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March Madness: NCAA Tournament picks, bracketology


PLANTING THE SEEDS

American-Statesman staff writer Kevin Lyttle, a veteran Associated Press Top 25 voter, projects the 68-team NCAA Tournament field leading up to Selection Sunday.

Overview: North Carolina and Kansas did enough over the four-month regular season, winning the best two leagues in the country, to outweigh one misstep in their league tournaments. They’ll stay No. 1 seeds. Defending national champion Villanova is set for the top spot in the East. The one question is in the West: Will Gonzaga hold off the Pac-12 Tournament champion, if it’s Oregon, for the top seed? Duke still could rock the boat as well.

Big 12 outlook: Kansas State is on shaky ground as a sixth conference team, but we’re guessing the Wildcats’ road success in the No. 2 RPI league will carry the day. Baylor and West Virginia have fallen on the seed lines into the 3/4 category. Iowa State is making quite a late charge.

Late bid stealers: Middle Tennessee and Nevada are the teams to watch out for, if they didn’t win their tournament title games late Saturday. They could knock out a Big East team such as Providence or Marquette or the Pac-12’s USC.

How to read: Teams listed first on each seed line go to the East Regional, second teams to the Midwest, third teams to the South and fourth teams to the West. The last two teams on lines 11 and 12 and the last four on line 16 are assigned to First Four games Tuesday-Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

Regional sites: East (New York), Midwest (Kansas City, Mo.), South (Memphis, Tenn.), West (San Jose, Calif.)

Note: Records, seedings through Saturday afternoon games.

*indicates projected conference champion/automatic qualifier

1 — *Villanova (30-3), Kansas (28-4), North Carolina (27-7), *Gonzaga (32-1)

2 — *Duke (26-8), Arizona (29-4), *Kentucky (28-5), *Oregon (29-4)

3 — Baylor (25-7), Florida State (25-8), UCLA (29-4), Louisville (24-8)

4 — Purdue (25-7), Notre Dame (25-8), Butler (23-8), *West Virginia (26-7)

5 — Virginia (22-10), *SMU (29-4), Cincinnati (28-4), Florida (24-8)

6 — Creighton (25-8), Iowa State (22-10), Saint Mary’s (28-4), *Wichita State (30-4)

7 — *Wisconsin (25-8), Oklahoma State (20-12), Michigan (23-11), Minnesota (24-9)

8 — Miami (21-11), Arkansas (25-8), *VCU (26-7), Maryland (24-8)

9 — Dayton (24-7), Northwestern (23-11), South Carolina (22-10), Wake Forest (19-13)

10 — Kansas State (20-13), Michigan State (19-14), Virginia Tech (22-10), Xavier (21-13)

11 — *Middle Tennessee (29-4), Vanderbilt (19-15), Seton Hall (21-11), Marquette (19-12), Southern Cal (24-9)

12 — *Nevada (27-6), *UNC Wilmington (29-5), *Princeton (22-6), Rhode Island (23-9), Providence (20-12)

13 — *Akron (26-7), *Vermont (29-5), *East Tennessee (27-7), *Bucknell (26-8)

14 — *CSU Bakersfield (22-8), *Iona (22-12), *Winthrop (26-6), *Florida Gulf Coast (26-7)

15 — *Northern Kentucky (24-10), *Texas Southern (22-11), *UC Irvine (21-13), *North Dakota (21-9)

16 — *Texas State (20-12), *Jacksonville State (20-14), *North Carolina Central (25-8), *South Dakota State (18-16), *New Orleans (19-11), *Mount St. Mary’s (19-15)

———————

Last four in: Marquette (19-12), Southern Cal (24-9), Rhode Island (22-9), Providence (20-12)

First four out: Illinois State (27-6), Syracuse (18-14), California (21-12), Monmouth (27-6)

Multi-bid conferences: ACC (9), Big Ten (7), Big East (7), Big 12 (6), SEC (5), Pac-12 (4), Atlantic 10 (3), American (2), West Coast (2)



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