March Madness 2019 bracket projections: Tracking latest Field of 68 updates | NCAA Basketball
Selection Sunday for the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is less than one week away.
Four teams have already punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament, but the conference tournaments this week will determine those at-large bids. The race for the No. 1 seeds should be thrilling this week, too. The ACC and SEC have three schools each who could be considered a top seed.
Sporting News will track the tournament field all week to get you ready for the unveiling of the bracket. Here is our projected tournament field, which will be updated every day this week (* denotes automatic bid that has clinched a tournament berth).
March Madness 2019 bracket projections
Projected No. 1 seeds
Gonzaga 30-2 (West Coast)
Virginia 28-2 (ACC)
North Carolina 26-5
Kentucky 26-5 (SEC)
Lowdown: Virginia and Gonzaga are the top two teams in the KenPom rankings and virtual locks for No. 1 seeds heading into this week. Do they need to win the tournament? No, but it wouldn’t hurt the Cavaliers to get there, considering the competition from North Carolina and Duke in the ACC.
Projected No. 2 seeds
Michigan State 25-6 (Big Ten)
Lowdown: Here’s where the intrigue is. Michigan State looks almost locked into a No. 2 seed, but Duke, Tennessee and LSU, even without suspended coach Will Wade, have legitimate shots at a No. 1 seed. Could you deny the Tigers if they swept the SEC regular season and conference tournament? LSU has a lower KenPom ranking at No. 16 than Tennessee (No. 7) and Kentucky (No. 9) but we still think the SEC Tournament champion will be a No. 1 if it’s one of those three teams.
Projected No. 3 seeds
Texas Tech 26-5 (Big 12)
Houston 29-2 (American)
Lowdown: Michigan and Purdue have a line to gain this week. The Boilermakers split the Big Ten championship with Michigan State, but the Wolverines won the conference tournament each of the last two seasons. The Red Raiders are a solid No. 3 who could bump up to a No. 2 if they win the Big 12 championship — and one of the top three SEC teams bows out early. Texas Tech’s No. 8 KenPom rating compares favorably.
Projected No. 4 seeds
Kansas State 24-7
Nevada 28-3 (MWC)
Florida State 25-6
Lowdown: Kansas and Kansas State sit on the same line, which will be their likely spot. Nevada needs to win the Mountain West Conference championship to solidify this seed, otherwise they could fall given the competition on the next line.
Projected No. 5 seeds
Virginia Tech 23-7
Villanova 22-9 (Big East)
Lowdown: Auburn is shooting up the board and will be a team that can move on to the No. 4 line with a strong showing at the SEC Tournament. The same goes for Wisconsin and Virginia Tech, both of which have the strength-of-schedule to pull that off.
Projected No. 6 seeds
Mississippi State 22-9
Lowdown: Maryland is a team to watch. They have a case to be on the No. 5 line — maybe even No. 4 line — given their favorable KenPom rating at No. 18. It depends on how the committee views defending Big East champion Villanova. We think it will be a line higher than projected. Marquette’s slide continues after losing their last four regular-season games.
Projected No. 7 seeds
Buffalo 28-3 (MAC)
Wofford 29-4 (Southern*)
Iowa State 20-11
Lowdown: Wofford clinched its spot with a victory in the Southern Conference tournament against UNC-Greensboro. The Terriers were perfect in conference play, too, and they could be a No. 6 seed. Mid-major bubble teams want Buffalo and Wofford to be seeded as high as possible. Both teams could push up to the No. 6 line. It makes their case that much stronger.
Projected No. 8 seeds
Washington 24-7 (Pac-12)
VCU 25-6 (Atlantic 10)
Ole Miss 20-11
Lowdown: Washington’s No. 47 KenPom rating compares with bubble teams such as Ohio State and TCU, which makes their performance at the Pac-12 Tournament worth watching. They could fall to the bubble or push Arizona State further down if they are bounced. The Huskies split their last four regular-season games.
Rest of NCAA Tournament field
No. 9: Baylor 19-12, N.C. State 21-10, St. John’s 20-11, UCF 23-7
No. 10: Clemson 19-12, Murray State 27-4 (Ohio Valley*), Arizona State 21-9, Louisville 19-12
No. 11: Temple 23-8, Belmont 26-5, Minnesota 19-12, Utah State 25-6
No. 12: New Mexico St. 27-4 (WAC), Georgetown 19-12, Oklahoma 19-12, Florida 17-14, Ohio State 18-13, Seton Hall 18-12
No. 13: Vermont 25-6 (America East), Old Dominion 23-8 (C-USA), UC-Irvine 27-5 (Big West), Liberty 28-6 (Atlantic Sun*)
No. 14: Northern Kentucky 24-8 (Horizon), Georgia State 22-9 (Sun Belt), Yale 20-7 (Ivy), Hofstra 27-6 (Colonial), Montana 23-8 (Big Sky)
No. 15: Omaha 21-10 (Summit), Bradley 20-14 (Missouri Valley*), Colgate 23-10 (Patriot), Georgia State 22-9 (Sun Belt)
No. 16: Prairie View A&M 19-12 (SWAC), Fairleigh Dickinson 19-13 (Northeast), Norfolk State 19-12 (MEAC), Iona 16-15 (MAAC*), Sam Houston State 21-10 (Southland), Gardner-Webb 23-11 (Big South*)
BUBBLE TRACKER: Ohio State, IU have work to do
UNC-Greensboro 28-6; Lipscomb 25-7; Saint Mary’s 20-11; Alabama 17-14; South Carolina 16-15; Davidson 23-8; Dayton 21-10; TCU 19-12; Indiana 17-14; Creighton 18-13; Xavier 17-14