College Basketball’s Bracketology for the 2022 NCAA Tournament

By Dan Vasta in College Basketball
| November 15, 2021 11:27 am PST

The NCAA Tournament is one of the biggest gambling spectacles of the sports calendar year. The entertainment is off the charts in March, and the excitement always increases the gamblers.

Many believe the month of March is the best sports time of the year, but the passionate college hoops fans live for the moment all year round. Bracketology has been a growing hobby for many out there.

Projecting the bracket that the committee will reveal on Selection Sunday is always highly entertaining. I have had success the past two years.

Selection Sunday is a national holiday since predicting a projected bracket by many bracketologists has become a trend. The tournament gets filled out by millions, and the fun is never-ending.

Here is your current preseason bracketology edition for the upcoming 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Midwest Region

  • 1-seed: Purdue
  • 6-seed: Baylor
  • 16-seed: Winthrop
  • 11-seed: Belmont
  • 8-seed: Xavier
  • 3-seed: Ohio State
  • 9-seed: San Diego State
  • 14-seed: Wright State
  • 5-seed: Florida State
  • 7-seed: USC
  • 12-seed: UAB
  • 10-seed: Loyola
  • 4-seed: Alabama
  • 2-seed: Texas
  • 13- seed: Buffalo
  • 15 seed: Yale

The Midwest region looks stacked with elite squads entering the season. They may not have the title contenders on paper like the South or West regions, but the talent is there.

The entire region at the moment is full of teams with Final Four droughts. The Boilermakers are my top seed, and they have not made the final weekend of the season since 1980!

Alabama has never appeared in a Final Four before, and Florida State has not made one since 1972. Ohio State had hype entering the tournament last season but was stunned by Oral Roberts.

The ability to score should be fun. It is what the defenses and coaching can do to make a difference. Leonard Hamilton is getting so close to a Final Four run that the folks in Tallahassee can taste it on their lips.

Be sure to check out the top teams destined to compete for their first national title this season below.

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Purdue and Texas were favorites to go far last year, but both ironically fell in their first game. Both matchups were stunners that came down to the wire.

They have even more experience this season, but their conferences will test them. There will be a debate if the Big Ten is the top conference and the Big 12 is second-best.

There could be an argument made for both, but the Big Ten has 14 teams in the conference. They will get half of the conference dancing, but it will require the Big 12 to have almost all of their teams reach the dance if they expect to match them.

East Region

  • 1-seed: Kansas
  • 6-seed: Virginia Tech
  • 16-seed: Morgan State/Bryant
  • 11-seed: Seton Hall
  • 8-seed: Florida
  • 3-seed: Illinois
  • 9-seed: Richmond
  • 14-seed: Georgia State
  • 5-seed: St. Bonaventure
  • 7-seed: Michigan State
  • 12-seed: Rutgers/Colorado State
  • 10-seed: Colorado
  • 4-seed: Houston
  • 2-seed: Villanova
  • 13-seed: Vermont
  • 15-seed: Northeastern

The East region has had some epic battles in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Villanova and Kansas have been two respectable programs that have gone up against each other in the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and Final Four.

The pair have seen each other three times in the dance in the past decade-plus. They played in 2008, 2016, and 2018. The winner of those matchups in those games all went on to capture the national championship.

Kansas has the fourth shortest odds (tied) at +1200, and Villanova is sixth at +1400 (tied). These two will have challenges from the other contenders in this East region. Michigan State will have solid expectations as they are at +400. There is a squad in Illinois that could win it all (+2200).

Kofi Cockburn (pronounced CO-burn) returned after passing up an opportunity to play in the NBA. Guards Trent Frazier and Andre Curbelo are capable guards that can fill it up. So, this finally could be the year they get back to the Final Four.

St. Bonaventure has not seen much success in the preseason. Before this season, they had not been in the preseason poll since 1970. Jaren Holmes and Kyle Lofton return after leading the team in scoring last season.

When projecting teams in the mid-major conferences, the Bonnies are a perfect example of what a team can do when they win.

They have Virginia Tech and Connecticut in the non-conference, but they can stay afloat in a respectable Atlantic-10 conference. It will be a challenge for the others in a one-bid league.

West Region

  • 1-seed: Gonzaga
  • 6-seed: Indiana
  • 16-seed: Nicholls State/Prairie View A&M
  • 11-seed: Mississippi State
  • 8-seed: LSU
  • 3-seed: Duke
  • 9-seed: Texas Tech
  • 14-seed: Southern Utah
  • 5-seed: Oregon
  • 7-seed: Maryland
  • 12-seed: UCSB
  • 10-seed: Connecticut
  • 4-seed: Arkansas
  • 2-seed: Kentucky
  • 13-seed: Liberty
  • 15-seed: Furman

Gonzaga is the favorite to win it all (+600) after nearly becoming the first undefeated team since Indiana in 1975-1976. The Bulldogs lost a few pieces but brought some studs like they have been doing for the past few seasons under Mark Few.

