Every year around Martin this time, I officially transition from college football fanaticism to college basketball fanaticism, and I begin working on my annual NCAA and NIT tournament bracket projections. This year is no different, as I have now completed my initial NCAA and NIT bracket projections for the 2023 tournament., and for the 14th consecutive season, this column will become the staple of my blog from now until Selection Sunday. Brad-ketology is a little different than other NCAA bracket projections in that it is much more expansive, as it also includes the NIT field and NIT bubble. Furthermore, it is one of the columns used in the nationally-recognized bracket project which seeds NCAA teams by taking an average of the most prominent bracket projections in the country.
The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line. The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the dance. For the conferences who currently have NCAA tourney teams, it is assumed that one of those teams will win their conference tourney. If not, then a stolen bid would result, and the number of at-large bids would drop. You may also notice that some teams are listed in both the NCAA and NIT fields. These are teams predicted to be automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament that would also earn at-large bids to the NIT tournament but not the NCAA tourney. There are several reasons reason these teams are displayed like this.. First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field. Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT. Finally, there will inevitably be 6-8 regular season mid-major conference champions that lose their conference tourney and earn an NIT automatic bid, so by going ahead and adding 6-8 teams that may later get removed, we end up with an NIT cut line that is more representative of what it will actually look like on Selection Sunday.
Moreover, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today. Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that. There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to the best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings. Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.
This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Monday January 23rd. Brad-ketology columns will typically be published twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays) and likely more often than that when it gets closer to tourney time. Please feel free to comment or debate.
NCAA Tourney Field:
1-seeds: Purdue, Alabama, Houston, Tennessee
2-seeds: UCLA, Kansas State, Arizona, Texas
3-seeds: Virginia, Kansas, Iowa State, TCU
4-seeds: Baylor, Xavier, Gonzaga, UConn
5-seeds: Marquette, Rutgers, Auburn, Saint Mary’s
6-seeds: Indiana, Duke, Illinois, Providence
7-seeds: Michigan State, Iowa, Miami-FL, North Carolina
8-seeds: Florida Atlantic, NC State, Arkansas, New Mexico
9-seeds: San Diego State, Creighton, Ohio State, Boise State
10-seeds: Clemson, Missouri, Northwestern, Nevada
11-seeds: West Virginia, Wisconsin, Memphis, Maryland, Arizona State, Pittsburgh
12-seeds: College of Charleston, Kent State, Sam Houston State, VCU
13-seeds: Oral Roberts, Marshall, Liberty, Iona
14-seeds: UCSB, Southern Illinois, Princeton, Colgate
15-seeds: Samford, Eastern Washington, UMass-Lowell, UNC Asheville
16-seeds: SIU-Edwardsville, Milwaukee, Alcorn State, SE Louisiana, Maryland Eastern Shore, St. Francis-PA
NIT Tourney Field:
1-seeds: Southern California, Kentucky, Penn State, Oklahoma
2-seeds: Florida, Oklahoma State, Utah, Utah State
3-seeds: College of Charleston, Wake Forest, Texas A & M, UCF
4-seeds: Virginia Tech, Oregon, Seton Hall, Kent State
5-seeds: Sam Houston State, Mississippi State, Michigan Colorado
6-seeds: Utah Valley, North Texas, VCU, St. John’s
7-seeds: Saint Louis, Oral Roberts, Marshall, Liberty
8-seeds: Southern Miss, Iona, Dayton, Texas Tech
Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Butler, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, UNLV, Georgia, Syracuse