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Duke headlines first NCAA tournament projection of 2013

Rasheed Sulaimon, Mason Plumlee, Quinn Cook, Josh Hairston

Duke players, from left, Rasheed Sulaimon, Mason Plumlee, Quinn Cook, and Josh Hairston huddle up during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Duke won 80-62. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)

AP

Through the first two months of the college basketball season, no team has accomplished more than Duke. Thus, the Blue Devils hold the top spot on the s-curve and the No. 1 overall seed in our first bracket projection of 2013. For what it’s worth, Duke is No. 1 in the RPI, has played the nation’s third best schedule, is 10-0 vs. the RPI Top 50, and has wins over Louisville, Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Temple, and Ohio State. That’s about as good as it gets. The other No. 1 seeds are Louisville, Michigan, and Kansas.

As expected, the lower half of the current bracket is quite fluid. Even some national headliners have suspect resumes to this point: Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina come to mind. Of those three, Kentucky seems most likely to push for a significantly higher seed come tournament time. We also have teams whose non-conference schedules could prove costly in March: Virginia (No. 329), Maryland (No. 323), Georgia Tech (No. 302), Charlotte (No. 300), Wyoming (No. 281), Iowa (No. 276), Pittsburgh (No. 255), and St. Mary’s (246) are just a few. How these teams - and others - handle conference play will define their seasons because their non-conference numbers won’t help much. (SOS numbers are from ESPN’s RPI rankings).

Quick note: The current bracket is for games played through Sunday, January 6. It does not include games played Monday (Jan. 7). Notre Dame’s win at Cincinnati will be included in the next bracket and s-curve update.

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS - Dayton (First Round)


  • Arizona State vs. Wisconsin | South Region
  • Virginia vs. Oklahoma | West Region
  • NORFOLK STATE vs. SOUTHERN | Midwest Region
  • CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN vs. WAGNER | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION ...

EAST - Washington, DCMIDWEST - Indianapolis
PhiladelphiaLexington
1) DUKE1) LOUISVILLE
16) CHARLESTON STHN / WAGNER 16) NORFOLK ST / SOUTHERN
8) Wyoming8) Temple
9) MEMPHIS9) UCLA
DaytonAuburn Hills
5) Ohio State5) NC State
12) BUCKNELL12) MURRAY STATE
4) Cincinnati4) Illinois
13) DETROIT13) MID TENNESSEE ST
AustinAustin
6) Georgetown6) New Mexico
11) Colorado State11) Indiana State
3) CREIGHTON3) MISSOURI
14) CANISIUS14) UTAH STATE
DaytonKansas City
7) Oklahoma State7) VCU
10) Oregon10) Marquette
2) Indiana2) Minnesota
15) NORTHEASTERN15) MERCER
WEST - Los AngelesSOUTH - Dallas
Kansas CityAuburn Hills
1) KANSAS1) MICHIGAN
16) WEBER STATE16) STONY BROOK
8) Kentucky8) Baylor
9) Miami-FL9) Maryland
San JoseSan Jose
5) Notre Dame5) BUTLER
12) Saint Louis12) Arizona State / Wisconsin
4) Michigan State4) SAN DIEGO STATE
13) NORTH DAKOTA ST13) DAVIDSON
Salt Lake CityLexington
6) UNLV6) Kansas State
11) Virginia / Oklahoma11) North Carolina
3) GONZAGA3) Florida
14) S.F. AUSTIN14) OHIO
Salt Lake CityPhiladelphia
7) Wichita State7) Colorado
10) Pittsburgh10) Boise State
2) ARIZONA2) Syracuse
15) HAWAII15) HARVARD


NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Louisville, Michigan, and Kansas.

Last Five teams in (at large): Saint Louis, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Oklahoma

First Five teams out (at large): Iowa, Iowa State, Dayton, California, Tennessee

Next Five teams out (at large): Belmont, Texas, BYU, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss

Breakdown by Conference ...

Big East (7): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh

Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin

ACC (6): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Maryland, Miami-FL, Virginia

Mountain West (6): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming, Boise State, Colorado State

Atlantic 10 (4): Butler, VCU, Temple, Saint Louis

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma

Pac 12 (4): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon

Missouri Valley (3): Creighton, Wichita State, Indiana State

SEC (3): Missouri, Florida, Kentucky

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

Conference USA (1): Memphis

Conference Automatic Qualifiers ... MURRAY STATE (Ohio Valley), BUCKNELL (Patriot), MIDDLE TENNESSE ST (Sunbelt), NORTH DAKOTA ST (Summit), DETROIT (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), UTAH STATE (WAC), CANISIUS (MAAC), STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (Southland), OHIO (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), HAWAII (Big West), NORTHEASTERN (Colonial), STONY BROOK (American East), WEBER STATE (Big Sky), NORFOLK STATE (MEAC), CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN (Big South), WAGNER (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)