Welcome to Week 2 of Sporting News’ NCAA Tournament projections, known around these parts as the “Field of 68.”
Our goal is to give you a numbers snapshot for every team, and maybe a note or two on each squad. This isn’t a projection of what the seed lines will look like on Selection Sunday (predicting the future is a fool’s errand), but an educated guess at how the bracket would look if the season ended yesterday.
MORE: March Madness projections (1.0)
You’ll see the information that will be used by the selection committee — a mix of statistics and other relevant facts for every single at-large team. As you know, even though numbers matter, they aren’t the only thing: The committee looks at an entire body of work, a process that includes many factors.
As always, automatic bids (in parentheses) go to the team with the fewest conference losses. In case of a tie, the bid is given to the team with the best NET rating.
Projected No. 1 seeds
Kansas (Big 12), Baylor, Gonzaga (WCC), Dayton (A-10)
Kansas (23-3): NET/Pom/KPI: 1/1/1. vs. Q1: 11-3. vs. Q2: 7-0. vs. Q3/4: 5-0
Baylor (24-2): NET/Pom/KPI: 2/2/2. vs. Q1: 10-1. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
Gonzaga (27-2): NET/Pom/KPI: 3/3/15. vs. Q1: 5-2. vs. Q2: 3-0. vs. Q3/4: 19-0
Dayton (25-2): NET/Pom/KPI: 4/6/3. vs. Q1: 4-2. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 15-0
Thoughts: Three of the four teams on the No. 1 seed line lost last week, ending a long stretch of L-free basketball for that group. Baylor lost at home to Kansas, and there’s zero shame in that. The Bears stay on the No. 1 seed line, though KU takes the overall top seed. Gonzaga’s slip-up at BYU was basically a footnote to San Diego State’s massive hiccup at home against a .500ish UNLV squad. The Aztecs drop off the top line. Dayton has one more loss, but better wins, better metrics and its only two losses were in OT to Kansas and Colorado (spoiler, a 5-seed this week); that’s much better than SDSU.
Projected No. 2 seeds
San Diego State (MWC), Duke (ACC), Maryland (Big Ten), Florida State
San Diego State (25-1): NET/Pom/KPI: 5/5/14. vs. Q1: 4-0. vs. Q2: 5-0. vs. Q3/4: 16-1
Duke (23-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 6/4/4. vs. Q1: 4-3. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 13-1
Maryland (22-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 10/10/7. vs. Q1: 6-5. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Florida State (23-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 12/21/9. vs. Q1: 4-3. vs. Q2: 8-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-0
Thoughts: Either Duke or Maryland could have been in Dayton’s shoes, on the 1-seed line, but the Blue Devils were thumped at N.C. State earlier in the week and Maryland lost on the road at Ohio State on Sunday. Both still easily stay 2-seeds. Florida State went to N.C. State — where Duke lost by 22 — and beat the Wolfpack by six.
Projected No. 3 seeds
Louisville, Villanova, Creighton, Seton Hall (Big East)
Louisville (23-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 7/9/12. vs. Q1: 4-4. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
Creighton (21-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 9/13/8. vs. Q1: 9-6. vs. Q2: 5-0. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Villanova (21-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 11/18/5. vs. Q1: 8-6. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Seton Hall (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 17/19/10. vs. Q1: 10-5. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 5-0
Thoughts: Lots of Big East schools on this line. The league is solid, which means lots of opportunities for Q1 wins. These three teams have been the best at collecting them.
Projected No. 4 seeds
Kentucky (SEC), Auburn, Penn State, Oregon
Kentucky (22-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 21/26/17. vs. Q1: 6-3. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 12-1
Auburn (23-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 28/38/6. vs. Q1: 5-2. vs. Q2: 7-2. vs. Q3/4: 11-0
Penn State (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 25/20/19. vs. Q1: 7-4. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Oregon (21-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 20/23/11. vs. Q1: 7-5. vs. Q2: 4-2. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Thoughts: Just as folks were starting to warm up to Auburn and Penn State as legitimate candidates for the No. 2 seed line, losses came calling. Auburn lost at both Missouri and Georgia — yes, the Tigers were without Isaac Okoro, but Mizzou and UGA are a combined 27-27 this year — and Penn State slipped up at home against Illinois and at Indiana. Meanwhile, Kentucky is 12-2 in the SEC and racking up quality wins.
