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Final Bracket Projection: ACC gets three No. 1s, St. John’s replaces NC State as last team in

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One last guess.

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been yet another fun roller coaster of a college basketball season, leading up to the NCAA Tournament. But now, it’s time for the final exam, if you will.

With Yale, Saint Louis, Auburn, Georgia State, Michigan State and Cincinnati locking up tournament bids today, the 32 automatic qualifiers are now set. Time to find out which 36 teams will join them.

With that in mind, here is my final bracket.

FINAL PROJECTION

East Region (Washington, D.C.) South Region (Louisville)
East Region (Washington, D.C.) South Region (Louisville)
Columbia (Mar. 22/24) Columbia (Mar. 22/24)
1. Duke (ACC) 1. Virginia
16. F. Dickinson (NEC) / NC Central (MEAC) 16. Bradley (Missouri Valley)
8. Seton Hall 8. Ole Miss
9. VCU 9. UCF
San Jose (Mar. 22/24) San Jose (Mar. 22/24)
5. Kansas State 5. Iowa State (Big 12)
12. Liberty (Atlantic Sun) 12. Murray State (Ohio Valley)
4. Wisconsin 4. Buffalo (MAC)
13. Vermont (America East) 13. Northeastern (Colonial)
Des Moines (Mar. 21/23) Tulsa (Mar. 22/24)
6. Mississippi State 6. Virginia Tech
11. Syracuse 11. Saint Mary's (West Coast)
3. Kansas 3. LSU
14. Old Dominion (Conference USA) 14. Yale (Ivy)
Jacksonville (Mar. 21/23) Columbus (Mar. 22/24)
7. Maryland 7. Wofford (Southern)
10. Temple 10. Florida
2. Tennessee 2. Michigan
15. Colgate (Patriot) 15. Gardner-Webb (Big South)
West Region (Anaheim) Midwest Region (Kansas City)
Columbus (Mar. 22/24) Jacksonville (Mar. 21/23)
1. Michigan State (Big Ten) 1. North Carolina
16. Iona (MAAC) 16. Prairie View (SWAC) / N. Dakota St. (Summit)
8. Utah State (Mountain West) 8. Iowa
9. Minnesota 9. Washington
Salt Lake City (Mar. 21/23) Hartford (Mar. 21/23)
5. Auburn (SEC) 5. Villanova (Big East)
12. Ohio State / St. John's 12. New Mexico State (WAC)
4. Texas Tech 4. Purdue
13. UC Irvine (Big West) 13. Saint Louis (Atlantic 10)
Hartford (Mar. 21/23) Tulsa (Mar. 22/24)
6. Nevada 6. Marquette
11. Oregon (Pac-12) 11. Arizona State / TCU
3. Florida State 3. Houston
14. Northern Kentucky (Horizon) 14. Georgia State (Sun Belt)
Salt Lake City (Mar. 21/23) Columbus (Mar. 22/24)
7. Cincinnati (AAC) 7. Louisville
10. Baylor 10. Oklahoma
2. Gonzaga 2. Kentucky
15. Montana (Big Sky) 15. Abilene Christian (Southland)

Last Four Byes: Florida, Baylor, Temple, Syracuse

Last Four In: Arizona State, TCU, Ohio State, St. John’s

First Four Out: North Carolina State, Alabama, Belmont, Indiana

Next Eight Out: Creighton, Nebraska, Texas, Furman, Clemson, UNC Greensboro, Xavier, LIpscomb

Conference Breakdown

Big Ten - 8
ACC - 7
Big 12 - 7
SEC - 7
American - 4
Big East - 4
Pac-12 - 3
Atlantic 10 - 2
Mountain West - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 22

And here also is my final seed list.

Untitled

1 Duke
1 Duke
2 Virginia
3 North Carolina
4 Michigan State
5 Gonzaga
6 Tennessee
7 Kentucky
8 Michigan
9 Houston
10 LSU
11 Kansas
12 Florida State
13 Texas Tech
14 Purdue
15 Wisconsin
16 Buffalo
17 Villanova
18 Iowa State
19 Kansas State
20 Auburn
21 Marquette
22 Mississippi State
23 Virginia Tech
24 Nevada
25 Wofford
26 Maryland
27 Cincinnati
28 Louisville
29 Seton Hall
30 Iowa
31 Utah State
32 Ole Miss
33 UCF
34 VCU
35 Washington
36 Minnesota
37 Oklahoma
38 Florida
39 Baylor
40 Temple
41 Oregon
42 Syracuse
43 Arizona State
44 Saint Mary's
45 TCU
46 Ohio State
47 St. John's
48 Murray State
49 New Mexico State
50 Liberty
51 UC Irvine
52 Vermont
53 Northeastern
54 Saint Louis
55 Old Dominion
56 Yale
57 Georgia State
58 Northern Kentucky
59 Montana
60 Colgate
61 Gardner-Webb
62 Abiene Christian
63 Bradley
64 Iona
65 North Dakota State
66 Prairie View A&M
67 Fairleigh Dickinson
68 North Carolina Central

With Tennessee’s blowout loss to Auburn in the SEC Championship, the door opened for three ACC teams to land No. 1 seeds. In fact, Duke, Virginia and North Carolina make up the top three spots overall, with Gonzaga as the fourth No. 1 seed.

On the other side of the bracket, after going back and forth between St. John’s and North Carolina State, in the end, I decided St. John’s wins total more and look better than those of North Carolina State’s. The NCAA added breakdowns of wins within quadrants one and two in half and North Carolina State ended up 0-9 against what we’ll call Quadrant 1A, while St. John’s had one such win, at Marquette (part of St John’s sweep of Marquette). The Johnnies also hold a neutral-court win over VCU, giving them two wins away from home better than the best North Carolina State produced, which came just last week in the ACC tournament against Clemson, a team destined for the NIT.

Sure, North Carolina State’s win over Auburn now looks better with the Tigers winning the SEC tournament title, but it was at home. There are no home games in the NCAA Tournament. St. John’s also didn’t score a measly 24 points in a game like North Carolina State did.

In the end, the NET may be the only case North Carolina State can hang their hat on and it may not be enough. Their weak overall schedule may end up being their downfall to the NIT.

It’s been a joy being able to be here with Rocky Top Talk this season to share some bracket nuggets with you all. Thank you coming on this ride with me and enjoy the selection show.