Bracketology: 1-68 seed list for projected NCAA Tournament bracket

>> How they line up: Palm’s complete bracket


1. North Carolina Tar Heels

Projected bid: Winner of ACC

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wisconsin in Sweet 16

UNC is loaded up for a great season with four potential NBA first-round draft choices on the roster. This is arguably their most talented team since their 2009 champion.


2. Kentucky Wildcats

Projected bid: Winner of SEC

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wisconsin in Final Four

We’re not going to talk about a potential undefeated season for the Wildcats this early, but this is still a typically young and talented team.


3. Kansas Jayhawks

Projected bid: Winner of Big 12

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wichita State in Round of 32

The Jayhawks have a potential eligibility issue with Cheick Diallo, but they still have great players in Frank Mason and Perry Ellis.


4. Maryland Terrapins

Projected bid: Winner of Big Ten

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to West Virginia in Round of 32

Melo Trimble returns for another year and Mark Turgeron has enough talent around him to keep building the momentum off last year’s second place Big Ten finish.


5. Duke Blue Devils

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Defeated Wisconsin in national championship game

The Blue Devils have a rare Kentucky-like turnover in their roster, with three freshman studs leaving and three more coming in behind them.


6. Iowa State Cyclones

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to UAB in Round of 64

Preseason All-American Georges Niang should help ease the transition for new coach Steve Prohm.


7. Virginia Cavaliers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Michigan State in Round of 32

Tony Bennett is building a power at Virginia, and Malcom Brogdon will be the piece he’s building this season around.


8. Oklahoma Sooners

Projected bid:At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Michigan State in Sweet 16

Reigning Big 12 Player of the year Buddy Hield returns for his senior season at OU and is capable of leading the Sooners to big heights.


9. Wichita State Shockers

Projected bid: Winner of Missouri Valley

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Notre Dame in Sweet 16

Gregg Marshall is building the Gonzaga of the Midwest. He has one of the best backcourts in the country in Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker.


10. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Projected bid: Winner of WCC

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Duke in Elite Eight

Speaking of the Zags, they should be poised for another big year. Unlike Wichita State, their strength is up front, led by Kyle Wiltjer.


11. Michigan Wolverines

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

I’m higher on this team that some, but the Wolverines were hurt by injuries last year, especially to Caris LaVert. If they’re healthy this year, they have the potential to surprise in a very tough league.


12. Arizona Wildcats

Projected bid: Pac-12 champion

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wisconsin in Elite Eight

The Wildcats figure to take a small step back this year, but not too small. With their size and coaching, they could still win the Pac-12.


13. Villanova Wildcats

Projected bid: Winner of Big East

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to NC State in Round of 32

These Wildcats are clearly the elite team in the Big East for now. If they are able to put up a gaudy enough record, they could be seeded higher.


14. California Golden Bears

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Cuonzo Martin’s second year in Berkely shows a lot of promise with the addition of freshmen studs Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. Many are picking the Bears to win the league.


15. Wisconsin Badgers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Duke in national championship game

Death, Taxes, Bo Ryan. Doesn’t matter who is on the roster, and the Badgers definitely have to replace some stars, Ryan has them competitive at the top of the league.


16. Utah Utes

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Duke in Sweet 16

The Utes lost Delon Wright, but still have a potential first round pick in Jakob Poetl to build around.


17. Baylor Bears

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Georgia State in Round of 64

Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers return to try to make a run at the top of the very competitive Big 12.


18. Purdue Boilermakers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Cincinnati in Round of 64

The Boilers could have one of the nation’s best front lines with A.J. Hammons returning and the addition of freshman Caleb Swanigan.


19. Indiana Hoosiers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wichita State in Round of 32

IU has been looking for help in the middle ever since Cody Zeller left. They may have found it in freshman Thomas Bryant.


20. Cincinnati Bearcats

Projected bid: American winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Kentucky in Round of 32

The Bearcats may not win the American conference regular season title, but with SMU ineligible, they should be favored in the conference tournament. And don’t be surprised if they win the regular season also


21. LSU Tigers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to NC State in Round of 64

Freshman Ben Simmons has people in bayou country the most excited they have been about basketball since Shaq roamed the courts there.