MORE: Why SDSU’s bid for No. 1 seed is in jeopardy
Projected No. 5 seeds
Michigan State, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio State
Michigan State (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 13/8/35. vs. Q1: 5-8. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Colorado (21-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 18/24/13. vs. Q1: 6-3. vs. Q2: 5-3. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Michigan (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 22/11/27. vs. Q1: 7-8. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Ohio State (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 19/12/34. vs. Q1: 5-8. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Thoughts: Michigan has won five in a row — four against likely/possible at-large teams and three on the road — and that’s a good way to shoot up seed lists (though this might be a notch too high). Ohio State picked up its best win of the season on Sunday, knocking off a streaking Maryland team that had won nine in a row and was threatening to run away with the Big Ten regular-season title.
Projected No. 6 seeds
Iowa, West Virginia, Butler, Arizona
Iowa (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 27/22/24. vs. Q1: 7-6. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
West Virginia (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 15/7/16. vs. Q1: 5-6. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
Butler (19-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 23/30/22. vs. Q1: 8-7. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Arizona (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 8/15/20. vs. Q1: 3-6. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-1
Thoughts: It has been a rough stretch for West Virginia, which lost four of its past five games. More concerning to the committee — which loves wins away from home — is that the Mountaineers are now just 1-6 on the road in conference play, with two of those losses at K-State and TCU, non-tournament teams. Same for Butler, which has lost five of its past seven games and has lost five of its past six road contests.
Projected No. 7 seeds
BYU, Texas Tech, Houston (AAC), LSU
BYU (22-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 14/15/26. vs. Q1: 3-4. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 15-0
Texas Tech (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 16/14/52. vs. Q1: 3-8. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-0
Houston (21-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 24/17/25. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 6-3. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
LSU (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 30/35/18. vs. Q1: 4-6. vs. Q2: 7-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-1
Thoughts: Big, huge win for BYU this week, knocking off Gonzaga at home by double-digits. If the Cougars’ three OT games had gone the other way — they’ve lost all three, two to non-at-large teams — BYU could be looking at a top-five seed. Houston hasn’t had great luck with its close games, either. The Cougars have four losses in AAC play by a combined total of six points. Oh, and these Cougars lost to those Cougars back in November by, you guessed it, one point.
Projected No. 8 seeds
Marquette, Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin
Marquette (17-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 26/29/23. vs. Q1: 5-8. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Illinois (16-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 35/28/44. vs. Q1: 5-7. vs. Q2: 3-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-1
Virginia (19-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 51/48/28. vs. Q1: 3-3. vs. Q2: 6-3. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Wisconsin (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 29/27/31. vs. Q1: 7-8. vs. Q2: 3-1. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
Thoughts: The 8-seed line is where we have our first double-digit loss team; Wisconsin has 10 of them, but eight are Q1 losses and those are mostly balanced out by seven Q1 victories. And this is the point where teams that have fewer than nine losses also are thin on Q1 wins.
MORE: West Virginia’s lofty seed suggests selections still need tweak
Projected No. 9 seeds
Arizona State (Pac-12), Wichita State, Indiana, Saint Mary’s
Arizona State (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 41/55/21. vs. Q1: 5-6. vs. Q2: 4-2. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Wichita State (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 43/39/36. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 6-3. vs. Q3/4: 12-0
Indiana (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 52/37/42. vs. Q1: 6-7. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Saint Mary’s (22-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 32/36/38. vs. Q1: 3-3. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 15-2
Thoughts: After a road loss at Washington State, this was looking like a possibly lost season for Arizona State (12-8 overall and 3-4 in Pac-12 play). But the Sun Devils have won seven in a row, including wins against Oregon, Stanford and USC, three at-large teams in this week’s Field of 68. Indiana had a good week, winning at Minnesota and upending Penn State at home.
Projected No. 10 seeds
Rutgers, Rhode Island, Xavier, Florida
Rutgers (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 34/32/47. vs. Q1: 3-8. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Rhode Island (19-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 37/44/30. vs. Q1: 1-4. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 13-1
Xavier (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 44/45/32. vs. Q1: 3-9. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Florida (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 33/33/33. vs. Q1: 4-7. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
Thoughts: I’m not saying this group is underwhelming, but if this is your 10-seed line, don’t expect many 10-over-7 “upsets” this March.
