Welcome to the controversy.
I love doing bracket projections. It invites several people to act as defense attorneys on behalf of their "clients," and there should be no shortage of debate with the first one.
My last four teams in are: Kansas, Washington, Evansville, and UNLV. My last four teams out are: Kentucky, Rhode Island, Utah, and Oklahoma State. Washington has a better record and RPI than UK, plus UK is 2-17 in their last 19 games against ranked opponents. Pitt gets the No. 1 overall seed.
I believe the Mountain West, Missouri Valley, and West Coast conferences will get two teams, in as will the Atlantic 10. The Big East leads the way with nine.
My favorite first round matchup is Cal vs. Gonzaga. I could see neither of these teams making it once mid-March comes around, and I wonder if the 'Zags would wake up in time to face a Bears squad that has underachieved in recent years but is playing their best ball in some time.
My upset special is Western Kentucky over Michigan. The hoops landscape has welcomed the Wolverines renaissance, but the 'Toppers have been in this position before (last year, to be exact) and are more than NCAA-ready. In fact, I could see them knocking off Xavier and getting back to the Sweet 16 again.
Binghamton, North Dakota State, and UC-Riverside would make their Dance Debuts if the Dance started this week.
Without further ado—let the debate begin!
1 Pitt v. 16 Play-In (Morehead St./Alabama St.)
2 Michigan St. v. 15 Binghamton
3 Clemson v. 14 Cornell
4 Arizona St. v. 13 Siena
5 Butler v. 12 Kansas
6 Villanova v. 11 LSU
7 Baylor v. 10 Louisville
8 Purdue v. 9 BYU
1 UNC v. 16 Robert Morris
2 Syracuse v. 15 Navy
3 Texas v. 14 VMI
4 Illinois v. 13 George Mason
5 Memphis v. 12 Evansville
6 Wisconsin v. 11 Dayton
7 Boston College v. 10 Stanford
8 Arkansas v. 9 West Virginia
1 UConn v. 16 Hampton
2 Duke v. 15 ETSU
3 Georgetown v. 14 Lamar
4 Xavier v. 13 Miami (Ohio)
5 Michigan v. 12 Western Kentucky
6 Cal v. 11 Gonzaga
7 Minnesota v. 10 Florida
8 Texas A&M v. 9 Davidson
1 Wake Forest v. 16 UC-Riverside
2 Oklahoma v. 15 North Dakota St.
3 UCLA v. 14 Portland St.
4 Tennessee v. 13 Utah St.
5 Marquette v. 12 Washington
6 Ohio State v. 11 UNLV
7 Notre Dame v. 10 Florida State
8 Illinois St. v. 9 St. Mary’s