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Men’s College Basketball: NCAA Tourney Bracketology 2.0 (2022)

by January 21, 2022
Men’s College Basketball Power Rankings: Week 16 (2021-22)

Welcome to my second 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 grow 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. 

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Locks

  • Gonzaga (13-2)
  • Baylor (15-1)
  • Auburn (15-1)
  • Arizona (14-1)
  • Purdue (14-2)
  • Wisconsin (15-2)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again how hesitant I am in January to give many teams the “locks” descriptor. With that being said, welcome Arizona, Purdue, and Wisconsin to the party. With just one hiccup so far this season and a relatively easier schedule the rest of the season, I can’t see Arizona faltering before March. Even though Purdue just lost to Indiana, and still has a difficult schedule, they are already so solidified within the league they would basically have to lose out to not make the tournament. The Badgers have been electric and are vying for a one-seed. Wisconsin already beat Purdue, and they still get to play Nebraska and Minnesota twice – two should be gimme wins.   

Futures Look

In terms of futures right now, there aren’t too many I love in the market. If you want a couple of dart throws feel free to throw half a unit on Alabama (+4000 BettingPros Consensus) and Texas (+4000 BettingPros Consensus). Both teams have ridiculous levels of talent but haven’t exactly found a way to put it all together. Now is a solid buy-low point for both teams. 

If you want the biggest Dark Horse bet ever to exist for the 1% chance of bragging to your friends how early you were on this team: Northwestern +15000. They have the 7th worst luck metric in all of DI basketball per KenPom, rank 32nd in ShotQuality, and have been surprisingly competitive with top-tier teams. There’s no way but up for this Wildcats team. Furthermore, it makes no sense that Loyola-Chicago is right there with them at +15000 (BettingPros Consensus) so might as well throw them in there too.

I also don’t mind Illinois (+2500 BettingPros Consensus) or UConn (+6000 BettingPros Consensus). Illinois has been building steam these past couple of weeks but they could still end the season as a top-10 team. UConn has been quietly successful and hasn’t lost a game by more than four points all season, representing Auburn’s sole loss this season. 

Let’s get to the seeding.     

 

*Play-in games

First Four Out

  • Wake Forest
  • Texas A&M
  • Minnesota
  • Belmont

Next Four Out

  • Louisville 
  • Memphis
  • Wyoming
  • Virginia Tech

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

 

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