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March Insanity bracket predictions 1.0: Projecting the Area of 68 for 2021 NCAA Match

March is nearly right here, which suggests the 2021 NCAA Match is simply across the nook. 

Effectively, hopefully. The NCAA is doing what it might probably to scale back the danger of COVID-19 enjoying havoc with the event — setting all the occasion within the state of Indiana — however there’s solely a lot that may be finished. Hopefully they’ll play video games with out delays and interruptions, however extra importantly hopefully everybody stays protected. Assuming all the pieces stays on observe, Choice Sunday is March 14.

Let’s soar again into the NCAA Match projections sport, with our first Area of 68 projection of the season. 

As at all times, Sporting Information’ Area of 68 projections are primarily based on the place groups must be seeded primarily based on how their resumes examine, if the season ended yesterday. As a result of we’re nonetheless a number of weeks from Choice Sunday, I’m not as involved with areas and bracketing ideas; in case your crew has an 8-seed resume relative to the opposite groups within the subject, they’re on the 8-seed line. Easy as that.

MORE: Adjustments to March Insanity schedule might create biggest day (or days) in NCAA Match historical past

For every crew, I’ve included a few rankings and data that might be very related when the choice committee meets to construct the true bracket. Automated bids (famous in parenthesis) go to the crew with the perfect convention report. In case of a tie, the bid is given to the crew with the perfect NET ranking. 

March Insanity bracket predictions for 2021 NCAA Match

Projected No. 1 seeds

Gonzaga (West Coast), Baylor (Huge 12), Michigan (Huge Ten), Ohio State

  • Gonzaga (22-0): NET/Pom: 1/1. vs. Q1: 7-0. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
  • Baylor (17-0): NET/Pom: 2/2. vs. Q1: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
  • Michigan (16-1): NET/Pom: 3/3. vs. Q1: 11-0. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
  • Ohio State (18-5): NET/Pom: 7/7. vs. Q1: 8-4. vs. Q3/4: 7-0

Ideas: The highest three groups — Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan — are just about locked into No. 1 seeds at this level. On the very least, all three have appreciable 1-seed cushions. Ohio State holds onto the fourth No. 1 seed for the second, simply forward of Illinois, even after dropping at dwelling to Michigan in what was an exciting sport. If the Buckeyes journey up once more and Illinois stumbles a bit, Alabama might make a 1-seed push.

Projected No. 2 seeds

Illinois, Alabama (SEC), Villanova (Huge East), Iowa

  • Illinois (16-5): NET/Pom: 4/5. vs. Q1: 7-5. vs. Q3/4: 5-0
  • Alabama (18-5): NET/Pom: 8/8. vs. Q1: 7-3. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
  • Villanova (14-3): NET/Pom: 10/11. vs. Q1: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
  • Iowa (17-6): NET/Pom: 5/4. vs. Q1: 4-5. vs. Q3/4: 7-0

Ideas: Iowa’s nonetheless a 1-seed chance, however that might nearly actually require successful its subsequent two video games — at Michigan on Thursday and at Ohio State on Saturday. No small process. Villanova’s extra prone to drop a seed line with a loss or two than to leap as much as the highest seed line; the Wildcats solely have two Quad 1 wins, and of their last 4 video games just one (at dwelling vs. Creighton) is a Quad 1 chance. Three Q1 wins received’t be sufficient, until loopy issues occur.  

Projected No. 3 seeds

Houston, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida State (ACC)

  • Houston (17-3): NET/Pom: 6/6. vs. Q1: 2-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-1
  • Virginia (15-5): NET/Pom: 9/9. vs. Q1: 3-4. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
  • West Virginia (15-6): NET/Pom: 15/16. vs. Q1: 6-6. vs. Q3/4: 5-0
  • Oklahoma (14-5): NET/Pom: 19/26. vs. Q1: 5-5. vs. Q3/4: 8-0

Ideas: Oklahoma has received seven of its previous eight video games, together with street victories at West Virginia and Texas, two groups within the prime 5 seed traces of this week’s projection. The committee loves outcomes like that. West Virginia’s resume contains a formidable sweep of Texas Tech and street wins at Texas and Oklahoma State.