Projected No. 11 seeds
Northern Iowa (MVC), N.C. State, Stanford, *Oklahoma, *Providence
Northern Iowa (21-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 46/43/51. vs. Q1: 1-1. vs. Q2: 4-2. vs. Q3/4: 16-2
N.C. State (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 53/50/40. vs. Q1: 5-4. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 8-3
Stanford (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 31/34/54. vs. Q1: 2-5. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 12-1
*Oklahoma (16-11): NET/Pom/KPI: 55/42/46. vs. Q1: 3-9. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
*Providence (16-12): NET/Pom/KPI: 48/49/39. vs. Q1: 7-8. vs. Q2: 3-0. vs. Q3/4: 6-4
Thoughts: N.C. State’s faltering at-large hopes were given a giant boost with a dominating 22-point win over Duke early in the week, but the Wolfpack are still far from secure. Providence has an odd resume: You see the four Q3/4 losses? Those are ugly, no doubt. But the seven Q1 wins — including at Marquette, at Butler and at Georgetown — are more than any other bubble-type team can claim.
No. 12 seeds
*Arkansas, *USC, ETSU (Southern), Yale (Ivy), Liberty (Atlantic Sun)
*Arkansas (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 45/47/41. vs. Q1: 2-6. vs. Q2: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
*USC (19-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 47/61/37. vs. Q1: 2-7. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-1
ETSU (25-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 39/60/52. vs. Q1: 2-2 vs. Q2: 4-0 vs. Q3/4: 16-2
Yale (20-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 60/51/90. vs. Q1: 0-3 vs. Q2: 3-1 vs. Q3/4: 15-2
Liberty (26-3): NET/Pom/KPI: 50/58/99. vs. Q1: 1-1 vs. Q2: 0-1 vs. Q3/4: 23-1
Thoughts: Arkansas’ resume is about as blah as you can get. The Razorbacks only have one win against a likely at-large team — at Indiana — and they’re 0-4 against SEC teams in this week’s Field of 68, plus they were swept by “Next Four Out” team Mississippi State. Same for USC; the Pac-12 has five other teams in this week’s field, and the Trojans are 1-5 against those squads, with the lone win at home in OT against Stanford.
Projected Nos. 13-16 seeds
No. 13 seeds: North Texas (C-USA), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Akron (MAC), Vermont (America East)
No. 14 seeds: Belmont (Ohio Valley), Wright State (Horizon), UC-Irvine (Big West), Colgate (Patriot)
No. 15 seeds: New Mexico State (WAC), South Dakota State (Summit), Hofstra (Colonial), Radford (Big South)
No. 16 seeds: Montana (Big Sky), Little Rock (Sun Belt), *Saint Francis (Northeast), *Siena (MAAC), *Prairie View A&M (SWAC), *Norfolk State (MEAC)
*First Four teams
Newbies: Belmont, N.C. State, Providence, Radford, Saint Francis (Pa.)
Dropped out: Georgetown, Merrimack, Murray State, Purdue, Winthrop
First four out:
Cincinnati (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 54/41/29. vs. Q1: 2-5. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 10-4
Memphis (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 61/67/49. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 12-3
Mississippi State (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 57/53/50. vs. Q1: 2-6. vs. Q2: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 12-2
Richmond (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 49/52/43. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 16-1
In the conversation (alphabetically):
Alabama (15-12): NET/Pom/KPI: 40/46/48. vs. Q1: 2-6. vs. Q2: 4-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
Georgetown (15-12): NET/Pom/KPI: 59/54/45. vs. Q1: 4-10. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Minnesota (13-13): NET/Pom/KPI: 42/31/58. vs. Q1: 5-9. vs. Q2: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Purdue (14-14): NET/Pom/KPI: 36/25/66. vs. Q1: 4-11. vs. Q2: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
South Carolina (16-11): NET/Pom/KPI: 63/69/56. vs. Q1: 4-7. vs. Q2: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
UCLA (16-11): NET/Pom/KPI: 76/86/55. vs. Q1: 5-5. vs. Q2: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
UNCG (21-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 62/73/65. vs. Q1: 1-2. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 18-2
Utah State (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 38/40/64. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 16-1
VCU (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 58/64/60. vs. Q1: 1-7. vs. Q2: 1-2. vs. Q3/4: 15-1
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