Few and his Bulldogs should return to where they were last season. They have been flexing their muscles against elite competition in the non-conference.

Many believe their conference schedule in the final weeks of the season has cost them, but they have done well in the dance overall.

The biggest challenger for Gonzaga in this current projected region would be Kentucky and Duke. Two blue bloods with the Bulldogs would be fun.

The committee knows what they are doing. Both teams missed the NCAA Tournament last season, and it was the first time they both missed the dance since 1976.

The Wildcats are in the rare spot where they bring back a few of their top players from last season on top of hauling in a few transfers.

We have seen them land the top prized recruits out of high school, but this team will be one of the more experienced teams that John Calipari has had. They bring value with the sixth (tied) shortest in the country (+1400).

Duke isn’t far ahead at +1200 since they have a few experienced players. Their incoming class could be one of the better ones for Mike Krzyzewski, but this will be it for the legendary Hall of Famer. In his final season, many believe they can make a championship push.

South Region

  • 1-seed: UCLA
  • 6-seed: Tennessee
  • 16-seed: Iona
  • 11-seed: Iowa/San Francisco
  • 3-seed: Memphis
  • 8-seed: Louisville
  • 9-seed: West Virginia
  • 14-seed: North Dakota State
  • 5-seed: Auburn
  • 7-seed: Virginia
  • 12-seed: BYU
  • 10-seed: Oklahoma State
  • 4-seed: North Carolina
  • 2-seed: Michigan
  • 13-seed: Colgate
  • 15-seed: New Mexico State

The South would feature three of the top five favorites in the preseason odds via SportsBetting.ag, and the hype is up there. The Bruins had a magical run last season, becoming the fifth 11-seed to reach the Final Four.

UCLA brings back everybody that made an impact on their tournament roster last season. They added some improved youngsters. The return of all-everything wing Johnny Juzang has returned.

Juzang was unstoppable in the stretch run due to his size and shooting touch. UCLA is currently +1400 to cut the nets down, which ties for the fifth best in the country.

The Pac-12 may struggle this season to find a competitor to challenge the Bruins for the top of the conference. UCLA had a remarkable Elite 8 matchup against Michigan last season, who was the 1-seed.

The committee has to find future elite matchups on paper, but this could be better than last season. Juwan Howard has been tremendous with the Maize and Blue thus far in the Big Ten. The expectations have brought their aspirations even higher when March rolls along.

The program has appeared in two Final Fours since 2013, but they have not won a title since 1989. The program is hoping to end the drought that the conference has had since 2000. Michigan plays in the Big Ten, which should be the top conference in the nation.

Winning ranked matchups every week will allow them to lose a handful on the season and still challenge for a potential 1-seed. The other contender in this region entering the season would be Memphis and North Carolina.

The Tar Heels will be in their first tournament since 2001 without Roy Williams. No coach had won more games in the dance than Roy Williams with UNC since 2004.

They finally lost their first game in the first round since Roy took over in Chapel Hill, but Hubert Davis has his squad tied for the 15th shortest odds (+3300) to win it all.

Memphis under Penny Hardaway has been passing the eye test with their ability to bring in highly touted youngsters that have their dreams set on playing in the NBA. The Tigers have the second shortest odds (+900) to win it all.

Emoni Bates and Jalen Duran are two studs that are ready to shine. Young teams often disappoint, but they will need to play their best towards the end of the season.

Early March Madness Predictions for 2021-22

Some other projections to jot down before the season tips off will be who wins it all. I discussed the reasons why the Gonzaga Bulldogs are a great bet to win it all.

Their biggest challenges will likely come from the Big Ten and the Big 12. The two conferences combined will have over a baker’s dozen of squads that will go dancing.

Houston should challenge Memphis for the AAC crown, but both could be Top 25 squads. The Tigers have so much talent at their disposal that many believe they have the goods to get to the Final Four.

The SEC and ACC may only be the third and fourth-best conferences entering the season, but they have a few squads that should make headlines.

Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina are the blue bloods that all will get back to being relevant. Two of the three missed the dance last season. The Tar Heels lost in the round of 64 for the first time since 1999.

The likes of Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, and Alabama could see exceptional seasons. Somebody will challenge Kentucky, but it sure will be highly entertaining.

The ACC is looking for somebody besides Florida State to be relevant. Virginia struggled on top of Duke and Carolina not being like themselves.

These were your preseason predictions of the upcoming 2022 NCAA Tournament, and there will be changes every week. The fluidity of college sports often takes a turn that nobody ever sees coming.

College basketball will always have parity, and there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way. Stay tuned this season for your predictions and picks of games, as well as for your projected field of 68.

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