Selection Sunday 2013: 5 Bold Predictions for NCAA Tournament Bracket

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2013

Selection Sunday 2013: 5 Bold Predictions for NCAA Tournament Bracket

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    Selection Sunday is just a day away, and the discussion surrounding the field of 68 for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is reaching its climax. 

    Some teams are playing their way into the field of 68 by winning in their conference tournaments while some teams are choking at the wrong time. 

    Also up for plenty of discussion is the seeding of the top teams in the nation and how the results of the conference tournaments will shape who tops each region come Sunday. 

    Here are five bold predictions about the bracket with just over 24 hours left until the field of 68 is revealed. 

    Article has been updated to reflect Friday night's results. 

Middle Tennessee State Will Sneak In

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    One of the casualties of the first week of conference tournaments was Middle Tennessee State of the Sun Belt. 

    The Blue Raiders ran rampant through regular-season play in the Sun Belt by going 19-1, but they were upset in the semifinals of the conference tournament by Florida International.

    Middle Tennessee has been sitting nervously on their couches this week while many bubble teams crashed out of their conference tournaments early. 

    The combination of a futile group of bubble teams and a strong resume will barely put the Blue Raiders into the field of 68.

    While they may get in, the Blue Raiders will probably have to travel to Dayton to play in the First Four.

The SEC Will Only Have 3 Teams in the Field of 68

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    The SEC may be the dominant conference in college football, but when it comes to the collegiate basketball scene, the SEC is just plain awful.

    Florida has been the class of the conference this season, and they will easily make the field of 68. Missouri should also be a lock to make the NCAA tournament after a strong run where they won four of their past five games.

    Not even Joe Lunardi could predict how pathetic the rest of the teams in the upper tier of the conference standings performed down the stretch. 

    The safest of all of the SEC bubble teams is Alabama, and the Crimson Tide should roll into the field of 68 even if they fail to defeat Florida in the SEC tournament semifinals on Saturday. 

Georgetown Will End Up as a No. 3 Seed

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    Just a few weeks ago, we were all talking about the credentials that Georgetown had as a No. 1 seed.

    Now, with one day left before Selection Sunday, the Hoyas could fall down to a No. 3 seed after losing to Syracuse in the Big East tournament semifinals on Friday night. 

    With Florida, New Mexico and Michigan State still alive in their respective conference tournaments, the Hoyas could drop below all of those teams on the board of the selection committee. 

    If all three of those teams win their conference tournaments, there is no reason why they should not overtake the Hoyas for a No. 2 seed. 

Kentucky Will Not Defend Their National Title

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    Kentucky wrote off any remaining sliver of hope of making the NCAA tournament by losing in dubious fashion to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament quarterfinals on Friday night. 

    The defending national champions were flirting with disaster all season, and they finally hit the self-destruct button in Nashville against the Commodores. 

    After losing 64-48 to Vanderbilt, the Wildcats have no chance of hearing their name being called on Selection Sunday.

    The good news for Kentucky fans is that the Wildcats will be one of the favorites to win the NIT. 

Maryland Will Play Their Way In

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    One bubble team that benefited greatly from everyone else on the bubble losing this week was Maryland. 

    The Terrapins helped their own cause by winning games down the stretch and in the ACC tournament. 

    Maryland beat Duke for the second time this season on Friday night in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, and they are riding a momentum high at the moment. 

    With the inside-outside combination of Dez Wells and Alex Len firing on all cylinders at the moment, the Terrapins will be a matchup problem for any team they are drawn against in March. 

    While their job is not completed yet, a win in the semifinals of the ACC tournament will clinch a spot in the final 68 for the Terrapins.

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