Sports News

Final March Madness bracket predictions: Projecting the Field of 68 for 2021 NCAA Tournament

Selection Sunday for the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is here. 

The 68-team field has taken shape through conference tournament week, and Sunday’s schedule will complete it with five tournament finals. The bracket changed from the No. 1 seeds to the bubble over the past five days, and SN tracked all the action with daily updates.

MORE: Tracking automatic bids   

Here is a look at Sporting News’ updated Field of 68 heading into Selection Sunday.  

March Madness bracket predictions for 2021 NCAA Tournament 

Projected No. 1 seeds

**Gonzaga 26-0 (West Coast) Baylor 22-2  Illinois 22-6 (Big Ten) Michigan 20-4 

Lowdown: Will Michigan forward Isaiah Livers’ foot injury influence the selection committee? The Wolverines lost 68-67 to Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals and at minimum will flip spots with Illinois heading into the tournament. Michigan lost three of its last five games. That said, it should hold onto the final No. 1 seed.  

Projected No. 2 seeds 

Ohio State 21-8Alabama 23-6 (SEC) Houston 23-3 (American) Iowa 21-8

Lowdown: Houston, Ohio State and Alabama all play Sunday, but it will be hard for any of them to move onto that No. 1 line. Ohio State ensured a No. 2 seed with a victory against rival Michigan, and the Buckeyes could be worked into a loose conversation as a No. 1 seed given they would have a 3-2 record against the Wolverines and Illini. Alabama also should stick as a No. 2 after holding off Tennessee in a 73-68 thriller in the SEC semifinals. It did not hurt that Arkansas lost. 

Projected No. 3 seeds 

**Texas 19-7 (Big 12)Arkansas 22-6 Oklahoma State 20-8Kansas 20-8 

Lowdown: It’s the Big 12 line. Texas is the conference tournament champion and thus has a No. 3 seed. Oklahoma State, the Longhorns’ opponent in the final, will share that line. Kansas and Virginia both left their conference tournaments because of COVID-19 tests, and the best case for both is that they can play in the first round Saturday. It will be interesting to see how that uncertainty is factored into their seeds, but this line seems like the easy solution for KU. 

Projected No. 4 seeds 

Florida State 16-6 West Virginia 18-9 Virginia 18-6Purdue 18-9 

Lowdown: Virginia and Florida State fall to this line as a result of an ACC Tournament that was impacted by COVID-19. The Seminoles missed their chance to climb to the No. 3 line by losing the ACC championship game to Georgia Tech. 

Projected No. 5 seeds 

Villanova 16-6 Creighton 20-8LSU 18-8Tennesee 18-8

Lowdown: LSU has won seven of its last nine games heading into a matchup with Alabama. Tennessee gets this line, too, after Colorado’s loss in the Pac-12 championship game. Creighton and Villanova missed opportunties to move up a line after losing to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament. 

Projected No. 6 seeds 

Wisconsin 17-12 Colorado 22-8Texas Tech 17-10 USC 22-7

Lowdown: Texas Tech and Wisconsin have double-digit losses, but both will also benefit from the strength of their conferences to stay on this line. The Red Raiders and Badgers should not slide past a No. 7. 

Projected No. 7 seeds 

BYU 20-6 **San Diego State 23-4 (Mountain West) Oregon 20-6North Carolina 18-10 

Lowdown: This is the West Coast line with BYU, Oregon and San Diego State. The Aztecs and Cougars rank in the top 25 in KenPom. North Carolina could be a No. 8 seed, but a strong showing in the ACC Tournament, not to mention brand power, will put the Tar Heels on this line. 

Projected No. 8 seeds 

**Loyola Chicago 24-4 (MVC) **Georgia Tech 17-8 (ACC) Connecticut 15-6 Oklahoma 15-10

Lowdown: Georgia Tech makes the jump up to this line after winning the ACC Tournament. The Ramblers are an interesting team; they could challenge a top seed given the right matchup. St. Bonaventure could fall a touch if it loses to VCU in the Atlantic 10 championship game. 

MORE: Michigan’s Juwan Howard is Sporting News’ Coach of the Year 

Rest of field projections 

No. 9 seeds: Clemson 16-7, St. Bonaventure 15-4 (A-10), Virginia Tech 15-6, Florida 14-9
No. 10 seeds: Missouri 17-9, Maryland 16-13, Rutgers 15-10, VCU 19-6
No. 11 seeds: **Oregon State 17-12 (Pac-12), Louisville 13-7, Michigan State 15-12, Utah State* 20-8, Drake* 25-4
No. 12 seeds: **North Texas 17-9 (C-USA), **UC Santa Barbara 22-4 (Big West), **Georgetown (Big East) 12-12, UCLA* 17-9, Syracuse* 16-9
No. 13 seeds: **Liberty 22-5 (A-Sun), **Winthrop 23-1 (Big South), **Ohio 16-7 (MAC), Colgate 12-7 (Patriot)
No. 14 seeds: **UNC-Greensboro 20-8 (Southern), **Morehead State 23-7 (Ohio Valley), **Grand Canyon 17-6 (WAC), **Eastern Washington 15-7 (Big Sky)
No. 15 seeds: **Cleveland State 19-7 (Horizon), **Iona 12-5 (MAAC), **Oral Roberts 16-10 (Summit), **Drexel 12-7 (Colonial)
No. 16 seeds: **Abilene Christian 23-4 (Southland), **Hartford 15-8 (America East), **Norfolk State* 15-7 (MEAC), **Texas Southern* 16-8 (SWAC), **Appalachian State* 17-11 (Sun Belt), **Mount St. Mary’s* 12-10 (Northeast)

Teams in italics play Sunday
* First Four teams 
** Teams that have clinched automatic bids 

Last four in 

Drake 25-4 Utah State 20-8 Syracuse 16-9 UCLA 17-9

Lowdown: This sets up a blue-blood First Four matchup between UCLA and Syracuse. Drake and Utah State also are in. All of these teams are rooting for Houston over Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference championship. 

First four out 

Wichita State 16-5St. Louis 14-6Colorado State 18-6 Xavier 13-8 

Lowdown: Oregon State and Georgetown knocked Wichita State and St. Louis out with surprise conference tournament runs. MWC teams Boise State and Colorado State won’t quite crack the 68-team field. Xavier had its bubble burst with a loss to Seton Hall. Duke also remains on the outside looking in. 

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker