NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections: Feb. 5th

Football season is now officially behind us, and more of the sports world will be turning their eyes toward college hoops. And to those people I say, where the hell have you been?

Anyway, Selection Sunday is less than six weeks away, and now that we’ve hit February I’m going to start doing weekly projections.

The projections below take into account all games played through Monday, February 4th.

Kansas City – March 22nd/24th Dayton – March 22nd/24th
1) Kansas (19-2) 1) Indiana (20-2)
16) Florida Gulf Coast (16-8) 16) Northeastern (14-8)
8) VCU (18-5) 8) UCLA (16-6)
9) Colorado State (18-4) 9) Ole Miss (17-4)
San Jose – March 21st/23rd Austin – March 22nd/24th
5) Cincinnati (18-4) 5) Kansas State (17-4)
12) Middle Tennessee (20-4) 12) Colorado (14-7)
4) Minnesota (17-5) 4) Butler (18-4)
13) Akron (17-4) 13) Bucknell (19-4)
Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd
6) Oklahoma State (15-5) 6) Pittsburgh (19-5)
11) Belmont (19-4) 11) Baylor (14-7)
3) Michigan State (18-4) 3) Gonzaga (21-2)
14) Davidson (15-7) 14) Princeton (10-7)
Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th Austin – March 22nd/24th
7) Wisconsin (15-7) 7) San Diego State (16-5)
10) North Carolina (15-6) 10) Kentucky (15-6)
2) Syracuse (19-3) 2) Miami, FL (17-3)
15) Stony Brook (17-5) 15) Long Beach State (13-8)
Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd Lexington – March 21st/23rd
1) Michigan (20-2) 1) Florida (18-2)
16) Bryant (15-6)/Charleston Southern (12-7) 16) Southern (16-7)/NC Central (15-7)
8) Missouri (16-5) 8) Wichita State (19-4)
9) Iowa State (16-6) 9) Saint Louis (16-5)
Dayton – March 22nd/24th Kansas City – March 22nd/24th
5) Creighton (20-3) 5) Oregon (18-4)
12) Arizona State (17-5)/Temple (14-7) 12) Boise State (15-6)/Saint Mary’s (19-4)
4) Marquette (15-5) 4) Ohio State (17-4)
13) Louisiana Tech (19-3) 13) South Dakota State (18-6)
Lexington – March 21st/23rd San Jose – March 21st/23rd
6) UNLV (17-5) 6) Georgetown (16-4)
11) Illinois (15-8) 11) Memphis (18-3)
3) Louisville (18-4) 3) New Mexico (19-3)
14) Valparaiso (17-6) 14) Stephen F. Austin (18-2)
Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th
7) North Carolina State (16-6) 7) Notre Dame (18-5)
10) La Salle (15-6) 10) Oklahoma (14-7)
2) Arizona (19-2) 2) Duke (19-2)
15) Montana (16-4) 15) Niagara (14-9)


Last Four In

Boise State

The Broncos picked up a nice win on Saturday by beating UNLV at home. And while they had lost three of their prior four games, it’s worth noting that those games were played without Jeff Elorriaga, the team’s third-leading scorer and a dead-eye three-point shooter. The loss at Utah doesn’t help their case, but with Elorriaga in the lineup, their only other losses have been at Michigan State and in OT against New Mexico.

This week Boise State has a tough road trip to San Diego State followed by a home date with Wyoming.

Arizona State

ASU split last weekend’s road trip to the Washington schools and now sits at number 65 in the RPI.  The victory over UCLA looks great, but there aren’t many other quality wins on their profile.

Outside of a loss to DePaul, the Sun Devils have managed to avoid bad losses, and they need to sweep home games with Cal and Stanford this weekend to stay in the field.

Saint Mary’s

The Gaels are doing what they have to do right now – winning.  They have won eight straight and 11 of 12, and the road win at BYU is a huge delineating factor for them right now.

Saint Mary’s can definitely solidify their case with home games against Gonzaga and BYU left on the schedule, and they are one of few teams that can be helped by their Bracketbusters matchup when Creighton visits McKeon Pavilion.


If you’re looking for a Jekyll and Hyde team, it’s definitely the Owls. After beating Syracuse in December, Temple is just 5-5 with a bad home loss against Saint Bonaventure and a not quite as bad road loss at Saint Joe’s last weekend.

