NCAA Basketball Bracketology: Bracket Projections for Feb. 1
This bracketology will evaluate teams based on how they have performed to this point in the season. It will not factor in how they are projected to do the rest of the season.
A conference in parentheses next to a team indicates that team is in this bracket as a conference champion AQ.
With the 68-team format, there will be four play-in games. There will be two play-in games for the bottom four at-large teams and two play-in games for the bottom four conference tournament winners who earned automatic bids.
In the bracket, the winner of the Midwest Region plays the winner of the East Region, and the winner of the South Region plays the winner of the West Region.
The Midwest Region and the East Region hold the overall No. 1 and No. 4 seeds, respectively. The South Region and West Region hold the overall No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively.
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No. 1 Michigan (Big Ten) vs. No. 16 Southern (SWAC)/Norfolk State (MEAC)
Michigan is 2-1 against the Top 25. The Wolverines also have wins over Pitt and Kansas State.
Southern lost any chance of being higher than a No. 16 seed by losing a game in the SWAC. The Jaguars' conference record is 8-1.
Norfolk State won only five times in non-conference play, but the Spartans are 7-0 in the MEAC.
No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State
In its first test since a win over Missouri on January 12, Ole Miss lost at home to Kentucky, 87-74. Next up is No. 4 Florida on Saturday night.
Oklahoma State's only Top 25 win came over North Carolina State in November. The Cowboys have a huge opportunity coming up on Saturday against No. 2 Kansas.
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt)
At 6-1, Marquette is tied with Syracuse for first place in the Big East.
If Middle Tennessee finishes 17-1 in the Sun Belt and then wins the conference tournament, it could be a single-digit seed in March.
No. 4 New Mexico (MWC) vs. No. 13 Akron (MAC)
New Mexico is the only one-loss team in the Mountain West.
At 7-0 in the MAC, Akron leads second-place Ohio by a half-game. The Zips will play the Bobcats for first place this weekend.
Midwest Region (Continued)
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No. 6 Wichita State (MVC) vs. No. 11 Kentucky
Wichita State's four-game winning streak ended with the loss to Indiana State, but the Shockers still hold first place in the MVC thanks to a win over Creighton a few weeks ago.
Kentucky won at Ole Miss this week for its first Top 25 win of the year.
No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 14 Valparaiso (Horizon)
Michigan State is in third place in the Big Ten at 7-2, and the Spartans' only losses are at Minnesota and at Indiana.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Colorado State
Notre Dame has won three of its last four games despite not having Scott Martin for its last two wins. The Fighting Irish play a big game at Syracuse on Monday.
Colorado State is yet to beat a Top 25 team, but the Rams rank No. 21 in RPI.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Long Beach State (Big West)
Following an embarrassing loss at Miami (FL), Duke defeated Maryland and Wake Forest to remain in the hunt for the ACC title.
Long Beach State is 9-2 since winning only three of their first nine games.
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No. 1 Florida (SEC) vs. No. 16 Northeastern (CAA)
Simply put, Florida has been too good for the SEC. No team has come within fewer than 17 points of the Gators since Kansas State beat them on December 22.
Northeastern's perfect season in the CAA ended with a home loss to Georgia State on Wednesday.
No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Oklahoma
Colorado has won three straight games to get back to .500 in the Pac-12.
Oklahoma won at Baylor on Wednesday for its first, impressive road win of the 2012-13 season.
No. 5 VCU (A10) vs. No. 12 Illinois/St. Mary’s
VCU ended a two-game slide with a win at Rhode Island this week.
Illinois has really struggled in Big Ten play, but the Fighting Illini's strong non-conference resume and league win over Ohio State are keeping them in the field right now.
St. Mary's has been playing very well since the beginning of December, and it is only one game behind Gonzaga in the loss column for first place in the WCC.
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 South Dakota State (Summit)
Louisville's only Top 25 win is over Missouri, and right now even that win is not looking so great.
South Dakota State moved into a tie for first place in the Summit League on Thursday night. The Jackrabbits had impressive non-conference wins over New Mexico and Montana.
East Region (Continued)
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No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 11 Indiana State
Cincinnati has won four of its last five games since starting Big East play at 1-2.
Indiana State defeated Wichita State for its first Top 25 win of the year, and the Sycamores also have wins over Miami and Ole MIss.
No. 3 Miami (ACC) vs. No. 14 Harvard (Ivy)
Miami is emerging as the clear favorite in the ACC with a 7-0 start in league play.
Harvard has a respectable 10-6 record, but its only notable wins are over Boston College and Cal.
No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Memphis
Since upsetting Indiana at Assembly Hall, Wisconsin has lost three of four games.
Memphis' best wins this season are over Ohio, Tennessee and Harvard.
No. 2 Syracuse (Big East) vs. No. 15 Niagara (MAAC)
Syracuse's eight-game winning streak ended with a loss at Villanova last weekend.
