Selection Sunday for the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is just days away.
The 68-team field is taking shape through conference tournament week, and Wednesday’s schedule features 33 conference tournament games. A lot can change from the No. 1 seeds to the bubble over the next four days, and SN will track the action with daily updates from here through Selection Sunday.
Here is a look at Sporting News’ updated Field of 68 as of Friday, March 12:
March Madness bracket predictions for 2021 NCAA Tournament
Projected No. 1 seeds
- **Gonzaga 26-0 (West Coast)
- Baylor 22-2
- Michigan 20-3 (Big Ten)
- Illinois 21-6
Lowdown: Gonzaga won the West Coast Conference tournament for the eighth time in nine seasons and should be a virtual lock for the top seed in the tournament. Baylor also appears to be a lock for a No. 1 seed despite a loss to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 semifinals. Michigan beat Maryland 79-66, which firmed up its case as a No. 1 seed no matter what happens in the Big Ten semifinals against Ohio State.
Projected No. 2 seeds
- Alabama 22-6 (SEC)
- Iowa 20-7
- Houston 22-3 (American)
- Ohio State 20-8
Lowdown: Iowa and Ohio State are interesting 2-seeds on different paths. The Hawkeyes could slide up to a No. 1 with a strong showing in Indianapolis. KenPom has Iowa at No. 4, so it’s possible. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, are a borderline 3-seed after losing their last four games of the regular season. Ohio State can solidify a No. 2 seed with a victory against Purdue in the Big Ten quarterfinals.
Projected No. 3 seeds
- Virginia 18-6 (ACC)
- Arkansas 22-5
- Kansas 20-8
- Oklahoma State 20-7 (Big 12)
Lowdown: Kansas and Virginia pulled out of their respective conference tournaments because players tested positive for COVID-19. This is going to be a real dilemma for the selection committee because both teams are firm on the No. 3 line. With the seven-day restrictions, both teams would theoretically have to play first-round games Saturday. Oklahoma State can hold this spot with a victory against Texas in the Big 12 championship.
Projected No. 4 seeds
- Texas 18-7
- West Virginia 18-9
- Villanova 16-6
- Purdue 18-9
Lowdown: Villanova missed a chance to move up a line after a 72-71 loss to Georgetown in the Big East tournament. Purdue missed out on a chance to move up after an 87-78 overtime loss to Ohio State.
Projected No. 5 seeds
- Florida State 15-5
- Creighton 19-7 (Big East)
- USC 22-6
- Oregon 20-5 (Pac-12)
Lowdown: Florida State has a strong case to climb into that No. 4 line and could bump either Purdue or Villanova off that line over the next two days. The Seminoles did lose two of their last three games in the regular season. Oregon is the top seed in the Pac-12 tournament, and the Ducks won their last five games in the regular season. That said, Oregon had a 1-2 record against USC and Colorado this season. The Buffaloes could easily be placed on this line, but we’ll make them beat USC in the Pac-12 tournament Friday to get there.
Projected No. 6 seeds
- Colorado 21-7
- Tennessee 18-7
- Texas Tech 17-10
- Florida 14-9
Lowdown: The Big 12 love continues. The conference could have all seven Tournament teams on the first six lines, and Texas Tech could pass as a No. 5 seed at this point. Tennessee, which finished 3-3 in its last six games, stays on this line with Florida. They can settle that at the SEC tournament today.
Projected No. 7 seeds
- Wisconsin 17-11
- LSU 16-8
- San Diego State 21-4 (Mountain West)
- North Carolina 18-9
Lowdown: The Badgers have double-digit losses, but they also head into the Big Ten tournament with a KenPom rating of No. 11. They are a prime candidate to be overseeded a touch.The Tar Heels are heating up at the right time, and the victory against Virginia Tech should pull them off the No. 8 line. North Carolina plays Florida State on Friday. LSU, which won six of its last eight games, stays on this line.
Projected No. 8 seeds
- Clemson 16-7
- Connecticut 15-6
- **Loyola-Chicago 24-4 (Missouri Valley)
- Oklahoma 15-10
Lowdown: Clemson likely could slide down to this line after a 67-64 loss to Miami on Thursday. The team No. 1 seeds might be wary of is Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers have lost just one game since Jan. 11.
Rest of field projections
No. 9 seeds: BYU 20-6, St. Bonaventure (A-10) 15-4, Virginia Tech 15-6, Missouri 17-9
No. 10 seeds: Georgia Tech 16-8, Maryland 16-13, Rutgers 15-10, VCU 19-6
No. 11 seeds: UCLA 17-9, Louisville 13-7, Michigan State 15-12, Utah State* 19-7, Syracuse 16-9*
No. 12 seeds: Western Kentucky 20-6 (C-USA), **Winthrop 23-1 (Big South), Wichita State 16-4, Colorado State* 17-5, Drake* 25-4
No. 13 seeds: **Liberty 22-5 (A-Sun), Ohio 15-7 (MAC), UC Santa Barbara 20-4 (Big West), Colgate 12-7 (Patriot)
No. 14 seeds: **UNC-Greensboro 20-8 (Southern), **Morehead State 23-7 (Ohio Valley), Grand Canyon 15-6 (WAC), Southern Utah 20-3 (Big Sky)
No. 15 seeds: **Cleveland State 19-7 (Horizon), Nicholls State 18-6 (Southland), **Oral Roberts 16-10 (Summit), **Drexel 12-7 (Colonial)
No. 16 seeds: Prairie View A&M 14-4 (SWAC), Hartford 13-8 (America East), Norfolk State* 15-7 (MEAC), Saint Peter’s* 14-10 (MAAC), **Appalachian State* 17-11 (Sun Belt), **Mount St. Mary’s* 12-10 (Northeast)
*First Four teams
** Teams that have clinched automatic bids
Last four in
- Drake 25-4
- Utah State 19-7
- Colorado State 18-5
- Syracuse 16-9
Lowdown: Syracuse is back on the bubble after a 72-69 loss to Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals. The Orange, however, might be helped by Duke missing the rest of the ACC tournament. Drake didn’t win its conference tournament, but the Bulldogs should be able crack the Field of 68. Colorado State and Utah State play Friday in the MWC tournament. The winner should clinch a berth. The loser will be watching Ole Miss closely.
First four out
- Ole Miss 16-10
- Xavier 13-8
- St. Louis 14-6
- Boise State 18-8
Lowdown: Xavier is in trouble after a 70-69 loss to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament on Thursday. That overtime loss, could knock the Musketeers off the bubble. Xavier blew a 14-point lead in the loss. Boise State lost 89-82 to Nevada, which might have knocked the Broncos out of tournament consideration. Seton Hall’s bubble burst after a 66-58 loss to Georgetown in the Big East semifinals.