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Latest Bracket: Arizona grabs No. 1 seed in West Region

Long Beach State v Arizona

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats talks with (L-R) Grant Jerrett #33, Nick Johnson #13 and Brandon Ashley #21 during a break from the college basketball game against the Long Beach State 49ers at McKale Center on November 19, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the 49ers 94-72. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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If Arizona continues its strong play during the next two months, it’ll be hard for the Selection Committee to keep the Wildcats off the top line out West. That’s where the Wildcats reside in our latest bracket projection. At No. 4 on the s-curve, Arizona trails Duke, Kansas, and Michigan in the chase for the overall No. 1 seed. Fresh off a win at Louisville on Saturday and Cincinnati at home Monday, Syracuse is an eyelash behind at No. 5. Others on the two-line: Louisville, Indiana, and Florida. When the Gators are good, they are really good.

The bubble remains a mystery. And an ever-changing target. Consider that six of the ten teams just outside the bracket on Saturday morning (s-curve spots 69-78) lost. Then we have a team like Virginia. The up-and-down Cavaliers notched a road win at Florida State, but it’s unrealistic for a team with an RPI in the mid 120’s to garner serious at-large consideration. So we have to still go a bit on potential at this point. Thus, Kentucky and Maryland are among the First Four participants.

Big Ten power paid off for Iowa this week. The Hawkeyes represent the eighth Big Ten team in the current Field of 68 after beating Wisconsin and Northwestern. By the time March rolls around, we’ll more likely end up with six or seven Big Ten teams in the Dance. Much of that will depend on whether an additional SEC or ACC team steps up to grab an at-large spot. The Mountain West remains strong with six teams in the bracket. But as MWC teams jockey for position, it might limit the number of top five seeds. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

Note: A few teams - including the First Four winners - had to be adjusted a seed line to account for conference conflicts and bracketing principles. This is a common occurrence during the actual bracketing process. For example, Iowa State drops to the 12-line because of related issues with the First Four and finding a spot for Iowa which needed to avoid another Big Ten opponent until a Regional final. While the committee attempts to avoid regular-season rematches in the first two rounds, exceptions can be made; in this case Iowa and Wichita State played but it’s the way the bracket came together.

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)


  • Maryland vs. Indiana State | Midwest Region
  • Kentucky vs. Temple | West Region
  • NORFOLK STATE vs. MERCER | Midwest Region
  • CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN vs. LONG BEACH | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION ...

EAST - Washington, DCMIDWEST - Indianapolis
PhiladelphiaAuburn Hills
1) DUKE1) MICHIGAN
16) LONG BEACH / CHARLESTON-SO 16) MERCER / NORFOLK ST
8) Mississippi8) Notre Dame
9) Colorado State9) Baylor
Auburn HillsSan Jose
5) Cincinnati5) Miami-FL
12) BELMONT12) BUCKNELL
4) Michigan State4) Oregon
13) MID TENNESSEE ST13) NO DAKOTA STATE
DaytonSalt Lake
6) Wichita State6) San Diego State
11) Iowa11) Maryland / Indiana State
3) BUTLER3) GONZAGA
14) VALPARAISO14) HARVARD
LexingtonLexington
7) UCLA7) Wisconsin
10) North Carolina10) Oklahoma State
2) FLORIDA2) Louisville
15) SOUTHERN15) WEBER STATE
WEST - Los AngelesSOUTH - Dallas
San JoseKansas City
1) ARIZONA1) KANSAS
16) NORTHEASTERN16) BRYANT
8) Georgetown8) Pittsburgh
9) Illinois9) Colorado
Salt LakeAustin
5) Missouri5) Ohio State
12) Iowa State12) Wyoming
4) NEW MEXICO4) NC State
13) S.F. AUSTIN13) OHIO
AustinKansas City
6) Kansas State6) VCU
11) Temple / Kentucky11) Boise State
3) Minnesota3) CREIGHTON
14) LOUISIANA TECH14) DAVIDSON
PhiladelphiaDayton
7) UNLV7) Marquette
10) MEMPHIS10) Oklahoma
2) SYRACUSE2) Indiana
15) VERMONT15) NIAGARA


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

Last Five teams in (at large): Iowa, Temple, Indiana State, Kentucky, Maryland

First Five teams out (at large): Arizona State, Texas A&M, Saint Louis, Saint Mary’s, BYU

Next Five teams out (at large): Rutgers, Xavier, Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia

Breakdown by Conference ...

Big Ten (8): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa

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

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

Big 12 (6): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Iowa State

ACC (5): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL, Maryland

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

SEC (4): Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi

Atlantic 10 (3): Butler, VCU, Temple

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

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

Conference USA (1): Memphis

Conference Automatic Qualifiers ... BELMONT (Ohio Valley), BUCKNELL (Patriot), MIDDLE TENNESSE ST (Sunbelt), NORTH DAKOTA ST (Summit), VALPARAISO (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), LOUISIANA TECH (WAC), NIAGARA (MAAC), STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (Southland), OHIO (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), LONG BEACH (Big West), NORTHEASTERN (Colonial), VERMONT (American East), WEBER STATE (Big Sky), NORFOLK STATE (MEAC), CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN (Big South), BRYANT (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)