Our Selection Sunday: 22-23 Bracketology I (11/06)

Tomorrow is Christmas morning for college basketball fans – the season tips off. All 363 teams have hopes to play in March Madness and cut down the nets this year.

Just 68 will get that chance and we are here to break down who is in, who is out, and who is on the bubble. Our editor and Wichita State reporter Brent Lane will collaborate with Big Ten specialist Ben Laytin (and maybe some special guests) to predict what the experts will decide on Selection Sunday.

Editors note: Our Bracketology is meant to predict where the Selection Committee will seed teams – we may be higher or lower on a team personally, but think the committee will decide differently.

* Denotes automatic qualifier

MIDWEST (Kansas City)

(1) Houston Cougars* vs (16) Nicholls St.*/Howard*

(8) Florida Gators vs (9) USC Trojans

(4) San Diego State Aztecs* vs (13) Southern Illinois Salukis*

(5) TCU Horned Frogs vs (12) Grand Canyon Antelopes*

(3) Texas Longhorns vs (14) Colgate Raiders*

(6) Oregon Ducks vs (11) Tulane Green Wave

(2) Duke Blue Devils vs (15) IPFW Mastadons*

(7) Alabama Crimson Tide vs (10) Wyoming Cowboys

WEST (Las Vegas)

(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs* vs (16) Southern Tigers*/Wagner Seahawks*

(8) UConn Huskies vs (9) Texas A&M Aggies

(4) Arizona Wildcats vs (13) Toledo Rockets*

(5) Creighton Bluejays vs (12) Furman Paladins*

(3) Tennessee Volunteers vs (14) Penn Quakers*

(6) Michigan State Spartans vs (11) UAB Blazers*

(2) Kansas Jayhawks* vs (15) Vermont Catamounts*

(7) Xavier Musketeers vs (10) Iowa Hawkeyes

EAST (New York)

(1) Kentucky Wildcats* vs (16) Morehead State Eagles*

(8) Oklahoma State Cowboys vs (9) Memphis Tigers

(4) Virginia Cavaliers vs (13) Iona Gaels*

(5) Dayton Flyers* vs (12) Rutgers Scarlet Knights/Seton Hall Pirates

(3) Indiana Hoosiers* vs (14) Oral Roberts Golden Eagles*

(6) Auburn Tigers vs (11) Oklahoma Sooners/St Mary’s Gaels

(2) Baylor Bears* vs (15) Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns*

(7) Purdue Boilermakers vs (10) Miami Hurricane

SOUTH (Louisville)

(1) North Carolina Tarheels* vs (16) Winthrop Eagles*

(8) Saint Louis Billikens vs (9) Virginia Tech Hokies

(4) Villanova Wildcats* vs (13) Towson Tigers*

(5) Illinois Fighting Illini vs (12) Liberty Flames*

(3) Arkansas Razorbacks vs (14) UCSB Guachos*

(6) Michigan Wolverines vs (11) St. John’s Red Storm

(2) UCLA Bruins* vs (15) Montana State Bobcats*

(7) Texas Tech Red Raiders vs (10) Ohio State Buckeyes

The Breakdown:

Blue Blood Battle for 1 seed – UNC or UCLA?

Brent: For me, I need to see UNC do it to for sure give them the edge on the 1. They made a great run last year, but gotta be sure it wasn’t a fluke. I think UCLA takes that spot by the end of the year.

Ben: What we saw from the Tar Heels last year was nothing short of magical. All of their pieces came together at the right place and the right time. But we also saw flashes of this potential throughout the entire year. If UNC can continue their strategy and what they did in the tournament – which I think they can – they will easily secure the number one seed.

A new era at Duke

Brent: Jon Scheyer has big shoes to fill, but I think he’ll do a solid job. Duke could easily slide this season, but Scheyer deserters the benefit of the doubt for now.

Ben: He brought in an amazing recruiting class. I agree with Brent here – he should have no problem leading Duke to a high seed.

Where’s Drake?

Brent: The Bulldogs are undoubtedly very solid – I do think they’re the best in the MVC. They’re plagued with injury problems to start the year and may get off to a bit of a slow start and struggle with chemistry. If they are healthy, they are in.

Ben: We saw Drake reach the tournament in 2021, securing an at large bid and beating Wichita State to move on to the first round. Last year they reached the CBI, but I think that it will take one more year for them to reach the Big Dance again. They will be squarely on the bubble, but they will end up falling just short.

Who could make noise and end up seeded higher?

Brent: The A-10 has 2 great candidates with Saint Louis and Dayton. SLU fell a bit short of expectations last year and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder, and we’ve seen what Dayton can do. Ron Hunter at Tulane is poised to do great things as well.

Ben: I’m tempted to mention a Big Ten team, but I’m going to go with Iona. They would have been everyone’s dark horse candidate for an upset last year, but they were sent home early in their conference tournament. I like their odds under Rick Pitino this year, and I could see them getting a 9 or 10 seed if they do well enough.

Early Final Four picks?

Brent: Houston, UCLA, Tennessee and UNC. Kelvin Sampson gets it done for the home crowd and the Cougars win a title.

Ben: Houston, Gonzaga, Indiana, Xavier. I’m going with my gut here – Gonzaga cuts down the nets for the first time.

Stay tuned for more Bracketology every week until Selection Sunday!

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