22. Oregon Ducks

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wisconsin in Round of 32

The Ducks lost Joseph Young, who was the league player of the year, but they should be deeper and more experienced.


23. NC State Wolfpack

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Louisville in Sweet 16

Led by Cat Barber, the Wolfpack look like the fourth best team in the ACC, albeit a good step behind the top three.


24. Vanderbilt Commodores

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Vanderbilt will score, but will they play enough defense to get higher than this?


25. Michigan State Spartans

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Duke in Final Four

He lost out on Swanigan, but Tom Izzo has great crop of freshmen coming in to support returning star Denzel Valentine


26. Boise State Broncos

Projected bid: Mountain West winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Dayton in First Four

With most of last year’s team back, there’s a chance the Boise State basketball team could end up higher ranked than the Broncos football squad.


27. Xavier Musketeers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Arizona in Sweet 16

The Musketeers will be part of a pretty good dogfight for second place, well behind Villanova in the Big East


28. Miami Hurricanes

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Jim Larranaga has done a good job in Coral Gables since coming down from George Mason. He’s got Angel Rodriguez to lead what should be another pretty competitive team.


29. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Kentucky in Elite Eight

The ACC is loaded, but the Irish may still do better than this. Zach Auguste and Demetrius Jackson give coach Mike Brey a good inside-outside combo.


30. Butler Bulldogs

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Notre Dame in Round of 32

The transition away from Brad Stevens wasn’t easy for Butler, but Chris Holtmann has got things back in order.


31. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Frank Haith’s bunch just missed last year. Another year of experience should put them on the right side of the fence this time.


32. UConn Huskies

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Sterling Gibbs gives the Huskies a chance to make this prediction look bad.


33. Texas A&M

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Daniel House is the star of the Aggies. I’m just not sure there is enough around him to propel them to a higher seed.


34. San Diego State Aztecs

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Duke in Round of 32

Steve Fisher teams play great defense and this one will be no exception. I’m not so sure about the offense.

Villanova Wildcats (USATSI)
Villanova won the Big East tournament last season. (USATSI)


35. Georgetown Hoyas

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost in Round of 32

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is one of the top players in the Big East and gives the Hoyas a shot at finishing higher than this.


36. Providence Friars

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Dayton in Round of 64

Kris Dunn is a stud that NBA scouts drool over. How much help he gets will determine how high the Friars fly.


37. Davidson Wildcats

Projected bid: Atlantic 10 winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Iowa in Round 64

The Wildcats are coming off a pretty nice debut season in the A10 which saw them win the league regular-season title. They have to replace the player of the year in the league, but still have enough coming back to give them a shot at repeating.


38. BYU Cougars

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Ole Miss in First Four

After deferring to Tyler Haws for the last couple years, it’s now Kyle Collinsworth’s time in the limelight for the Cougars.


39. Rhode Island Rams

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Many like the Rams to win the A-10, and they are certainly capable with nearly everyone back from last year.


40. West Virginia Mountaineers

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Kentucky in Sweet 16

Bob Huggins’ team will be typically feisty and rely on their defense to generate offense.


41. Texas Longhorns

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Butler in Round of 64

Shaka Smart moves over from VCU and brings Havoc with him. We’ll see how quickly the Longhorns pick it up.


42. Valparaiso Crusaders

Projected bid: Horizon winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Maryland in Round of 64

The Crusaders won the Horizon last season a year ahead of schedule.


43. UCLA Bruins

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Gonzaga in Sweet 16

The Bruins didn’t belong in last year’s tournament, but they made the most of it. They’ll be close to the cut line again this year.


44. Belmont Bruins

Projected bid: Ohio Valley winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Virginia in Round of 64

Like Valpo, Belmont figured to be putting their roster together to make a run this season, but won the league last year, too.