Projected No. 4 seeds

Florida State, Tennessee, Kansas, USC (Pac 12)

  • Florida State (13-3): NET/Pom: 12/12. vs. Q1: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 5-1
  • Tennessee (15-6): NET/Pom: 18/24. vs. Q1: 5-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
  • Kansas (16-7): NET/Pom: 16/22. vs. Q1: 5-7. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
  • USC (19-4): NET/Pom: 14/14. vs. Q1: 3-1. vs. Q3/4: 12-0

Ideas: USC notched one other resume win on Monday night time, beating Oregon by 14 factors at dwelling. That’s 14 wins previously 16 video games for the Trojans. The Pac 12 doesn’t provide a lot in the way in which of elite-level wins, however the Trojans are accumulating as many mid-level victories as doable. And, sure, that is the yr that Kansas’ grip on the Huge 12 title ends, however the Jayhawks are nonetheless crew enjoying their greatest ball of the season (5 wins in a row).

Projected No. 5 seeds

Texas, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech

  • Texas (13-6): NET/Pom: 23/21. vs. Q1: 3-6. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
  • Missouri (14-6): NET/Pom: 39/44. vs. Q1: 6-4. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
  • Virginia Tech (14-4): NET/Pom: 36/35. vs. Q1: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
  • Texas Tech (14-8): NET/Pom: 14/22. vs. Q1: 4-7. vs. Q3/4: 10-0

Ideas: When the choice committee did its reveal of the highest 4 seed traces, Missouri was listed because the No. 16 seed. The Tigers promptly went out and misplaced three video games in a row earlier than righting the ship with a win at South Carolina. On this projection, although, Mizzou has solely fallen to the 5-seed line, and right here’s why: participant availability. Senior huge man Jeremiah Tillmon missed all three video games, and that issues to the choice committee. He was within the lineup when Mizzou beat Alabama — the one SEC lack of the yr thus far for the Tide — and again within the combine for the South Carolina win.

Projected No. 6 seeds

Purdue, Wisconsin, Creighton, Arkansas

  • Purdue (15-8): NET/Pom: 28/17. vs. Q1: 4-7. vs. Q3/4: 6-1
  • Wisconsin (16-8): NET/Pom: 20/13. vs. Q1: 3-7. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
  • Creighton (16-5): NET/Pom: 25/15. vs. Q1: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 5-4
  • Arkansas (17-5): NET/Pom: 26/24. vs. Q1: 4-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-0

Ideas: Different projections have Creighton as excessive as a 4 seed, however that appears inflated. They’ve just one win towards an at-large lock (at dwelling vs. Villanova) however they’ve 4 — FOUR — losses to groups that received’t sniff an at-large bid (dwelling vs. Marquette, at Butler, dwelling vs. Windfall and residential vs. Georgetown). They’re solidly within the subject, with high quality wins towards Seton Corridor (two), Xavier and UConn, however this feels extra like their seed stage.

Projected No. 7 seeds

Oklahoma State, Clemson, Florida, LSU

  • Oklahoma State (15-6): NET/Pom: 41/43. vs. Q1: 6-4. vs. Q3/4: 8-1
  • Clemson (13-5): NET/Pom: 38/41. vs. Q1: 4-5. vs. Q3/4: 4-0
  • Florida (11-6): NET/Pom: 29/32. vs. Q1: 3-3. vs. Q3/4: 5-1
  • LSU (14-6): NET/Pom: 27/27. vs. Q1: 3-6. vs. Q3/4: 9-0

Ideas: Oklahoma State, in fact, was technically banned from the 2021 Match, however that call is being appealed and the Cowboys stay eligible whereas on that enchantment. No person is aware of when the NCAA will rule on that enchantment, however at this level it could be crummy to declare the Cowboys ineligible so near Choice Sunday. With wins just like the one Monday night time — beating Texas Tech in OT — they’re exhibiting they’re undoubtedly tournament-worthy.

Projected No. 8 seeds

Oregon, UCLA, Loyola Chicago (Missouri Valley), BYU

  • Oregon (14-5): NET/Pom: 42/37. vs. Q1: 2-3. vs. Q3/4: 8-2
  • UCLA (16-5): NET/Pom: 43/45. vs. Q1: 2-3. vs. Q3/4: 12-0
  • Loyola Chicago (17-4): NET/Pom: 11/9. vs. Q1: 1-2. vs. Q3/4: 12-0
  • BYU (16-5): NET/Pom: 22/20. vs. Q1: 3-3. vs. Q3/4: 9-0

Ideas: The computer systems irrationally love Loyola, although we didn’t know machines might love. You see the NET/Pom rankings (9/11) and also you assume that’s a top-four seed. However Loyola’s greatest wins are at Drake and residential vs. North Texas, they usually misplaced their two greatest non-conference video games (at Wisconsin/impartial vs. Richmond). That’s not top-four seed caliber. 