There aren’t many profile-enhancing chances left on the schedule with the exception of home games against La Salle and VCU.  The Owls need to avoid any more bad losses and at least split those to feel good about their chances.

First Four Out

Southern Miss

If you want to rail against RPI flaws, I present to you the Golden Eagles. They rank 38th despite having exactly zero victories against the Top 100. Their best RPI wins are against Tulsa and Denver.

So while it’s great that they have avoided bad losses and keep piling up wins, this week is pretty huge with a road trip to Central Florida followed by a home date with Memphis.

Indiana State

The Sycamores may give Temple a run for their money in the Jekyll and Hyde category. They have neutral court wins over Miami (FL) and Ole Miss to go with a road win at Wichita State, but they have also lost at Morehead State, Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Drake. And while I tend to value teams who have shown the ability to beat quality opponents, at some point you can’t overlook the quantity of sub-100 L’s.

ISU would be well-served to hold serve against Creighton and Southern Illinois this week.


The Terps are in trouble at this point. They are 70th in the RPI, have one Top 50 win, and are sub-.500 in a down ACC. They’re also 1-4 in true road games and have been swept by a Florida State team that probably isn’t getting in the tournament.

Maryland has five road games left starting with a trip to Va Tech this week, but except for the season finale at Virginia, the Terps really can’t afford to lose any of them.


There’s something to be said for simply winning games, which is exactly what Alabama has done recently.  he Tide has won six of seven and are now 6-2 in the SEC. Obviously the league isn’t great, but Alabama does have five Top 100 wins on their profile.

If they are truly a tournament team, they should be able to win their next seven before heading to Florida and Ole Miss in early March.



Here is how the bids broke out by conference:

Big East (7): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

Big Ten (7): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Big 12 (6): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU

Mountain West (5): Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV

Pac-12 (5): Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA

ACC (4): Duke, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State

SEC (4): Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s

America East: Stony Brook

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast

Big Sky: Montana

Big South: Charleston Southern

Big West: Long Beach State

Colonial: Northeastern

Conference USA: Memphis

Horizon: Valparaiso

Ivy: Princeton

MAAC: Niagara

MAC: Akron

MEAC: North Carolina Central

Northeast: Bryant

Ohio Valley: Belmont

Patriot: Bucknell

Southern: Davidson

Southland: Stephen F. Austin

Summit: South Dakota State

Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee

SWAC: Southern

WAC: Louisiana Tech


Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops.

About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms


  1. terry LeMaster says:

    they would not place 3 BigTen teams in the south and zero in the west – they would avoid early matchups of conference team as they place & seed

  2. Wow really you have my Tarheels as a 10th seed I know we are not explosive as we usually are but 10th, don’t think so.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Outside of UNLV, who have they beaten? They are 1-4 vs. the RPI Top 50 and have two sub-100 losses. Long Beach State is the only other team I have in the field that they’ve beaten and that was in November. Their losses haven’t been that close either (all of them by at least eight points), and the 18-point loss to Texas is brutal. Just not much quality on their profile in my estimation.

  3. Dude, Duke is #1 in EVERY RPI out there and has only 2 losses…(both to ranked teams). There are no teams in the country with fewer losses. They have the #2 ranked SOS in the country. Simply put, they are a no brainer #1 seed as it sits today.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Fair points. Right or wrong, at this point I am evaluating Duke as if they won’t get Ryan Kelly back. There is still no definite timetable, and even the rough estimates provided keep getting pushed back. He’s on the floor, they are a slam dunk number 1 seed. But without him, they are 4-2. NC State is all over the map, but that isn’t a terrible loss. Losing to Miami is also not bad, but the 27-point margin is. The four wins haven’t come against anyone I have in the tournament field. To be fair, they played much better at FSU over the weekend, which is encouraging. If they can continue to play that way without Kelly, I can easily see them getting back on the 1 line.

  4. There is no way Illinois gets into the tournament. They are getting blasted by everyone in the Big 10 and have a conference record of 2 – 7. Granted they have wins against Gonzaga and Ohio St, but they are a long ways away from where they were when they were 12-0. Iowa stands a better shot at getting in and I don’t think that will happen either. At least most of their conference losses have been nailbiters.

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