45. Iowa Hawkeyes

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Gonzaga in Round of 32

I was starting to wonder if I was underrating the Hawkeyes. Then, they lost to Augustana. They’ll be OK though.


46. Georgia Bulldogs

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Michigan State in Round of 64

Mark Fox has a good enough back court to make this season interesting.


47. VCU Rams

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Ohio State in Round of 64

Will Wade, a former assistant to Smart, takes over the Rams. You probably won’t see too much of a difference in style.


48. Temple Owls

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

The Owls will be relying heaving on Jalen Boyd this year to get them back into the field for the first time since 2013.


49. Florida State Seminoles

Projected bid: At-large

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Leonard Hamilton brought home the Bacon – freshman guard Dwayne Bacon. If he can make an impact, the Noles can find themselves in the bracket come March.


50. UAB Blazers

Projected bid: Conference USA winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to UCLA in Round of 32

The Blazers pulled an upset in last year’s tournament and returns as the favorite in C-USA.


51. UC-Irvine Anteaters

Projected bid: Big West winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Louisville in Round of 64

7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye hopes to lead the Anteaters to a repeat Big West title.


52. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Projected bid: Summit winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

The Jackrabbits shared the regular season title last year, but lost in the Summit conference tournament.


53. Central Michigan Chippewas

Projected bid: MAC winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Most everyone is back for the Chippewas as Keno Davis tries to return to the NCAA tournament.


54. Iona Gaels

Projected bid: MAAC winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

A.J. English, whose father played in the NBA and may do so himself, leads the Gaels.


55. Louisiana-Lafayette

Projected bid: Sun Belt winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Shawn Long, who played for the U.S. team in the Pan American Games, hopes to take the Ragin’ Cajuns to the top of the Sun Belt.


56. Hofstra Pride

Projected bid: Colonial winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

The Pride should have something to be proud of this year as four starters return for the Colonial favorites.


57. Stony Brook Seawolves

Projected bid: America East winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Stony Brook and Albany have battled for the top of the America East three years running. Stony has come up short the last two times. The third time is the charm.


58. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Projected bid: Big South winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Wisconsin in Round of 64

The Chanticleers return most of last year’s league champions. They also have the advantage of hosting the conference tournament


59. New Mexico State Aggies

Projected bid: WAC winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Kansas in Round of 64

With tournament appearances five of the last six years, the Aggies are far and away the class of the WAC. This year should be no different.


60. Montana Grizzlies

Projected bid: Big Sky winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

The Grizzlies return a lot from a good team last year and should emerge from what should be a good battle with Eastern Washington in the Big Sky.


61. New Jersey Tech Highlanders

Projected bid: Atlantic Sun winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

The Highlanders are finally in a conference. The former independents have joined the Atlantic Sun and should be good enough to compete for the conference title.


62. Princeton Tigers

Projected bid: Ivy League winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Harvard will likely take a step back this year, opening the door for a familiar name that we haven’t seen in a while. Columbia and Yale should compete for this spot as well.


63. Bucknell Bison

Projected bid: Patriot League winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

After a couple years away, four returning starters should lead the Bison back to the promised land.


64. Hampton Pirates

Projected bid: MEAC winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Kentucky in Round of 64

The Pirates made the tournament with a junior-laden team last year. Those guys are back for one more run.


65. Northwestern State Demons

Projected bid: Southland winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

The Demons are another team that knows how to score. They should battle with Stephen F. Austin’s defense for Southland supremacy.


66. Chattanooga Mocs

Projected bid: Southern Conference winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

VCU coach Will Wade’s old gig, but he did not leave the cupboard bare for new coach Matt McCall


67. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers

Projected bid: Northeast winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: N/A

Everyone returns for the Mount as it tries to take down last year’s champ Robert Morris.


68. Texas Southern Tigers

Projected bid: SWAC winner

Last year’s NCAA tournament result: Lost to Arizona in Round of 64

Mike Davis’ team won its second straight SWAC title last year, and did well enough to earn a 15 seed. That is no small feat. They may not reach such high cotton this year, but the Tigers are favored to make it three straight titles.

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