Projecting the March Madness Teams & Seeds

February 5, 2019

Here’s what I project the top seeds of the March Madness bracket to be as things stand.

South

No. 1 Seed: Tennessee

The Volunteers remain undefeated in SEC play.

No. 2 Seed: Virginia

Virginia went into a hostile NC State environment and looked sloppy on both offense and defense. Nevertheless, they were able to grind out a close win against the ranked Wolfpack. Then, they handled Miami with a bit more ease, despite missing point guard Ty Jerome.

West

No. 1 Seed: Gonzaga

Gonzaga remains undefeated in WCC play. In recent history, BYU had often played them close. But this year, Gonzaga beat them by 30.

No. 2 Seed: Michigan

I think strength of conference schedule is important, so I wanted to eventually put Michigan back at number 1. But after Michigan lost at Iowa, I am tempted to put 21-1 Nevada at this spot. I just can’t reward Nevada for beating UNLV and Boise State. Both of Michigan’s losses have come in tough road environments against Big Ten teams who can play really well.

Midwest

No. 1 Kentucky

Since January, the Wildcats have won eight in a row, including at Auburn and most recently at Florida. The Wildcats were down 11 with 13 minutes left in the game, but they stayed composed and won by double digits.

No. 2 Michigan State

Losing at Purdue is forgivable, but losing at home to Big Ten bottom-feeder Indiana is not. Plus, the Hoosiers played most of the game without important big man Juwan Morgan. I’m tempted to put Villanova here, but Nova has really bad losses (Furman and Penn). If Marquette beats Villanova, then maybe they belong at this spot.

East

No. 1 Duke

Duke dominated Notre Dame and St. John’s.

No. 2 North Carolina

UNC avenged an earlier loss to Louisville after they had beaten up Georgia Tech.

Upcoming Big Games

On Monday, two ranked ACC teams face off, Louisville at Virginia Tech. The Hokies will be without point guard Justin Robinson. HIs absence was less conspicuous on Saturday as VT’s opponent scored 24 points. V Tech’s offense will have to be much better to beat Louisville. The game is at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

On Saturday, two ranked teams in Villanova and Marquette face off. Villanova is 8-0 in conference play, Marquette 8-1. Second-place Marquette is 3.5 games ahead of the next Big East team, so this game will be paramount to deciding who is the top team in the Big East. The game is on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

Also on Saturday, Duke and Virginia play again, this time in Virginia. The game is on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN. At the same time on CBSSN, Nevada will try to avenge its earlier loss at New Mexico.

Injury News

  • Arizona went 0-2 ATS, getting blown out twice, without big man Chase Jeter. Jeter returned off the bench against Arizona State, but he was ineffective and Arizona lost both SU and ATS in overtime. Keep an eye on his status for Thursday’s game against Washington.
  • Indiana forward Juwan Morgan left Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. He’s crucial to the Hoosiers with his efficient productivity inside and his shot-blocking. Monitor his status for Thursday’s game against Iowa.
  • Virginia point guard Ty Jerome did not play on Saturday because of a back injury. His backup is freshman Kihei Clark, whose ball-handling and decision-making skills are subpar. Shooting guard Kyle Guy, who often had to give Clark instructions on the court, assumed more of the ball-handling duties in order to avoid a higher number of turnovers and to try to create more chemistry. Virginia wouldn’t have a chance against Duke without a healthy Jerome.
  • Virginia Tech point guard Justin Robinson is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

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