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

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

Properly, hopefully. The NCAA is doing what it may to scale back the chance of COVID-19 taking part in havoc with the match — setting the complete occasion within the state of Indiana — however there’s solely a lot that may be performed. 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 leap 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 based mostly on the place groups needs to be seeded based mostly on how their resumes examine, if the season ended yesterday. As a result of we’re nonetheless a couple of weeks from Choice Sunday, I’m not as involved with areas and bracketing ideas; in case your staff has an 8-seed resume relative to the opposite groups within the area, they’re on the 8-seed line. Easy as that.

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

For every staff, I’ve included a few rankings and data that will probably be very related when the choice committee meets to construct the actual bracket. Automated bids (famous in parenthesis) go to the staff with the most effective convention file. In case of a tie, the bid is given to the staff with the most effective NET ranking. 

March Insanity bracket predictions for 2021 NCAA Match

Projected No. 1 seeds

Gonzaga (West Coast), Baylor (Massive 12), Michigan (Massive 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 residence to Michigan in what was an exhilarating 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 (Massive 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 will nearly definitely 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 residence vs. Creighton) is a Quad 1 chance. Three Q1 wins received’t be sufficient, except 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 highway victories at West Virginia and Texas, two groups within the high 5 seed strains of this week’s projection. The committee loves outcomes like that. West Virginia’s resume contains a powerful sweep of Texas Tech and highway 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 residence. That’s 14 wins prior to now 16 video games for the Trojans. The Pac 12 doesn’t supply a lot in the way in which of elite-level wins, however the Trojans are amassing as many mid-level victories as attainable. And, sure, that is the 12 months that Kansas’ grip on the Massive 12 title ends, however the Jayhawks are nonetheless a great staff taking part in 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 strains, 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 12 months up to now 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 residence vs. Villanova) however they’ve 4 — FOUR — losses to groups that received’t sniff an at-large bid (residence vs. Marquette, at Butler, residence vs. Windfall and residential vs. Georgetown). They’re solidly within the area, 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, after all, was technically banned from the 2021 Match, however that call is being appealed and the Cowboys stay eligible whereas on that enchantment. No one is aware of when the NCAA will rule on that enchantment, however at this level it might 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 displaying they’re positively 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 suppose that’s a top-four seed. However Loyola’s greatest wins are at Drake and residential vs. North Texas, and so they misplaced their two largest 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 have now two groups — Louisville and San Diego State — which have mixed for zero Quad 1 wins, and that is the place you begin to notice the bubble isn’t full of robust resumes. Look right down to the 10-seed line and also you’ll see three groups with 4 Q1 wins after which a staff that has 5 Q1 wins, however is just 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 area (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 have now all types of assorted resumes. That’s what makes it enjoyable, proper? On one hand, Indiana is just 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 high. 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 (Massive West), Colgate (Patriot)
No. 13 seeds: Belmont (Ohio Valley), Winthrop (Massive 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 (Massive 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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