The 2022 NCAA Tournament is less than six weeks away, making this the perfect time to start keeping track of the latest bracketology reports.
The calendar has officially flipped to February, which is usually when the casual sports fan starts paying attention to college basketball. If you are one of those people, welcome aboard to one of the craziest seasons in recent memory and one that is lacking a true front-runner for the national championship.
Over the next several weeks, this space will take a look at two distinct areas: the Top 16 seeds in the projected field (check out our weekly power rankings for a hint about some of those teams) and the teams squarely on the bubble. Let’s dive right in with a look at the projected No. 1 seeds if the 2022 NCAA Tournament was going to begin today.
Note: All teams currently at the top of their conference standings received automatic qualifier status into the projected field.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 1 Seeds
Auburn, Gonzaga, UCLA, Purdue
The clear locks on this line are Auburn and Gonzaga, who have been neck-and-neck atop the polls for the past several weeks. UCLA’s recent surge, which included a big win over Arizona at home last week, also is back on the top line after a lengthy absence.
The fourth spot is wide open but Purdue maintains its position after Jaden Ivey’s dramatic buzzer-beater on Sunday helped the Boilermakers avert disaster against Ohio State. Don’t be shocked if this last No. 1 seed changes hands frequently over the next month.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 2 Seeds
Arizona, Baylor, Kentucky, Duke
Baylor showed off some serious onions last night by rallying against a game West Virginia team to steal a game they had no business winning and maintain their place here. The week’s biggest riser was Kentucky, which stomped Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse and played Auburn tough recently, so they earn a spot here.
Arizona has lost just twice all season and gets a chance to avenge one of those defeats when UCLA comes to town this week. The last No. 2 seed goes to Duke, which hasn’t looked overly impressive since the start of conference play but has done enough to show why they are a threat to win the national championship.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 3 Seeds
Kansas, Houston, Texas Tech, Wisconsin
The biggest faller entering this week was Kansas, which was a potential No. 1 seed as recently as last week before getting blown out by Kentucky. The other game the Jayhawks played was a double-overtime thriller against Texas Tech, which is a defensive demon that will look to welcome back former coach Chris Beard and Texas rudely tonight.
Houston is ranked higher in the polls but their overall resume will be hurt by the poor American conference, resulting in their placement here. Wisconsin is an intriguing inclusion here since they have a road win at Purdue under their belt and a national Player of the Year candidate in star guard Johnny Davis.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 4 Seeds
Michigan State, Villanova, Providence, Illinois
The Top 16 concludes with a pair of teams from both the Big East and Big Ten. Villanova was expected to be a title threat but Providence is having a remarkable year as Ed Cooley has assembled a gutty team capable of grinding out close victories.
It’s no shock to see a Tom Izzo-coached team in the Top 16 but Michigan State is a steady team that needs to cut down on its turnovers in order to truly be a title threat. Illinois also has one of the nation’s most effective 1-2 punches in Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo, making them a dangerous out in March.