Out of Niagara's 10 MAAC wins, six have come by four points or fewer.
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No. 1 Kansas (Big 12) vs. No. 16 Bryant (NEC)
Kansas' only loss this season is by three points to Michigan State.
At 7-2 midway through the conference season, Bryant is looking for its first-ever NEC title.
No. 8 Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 UCLA
Pitt's four-game winning streak ended with a loss to Louisville, but the Panthers get another shot at a quality win against Syracuse on Saturday.
UCLA has lost three of its last four games and is starting to move towards the bubble once again.
Salt Lake City
No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 12 Iowa State
After losing back-to-back games to Wichita State and Drake, Creighton has beaten Southern Illinois and Missouri State.
Iowa State has a big stretch coming up with games against Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 13 Louisiana Tech (WAC)
San Diego State's 55-34 win over New Mexico last week showed the Aztecs still have what it takes to win the Mountain West.
At 9-0 in the WAC, Louisiana Tech holds a two-game lead over New Mexico State and Denver in the loss column.
South Region (Continued)
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No. 6 Georgetown vs. No. 11 Saint Louis
Georgetown is emerging as a Big East contender after winning five of its last six games.
Saint Louis defeated Butler on Thursday night for its second Top 25 win of the season.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 14 Davidson (SoCon)
Ohio State has won five of its last six to move into fourth place in the Big Ten.
Davidson did not pick up any huge wins in non-conference play, but it is 9-1 in the SoCon.
No. 7 NC State vs. No. 10 Southern Miss (C-USA)
NC State has not won back-to-back games since January 9 (Georgia Tech) and January 12 (Duke).
All of Southern Miss' losses came away from home, and every team it lost to is currently in the top two in its respective conference.
No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 Lehigh (Patriot)
Arizona survived a close game at Washington on Thursday to stay in second place in the Pac-12.
Lehigh has beaten Bucknell already in conference play, but it also got blown out by Lafayette on its home floor.
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No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 16 Charleston Southern (Big Sou.)/Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun)
With a win over Michigan on Saturday, Indiana would move into first place in the Big Ten.
Charleston Southern's only conference loss came by a single point in overtime.
Florida Gulf Coast beat Miami (FL) in November, but the Hurricanes were without Durand Scott in that game.
No. 8 Missouri vs. No. 9 Baylor
Missouri has not looked good this month, getting dominated by Ole Miss and Florida and losing to LSU.
Baylor fell into a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 after losing to Oklahoma this week.
No. 5 Kansas State vs. No. 12 St. John’s/UNC
Kansas State is one of the three teams tied for second place in the Big 12.
St. John's is currently alone in third place in the Big East. The Red Storm has two Top 25 wins this season.
UNC is still in the field thanks to a December win over then-No. 20 UNLV.
No. 4 Oregon (Pac-12) vs. No. 13 Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
In its first loss of Pac-12 play, Oregon was dominated by Stanford on Wednesday night.
Stephen F. Austin has allowed an opponent to score more than 60 points only four times.
West Region (Continued)
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No. 6 UNLV vs. No. 11 Arizona State
Although UNLV has only one high-quality road win (San Diego State), the Rebels' RPI is in the top 20.
Arizona State has worked its way into the field of 68 by overachieving in Pac-12 play.
No. 3 Butler vs. No. 14 Montana (Big Sky)
After rattling off 13 wins in a row, Butler has lost two of its last three games.
Montana is undefeated since Will Cherry returned from his injury and started getting starter's minutes.
Salt Lake City
No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Belmont (OVC)
Minnesota ended its four-game losing streak with an easy win over Nebraska on Tuesday.
Thanks to playing a tough non-conference schedule and then dominating the OVC, Belmont's RPI ranks No. 17.
No. 2 Gonzaga (WCC) vs. No. 15 Stony Brook (A-East)
If Gonzaga beats St. Mary's on February 14, it will essentially clinch the WCC title.
Stony Brook could be dangerous as a lower seed considering that the Seawolves played close games with Connecticut, Maryland and Seton Hall this season.
First Four out
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Villanova has a pair of top-five wins, but the Wildcats' 18-point loss to Columbia at home still stings. If they take care of business in their next three games against Providence, DePaul and South Florida, they will be in better shape on the bubble.
La Salle also has a pair of Top 25 wins, but the Explorers also have losses to Central Connecticut State, Bucknell and Charlotte.
Temple, the third Big Five team in the first four out, has a great win over Syracuse at Madison Square Garden, but the Owls are 3-3 in the Atlantic 10 and have home losses to Saint Bonaventure and Canisius.
Maryland has fallen to the wrong side of the bubble after losing three of their last four and five of their last seven. The Terrapins need to beat Duke on February 16 to make the field of 68.
Jesse Kramer is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the founder of The Catch and Shoot Basketball Blog.