Projected No. 9 seeds

Rutgers, Colorado, Louisville, San Diego State (Mountain West)

  • Rutgers (12-9): NET/Pom: 31/28. vs. Q1: 4-8. vs. Q3/4: 5-0
  • Colorado (17-7): NET/Pom: 21/17. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-3
  • Louisville (11-5): NET/Pom: 53/52. vs. Q1: 0-4. vs. Q3/4: 5-1
  • San Diego State (16-4): NET/Pom: 24/19. vs. Q1: 0-3. vs. Q3/4: 12-0

Ideas: On the No. 9 seed line we’ve got two groups — Louisville and San Diego State — which have mixed for zero Quad 1 wins, and that is the place you begin to understand the bubble just isn’t full of sturdy resumes. Look right down to the 10-seed line and also you’ll see three groups with 4 Q1 wins after which a crew that has 5 Q1 wins, however is simply three video games over .500 (vs. D-1 groups). 

Projected No. 10 seeds

North Carolina, Boise State, Xavier, Maryland

  • North Carolina (14-7): NET/Pom: 34/29. vs. Q1: 1-6. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
  • Boise State (17-4): NET/Pom: 32/55. vs. Q1: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
  • Xavier (12-4): NET/Pom: 50/58. vs. Q1: 1-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
  • Maryland (13-10): NET/Pom: 30/30. vs. Q1: 5-9. vs. Q3/4: 7-0

Ideas: Two video games into the ACC schedule, North Carolina was 0-2 in league play and simply 5-4 total. The Tar Heels have climbed a bit, beating fellow bubble groups Louisville, Duke and Syracuse whereas dropping to groups solidly within the at-large subject (Florida State, Virginia and Clemson. Nonetheless can’t afford to falter down the stretch. 

Projected No. 11 seeds

Seton Corridor, Drake, Indiana, VCU, Colorado State, Stanford

  • Seton Corridor (13-9): NET/Pom: 49/38. vs. Q1: 3-6. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
  • Drake (21-2): NET/Pom: 33/47. vs. Q1: 1-1. vs. Q3/4: 16-1
  • *Indiana (12-10): NET/Pom: 52/33. vs. Q1: 3-7. vs. Q3/4: 4-2
  • *VCU (16-5): NET/Pom: 35/46. vs. Q1: 0-3. vs. Q3/4: 7-2
  • *Colorado State (13-4): NET/Pom: 46/66. vs. Q1: 2-3. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
  • *Stanford (14-9): NET/Pom: 57/61. vs. Q1: 4-5. vs. Q3/4: 8-0

Ideas: With the final six at-large groups, we’ve got all types of various resumes. That’s what makes it enjoyable, proper? On one hand, Indiana is simply a pair video games north of .500, however the Hoosiers swept Iowa and have wins over bubble groups Stanford, Maryland and Minnesota. On the opposite excessive, Drake’s solely misplaced two video games, however the resume is skinny up prime. And with the groups within the First 4 Out, it’s extra of the identical. 

No. 12 seeds: St. Bonaventure (Atlantic 10), Wichita State (American), UC Santa Barbara (Huge West), Colgate (Patriot)
No. 13 seeds: Belmont (Ohio Valley), Winthrop (Huge South), Toledo (MAC), Wright State (Horizon)
No. 14 seeds: North Texas (Convention USA), UNCG (Southern), Abilene Christian (Southland), Liberty (Atlantic Solar)
No. 15 seeds: Vermont (America East), Jap Washington (Huge Sky), James Madison (Colonial), Grand Canyon (WAC)
No. 16 seeds: Siena (MAAC), South Dakota (Summit), Texas State (Solar Belt), Prairie View A&M (SWAC), Wagner (Northeast), North Carolina A&T (MEAC)

*First 4 groups

First 4 out

UConn (10-6): NET/Pom: 54/36. vs. Q1: 2-3. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Minnesota (13-10): NET/Pom: 60-49. vs. Q1: 4-10. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Saint Louis (11-4): NET/Pom: 48/51. vs. Q1: 1-1. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
Duke (11-8): NET/Pom: 56/31. vs. Q1: 2-3. vs. Q3/4: 5-2

Different bubble groups (alphabetical)

Memphis (12-6): NET/Pom: 61/48. vs. Q1: 0-2. vs. Q3/4: 9-1
Richmond (11-5): NET/Pom: 58/59. vs. Q1: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 6-2
SMU (11-4): NET/Pom: 59/56. vs. Q1: 0-3. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
Syracuse (13-7): NET/Pom: 47/53. vs. Q1: 0-5. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Utah State (13-7): NET/Pom: 55/54. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 10-2

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