictions for the 2021 NCAA Tournament

Seeds n ° 1 projected

  • ** Gonzaga 26-0 (west coast)
  • Baylor 21-1 (large 12)
  • Michigan 19-3 (Big Ten)
  • Illinois 20-6

Lowdown: Gonzaga has won the West Coast Conference tournament for the eighth time in nine seasons and is expected to be a virtual lock for the tournament seed. Baylor also appears to be a lock for a No.1 seed as the Big Ten tournament approaches. Illinois and Michigan will likely stay on that line as well, but it might take at least one game in the Big Ten tournament to win just to be sure.

Screened n ° 2 seeds

  • Alabama 21-6 (SEC)
  • Iowa 20-7
  • Houston 21-3 (American)
  • Ohio State 18-8

Lowdown: Iowa and the state of Ohio are two interesting seeds on different paths. The Hawkeyes could slide to a No.1 with a strong performance in Indianapolis. KenPom has Iowa at No. 4, so it’s possible. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, are on the edge of the third seed after losing their last four games of the regular season. Ohio State slipped to the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament. To be fair, three of those late-season losses went to the top 10 teams.

Screened n ° 3 seeds

  • Arkansas 21-5
  • Virginia 17-6 (ACC)
  • Kansas 19-8
  • Texas 17-7

Lowdown: Arkansas enters the SEC Tournament as one of the hottest teams in college basketball. The Razorbacks have won eight straight wins, including an 81-66 victory over Alabama on February 24. Arkansas could easily play in row 2. The Big 12 will put four teams on row # 3 or # 4, depending on their performance in the Big 12 tournament. Kansas and Texas are seeded. higher than the pair of teams we placed on row # 4 – and KenPom ranks them higher as well.

Screened n ° 4 seeds

  • Villanova 16-5 (Grand Est)
  • West Virginia 18-8
  • Oklahoma State 18-7
  • Purdue 18-8

Lowdown: West Virginia and Oklahoma State will play in the Big 12 quarterfinals on Thursday, which should resolve that debate. Villanova feels a bit low here given her KenPom rating of No.10, and they could easily play a line (or two) while waiting to find out how they fare in the Big East tournament. Purdue clinched the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament, but there’s a big gap between them and the other seeds in the conference.

AFTER: Iowa’s Luka Garza is Sporting News Player of the Year

Screened n ° 5 seeds

  • Florida State 15-5
  • Creighton 18-7
  • Oregon 19-5 (Pac-12)
  • USC 21-6

Lowdown: Florida State has a strong case to climb that No.4 row and is separated from Purdue by a spot on KenPom. The Seminoles have lost two of their last three games in the regular season. Oregon is the top seed in the Pac-12 tournament and the Ducks have won their last five games of the regular season. That said, Oregon has been 1-2 against USC and Colorado this season. Buffaloes could easily be placed on this line.

Screened n ° 6 seeds

  • Colorado 20-7
  • Clemson 16-6
  • Texas Tech 17-9
  • Oklahoma 14-9

Lowdown: The love of the Big 12 continues. The conference could have the tournament’s seven teams on the first six rows, and Texas Tech could move up to seed No.5 at this point. Clemson closed the season with six wins in his last seven games. They are in good shape to stay on that line.

Screened n ° 7 seeds

  • Tennessee 17-7
  • LSU 16-8
  • San Diego State 20-4 (Mountain West)
  • Wisconsin 16-11

Lowdown: The Badgers have double-digit losses, but they’re also heading to the Big Ten tournament with a KenPom odds of No.11. They’re a prime candidate to be overstretched a bit based on the strength of the Big Ten. LSU, which has won five of its last seven, and Tennessee, which is 3-3 in its last six, are both on that line right now.

Screened n ° 8 seeds

  • Florida 13-8
  • UConn 14-6
  • ** Loyola-Chicago 24-4 (Missouri Valley)
  • North Carolina 16-9

Lowdown: That’s a lot of blue blood on the # 8 line with the Tar Heels, Huskies and Gators; but the No.1 team might be wary of Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers have lost just one game since January 11.

AFTER: Michigan’s Juwan Howard is Sporting News Coach of the Year

Rest of the projections on the ground

No. 9 seeds: Virginia Tech 15-5, Saint-Bonaventure (A-10), Missouri 15-8, BYU 20-6
No. 10 seeds: Georgia Tech 15-8, UCLA 17-8, Louisville 13-6, Rutgers 14-10
No 11 seeds: Michigan State 15-11, Maryland 15-12, VCU 19-6, ** Winthrop 23-1 (Big South)
No. 12 seeds: Louisiana Tech 20-6 (C-USA), Wichita State 15-4, Colorado State * 17-5, Drake * 25-4, St. Louis * 14-6, Xavier * 13-7
No 13 seeds: Toledo 20-7 (MAC), UC Santa Barbara 19-4 (Big West), Colgate 12-7 (Patriot), ** Liberty 22-5 (A-Sun)
No. 14 seeds: ** UNC-Greensboro 20-8 (south), ** Morehead State 23-7 (Ohio Valley), Grand Canyon 15-6 (WAC), Southern Utah 19-3 (Big Sky)
No.15 seeds: ** Cleveland State 19-7 (Horizon), Siena 12-4 (MAAC), Nicholls State 17-6 (Southland), Hartford 13-8 (America East)
No 16 seeds: Prairie View A&M 14-4 (SWAC), ** Oral Roberts 16-10 (Summit), North Carolina A & T * 11-10 (MEAC), ** Appalachian State * 17-11 (Sun Belt), ** Mount St. Mary’s * 12-10 (Northeast), ** Drexel 12-7 * (Colonial)

* First four teams
** Teams that landed automatic bids

Last four in

  • Saint-Louis 14-6
  • Xavier 13-7
  • Drake 25-4
  • Colorado State 17-5

Lowdown: Drake didn’t win his conference tournament, but the Bulldogs should be able to break through the Field of 68. Colorado State had better win a game in the MWC tournament to keep two bubble teams behind in the same conference.

The first four out

  • Utah State 18-7
  • Boise State 18-7
  • Syracuse 15-8
  • Be Miss 15-10

Lowdown: Some projections favor either the State of Utah or the State of Boise over the State of Colorado for one of those last four places. Syracuse will be watching these games closely, but the Orange must beat NC State, another fringe bubble team, in Game 8-9 of the ACC tournament. We have Ole Miss in front of Seton Hall in the pecking order, but that may change. Duke and Indiana remain off our radar for the time being.



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