College Basketball Bracketology: Latest NCAA Tournament Predictions & Future Value (Feb. 7)

College Basketball Bracketology: Latest NCAA Tournament Predictions & Future Value (Feb. 7) article feature image

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)

I am back again with the third edition of Bracketology at the Action Network, and the first of the month of February. The picture is starting to get a little clearer, but there's still a ton to unfold over the next 30 days.

As always, here are the core ground rules that will hold true throughout the rest of the year:

  • First and foremost, the bracket will always be based off of the games that have been played. I am not projecting out how I think the year will finish, but rather seeding teams off of their current body of work. Each team will be seeded off of its total resume to this point in the year, the same process the Selection Committee ultimately uses when they give us the finalized bracket in mid-March. As a result, there will be a lot of change in the bracket as we get more data and conference play unfolds.
  • I will be using the current conference leader for the 32 auto-bids until we get into conference tournaments. Example: Illinois currently sits atop the Big Ten standings, so as of now, it holds the auto-bid even though Purdue is seeded higher in the bracket.
  • Lastly, if you think I have under-seeded your favorite team, no that does not mean I hate them. My job is to compare resumes and rank them from most complete down the line.

Here are some quick facts for this week's projection:

  • Last Four Byes:Oregon, San Francisco, North Carolina, Seton Hall
  • Last Four In:San Diego State, Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi State
  • First Four Out:BYU, UAB, Creighton, Utah State

Bids by Conference:

  1. SEC: 8
  2. Big Ten: 7
  3. Big 12: 7
  4. Big East: 6
  5. ACC: 5
  6. MWC: 4
  7. Pac-12: 4
  8. WCC: 3

What Stands Out in South?

  • Let’s start out with Ed Cooley’s Providence Friars, who continue to make their way up the board. Providence is now 20-2 overall, and flirting with a 2-seed.
  • Murray State is up to a single-digit seed, as the Racers remain undefeated in the OVC.
  • From a gambling perspective, this feels like the top two seeds in the region would be on a collision course to meet in the Elite 8 in San Antonio.
  • I think Auburn is a bit more of a complete team than Baylor, so I would be playing the Tigers to win the South at +150 or better.

What Stands Out in West?

  • Ohio enters the bracket after surpassing Toledo for first place in the MAC.
  • Florida and Oklahoma are both hanging by a thread as two of the last teams still projected in the field.
  • Saint Mary’s is all the way up the 6 line. The Gaels' four losses have all come to projected tournament teams, and they boast wins over Notre Dame, Oregon, Utah State and San Francisco.
  • How fun would a Villanova/Gonzaga Sweet 16 matchup be? I’d love to play Villanova to Make the Sweet 16 with this draw, as I think the Wildcats match up very well with Wisconsin.
  • I’d also look to play Kansas to win the West here at +200 or better, as I like this projected path for the Jayhawks in the bottom half of the bracket.
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What Stands Out in Midwest?

  • Wyoming enters the field and is all the way up the 9-seed line. The Cowboys are 8-1 in the MWC and 19-3 overall.
  • Houston just keeps winning. The Cougars don’t have a ton of chances in the AAC to add big-time victories, but if Kelvin Sampson’s team keeps getting it done, it can certainly get up to a 3-seed.
  • Texas Tech and Kentucky in the Sweet 16 would have the potential to be one of the best games of the entire tournament. It would be fascinating to watch Mark Adams’ defense square off with the UK backcourt.
  • USC has the size to hang with Purdue, but the Trojans would have a hard time getting by the combination of Iona and Houston to get there.
  • I would like Kentucky at +200 or better to win the Midwest.

What Stands Out in East?

  • New Mexico State joins the field after taking over the top spot in the WAC.
  • How about the job Mike Brey is doing in South Bend this year? Notre Dame enters the field as a 9-seed. The Irish have won 12 of their last 14.
  • Illinois takes over the top spot in the Big Ten and is up the 3 line, as Kofi Cockburn continues to look unstoppable.
  • Duke and Arizona would be an epic Elite 8 matchup, but in this projected region, the Wildcats' path is far more favorable. Duke would be tested with potential matchups against Alabama and Illinois before that point.
  • I’d look to take the chalk here and play Arizona to win the East at +140 or better.

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