We’re a day away from February, midway through most of the in-conference schedules and a little more than a month away from deciding which 68 teams will make this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament field.
The final field won’t be set until March 16, but college basketball analytics experts like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi are already projecting what the tournament field will look like this year. If nothing else, it give college basketball fans something to feel good – or, for that matter, bad – about as the 2013-14 season progresses into the home stretch, and it stimulates debate and conversation on sports radio talk shows around the country.
Lunardi’s “Bracketology” report appears on a rolling basis every week for a good part of the college basketball season. His latest NCAA Tournament forecast, updated on Jan. 30, projects six teams from the Big 12 making it into the Big Dance. That is one fewer than the number of teams Lunardi envisions from the Pac-12 and equal to the number of tournament-bound teams anticipated from the Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
From the Big 12, Lunardi sees bids being extended to Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa State Texas and Kansas State. If these predictions hold, that would mean Baylor, which at one point in the season owned a 13-1 record and was reanked No. 7 in the country, would not make the 68-team field this year.
As of this date, Lunardi has the Jayhawks earning one of the No. 1 seeds, along with Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State. Lunardi has Kansas as the top seed in the Midwest Region. The Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team slotted in the Midwest, according to this week’s Bracketology projections. Three conference teams are seeded in the South Region (where Wichita State is the top seed) : Oklahoma State is a five seed, Texas is seeded No. 7 and Kansas State an eight seed.
Lunardi has Oklahoma as a four seed in the East Region, where Syracuse is the No. 1 seed. Iowa State is currently slotted as a five seed in the West Region, the same region as No. 1 Arizona.
Five Big 12 teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2013, and six made the field in 2012.
Projected NCAA Tournament Seeds As Of Jan. 30
(As projected in ESPN’s “Bracketology” by Joe Lunardi)
No. 1 – Syracuse (East Region)
No. 1 – Kansas (Midwest Region)
No. 1 – Wichita State (South Region)
No. 1 – Arizona (West Region
No. 4 – Oklahoma (East Region_
No. 5 – Oklahoma State (South Region)
No. 5 – Iowa State (West Region)
No. 7 – Texas (South Region)
No. 8 – Kansas State (South Region