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Men’s College Basketball: NCAA Tourney Bracketology 1.0 (2022)

by January 15, 2022
Jabari Smith

Welcome to my first bracketology article this season. College hoops are in full swing, and most teams are starting to show their true colors as we gain more and more data daily. I will be here to update my projected bracket weekly, and then I’ll provide more consistent updates in early March as the tournament approaches. 

Now, you may wonder what the point of bracketology is, so let me tell you. Participating in this practice is a great way to identify better value for teams’ betting futures. You may be high on a team, but an understanding of their seeding and potential opponents is critical, and I’m here in an attempt to give you the most accurate projections to determine just that.

Bracketology also gives you an early introduction to the potential Cinderella’s of the field, allowing you to be a step ahead of everyone else, saving you valuable research time once the bracket is released. 

Before I get started, let me give you the rundown. For now, I’ll simply provide my projected seeding for the field of 68. As we get closer to March Madness, I will organize teams by their region, providing my projected bracket and region breakdown.

Before conference-champion auto-bids start to roll in, I will provide my tournament “locks.” These are teams that have left no doubt that they are tournament-worthy, even though they may not have clinched a bid outright yet. I’ll take a conservative approach here, however, because college basketball is like the Wild West sometimes, and any teams’ season can turn on a dime.

Finally, I’m building this bracket based on today’s standings rather than by projecting where it might be in the future. But that’s enough rambling; let’s get to the bracket. 

Locks

  • Gonzaga (13-2)
  • Baylor (15-1)
  • Auburn (15-1)

As I said, I’m hesitant to guarantee many teams a tournament spot just yet. Similar to last year, we find Gonzaga and Baylor as early locks. While the Bulldogs have shown occasional weak spots, Mark Few is still leading an elite team that should take down another WCC title without a problem. Baylor’s recent loss to Texas Tech is intriguing, as it opens up room for parity in the Big 12. But their resume already holds firm with wins over Villanova, Michigan State, and Iowa State cementing their spot in the tournament. Auburn could be seen as a surprise, but you could easily make an argument for the Tigers being at the top spot in college basketball. They are 9-1 in Quad I and II games, Jabari Smith and KD Johnson make up an electric backcourt, and their interior defense is elite, ranking first in the nation at defensive near-proximity field goal percentage. 

Auburn (+2000 BettingPros consensus), Arizona (+1800 BettingPros consensus), and Houston (+4000 BettingPros consensus) are my three favorite futures available right now. Analytically, Houston is an absolute powerhouse, ranking third on KenPom with a top-20 offense and defense. Arizona has all the tools to make a deep run. Their ridiculously fast-paced tempo leaves teams on skates. Combine that with their length and interior defense, and this is one dangerous team capable of making a deep run.   

     

The Seeding

1 Seeds

  • Gonzaga
  • Baylor 
  • Auburn 
  • Arizona

2 Seeds

  • Houston
  • LSU
  • Duke 
  • Wisconsin 

3 Seeds

  • Kansas
  • Purdue
  • Texas Tech
  • Villanova

4 Seeds

  • UCLA
  • Michigan State
  • USC
  • Ohio State

5 Seeds

  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky

6 Seeds

  • Loyola-Chicago
  • Xavier
  • Seton Hall
  • Iowa State

7 Seeds

  • Providence
  • Texas
  • Colorado State
  • Connecticut

8 Seeds

  • West Virginia
  • Davidson
  • Iowa
  • Indiana

9 Seeds

  • San Francisco 
  • Oklahoma
  • Miami
  • BYU

10 Seeds

  • North Carolina
  • San Diego State
  • Creighton
  • Belmont

11 Seeds

  • Florida
  • Saint Mary’s
  • TCU
  • Texas A&M

12 Seeds

  • UAB
  • Chattanooga
  • Dayton*
  • Minnesota*
  • Murray State*
  • Mississippi State*

13 Seeds

  • Iona
  • New Mexico State
  • Ohio
  • Vermont

14 Seeds

  • Wagner
  • South Dakota State
  • Oakland
  • Towson

15 Seeds

  • UC Irvine
  • Liberty
  • Princeton
  • Texas State

16 Seeds

  • Navy
  • Texas State
  • Montana State*
  • Southern*
  • UNC Asheville*
  • Norfolk State*

*Play-in games

Bold = Conference Champions

First Four Out

  • Wake Forest
  • Marquette
  • Memphis
  • Virginia Tech

Next Four Out

  • Louisville 
  • Michigan
  • Wyoming
  • Clemson

Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our Sports Betting 101 Section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced sports betting strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

Ryan Coleman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive.

 

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