Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova and Michigan are the No. 1 seeds in Andy Katz’s latest March Madness bracket predictions for the 2021 NCAA tournament.

All of his predictions here are based on games through Jan. 31. Katz will make bracket projections every week between now and Selection Sunday, which is March 14. He got 67 of the 68 teams correct in his final prediction before Selection Sunday in 2019.

Here is where Katz projects this year’s tournament field almost halfway into the regular season and about a month and a half from Selection Sunday. (Tap or click here to to open the bracket in a new window.)

And here’s that same bracket in table form.

  Region region region region
1 Gonzaga Michigan Baylor Villanova
16 Prairie View/North Carolina A&T Louisiana Bryant/Sam Houston State Montana State
         
2 Illinois Houston Iowa Texas
15 Siena Navy Northeastern South Dakota
         
3 Alabama Oklahoma Virginia Ohio State
14 Winthrop UC Irvine Grand Canyon East Tennessee State
         
4 West Virginia Florida State Tennessee Missouri
13 Western Kentucky Liberty Belmont Vermont
         
5 Wisconsin Creighton UCLA Kansas
12 Wright State Colorado State/Loyola Chicago Toledo Maryland/Seton Hall
         
6 Purdue Florida Texas Tech USC
11 Clemson San Diego State Stanford LSU
         
7 Oklahoma State Xavier Virginia Tech Minnesota
10 Georgia Tech St. Bonaventure BYU Duke
         
8 Oregon Drake Louisville Rutgers
9 Indiana Boise State UConn North Carolina

Let’s take a closer look at Katz’s bracket.

Michigan joins Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova as a No. 1 seed

There was one change on the No. 1 seed line from Katz’s last bracket projection, which was made Jan. 4. Michigan replaced Texas as a projected No. 1 seed, to join Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova on the top seed line.

Through Jan. 31, Gonzaga is No. 1 in the NET rankings, followed by No. 2 Baylor and No. 3 Michigan. Villanova checks in at No. 7. Katz’s four No. 1 seeds are also the top four teams in the latest AP poll — No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Villanova and No. 4 Michigan.

Since Katz’s last bracket projection, Michigan has gone 4-1 to improve to 13-1 on the season and 8-1 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are in first place in the conference, through Jan. 31, with a 1.5-game lead over second-place Illinois.

Thanks to an elite balance, with the No. 5 adjusted defensive efficiency in the country and the No. 8 offensive efficiency, per kenpom.com, Michigan has established itself as arguably the best team in the loaded Big Ten and a serious candidate for one of the top seeds in the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, Gonzaga and Baylor have both maintained their undefeated records, a combined 33-0. Villanova came back from pause to win its last three games, with its only loss this season coming against Virginia Tech on a neutral court in November.

In addition to a No. 1 seed, the Big Ten has lots of everything else

Katz projects 10 Big Ten teams to make the NCAA tournament, the most of any conference. The seed lines of the conference’s projected NCAA tournament teams are a No. 1 seed, two No. 2 seeds, a No. 3 seed, a No. 5 seed, a No. 6 seed, a No. 7 seed, a No.  8 seed, a No. 9 seed and a No. 11 seed.

If those teams make the NCAA tournament and receive those exact seeds, and if the better-ranked team then won in each first-round matchup, there’s a chance eight Big Ten teams could still be alive in the NCAA tournament in the second round. That’s because the conference has quality teams, and a high quantity of them.

If some or all of those projections hold, here are some notable milestones that could be achieved and potential tournament droughts that could end:

  • Rutgers is projected to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991.
  • Illinois is projected to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013.
  • Indiana is projected to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016.
  • Iowa could earn its best seed since 2006, when it was a three. The Hawkeyes have received a No. 10, No. 7, No. 7 and No. 11 seed, respectively, in their last four tournament appearances.

Recent national champions in the double digits

Duke and North Carolina combined to win three national championships last decade and the Tar Heels were the national runners-up in 2016, so the two Tobacco Road rivals combined to appear in 40 percent of the championship games from 2010 through 2019.

In Katz’s latest predicted bracket for 2021, North Carolina is a No. 9 seed and Duke is a No. 10 seed. That pick was made before Duke lost to Miami on Monday night so it’s likely to be different in the next bracket.

Kentucky, which won the 2012 national championship and lost in the 2014 national championship, isn’t in the tournament picture for Katz after starting 5-10.

A breakdown of the bubble

It’s still early in conference play, obviously, but here’s a look at the teams that just made the cut for Katz’s tournament projections.

Maryland and Seton Hall are projected to play in one First Four matchup, with Colorado State and Loyola Chicago in another.

The first four teams that missed Katz’s predicted bracket are Penn State, Syracuse, Providence and Utah State.

Here’s Katz’s full field of 68:

RANK | SEED | TEAM | CONFERENCE
1. 1 — Gonzaga | WCC (AQ)
2. 1 — Baylor | Big 12 (AQ)
3. 1 — Villanova | Big East (AQ)
4. 1 — Michigan | Big Ten (AQ)
5. 2 — Houston | American (AQ)
6. 2 — Texas | Big 12
7. 2 — Iowa | Big Ten
8. 2 — Illinois | Big Ten
9. 3 — Ohio State | Big Ten
10. 3 — Alabama | SEC (AQ)
11. 3 — Virginia | ACC (AQ)
12. 3 — Oklahoma | Big 12
13. 4 — Florida State | ACC
14. 4 — Missouri | SEC
15. 4 — Tennessee | SEC
16. 4 — West Virginia | Big 12
17. 5 — Wisconsin | Big Ten
18. 5 — UCLA | Pac-12 (AQ)
19. 5 — Creighton | Big East
20. 5 — Kansas | Big 12
21. 6 — Florida | SEC
22. 6 — USC | Pac-12
23. 6 — Texas Tech | Big 12
24. 6 — Purdue | Big Ten
25. 7 — Minnesota | Big Ten
26. 7 — Oklahoma State | Big 12
27. 7 — Virginia Tech | ACC
28. 7 — Xavier | Big East
29. 8 — Rutgers | Big Ten
30. 8 — Drake | Missouri Valley (AQ)
31. 8 — Oregon | Pac-12
32. 8 — Louisville | ACC
33. 9 — Indiana | Big Ten
34. 9 — UConn | Big East
35. 9 — North Carolina | ACC
36. 9 — Boise State | Mountain West (AQ)
37. 10 — St. Bonaventure | A-10 (AQ)
38. 10 — Duke | ACC
39. 10 — Georgia Tech | ACC
40. 10 — BYU | WCC
41. 11 — LSU | SEC
42. 11 — Maryland | Big Ten
43. 11 — Clemson | ACC
44. 11 — Stanford | Pac-12
45. 11 — San Diego State | Mountain West
46. 11 — Colorado State | Mountain West
47. 12 — Loyola Chicago | Missouri Valley
48. 12 — Seton Hall | Big East
49. 12 — Toledo | MAC (AQ)
50. 12 — Wright State | Horizon League (AQ)
51. 13 — Western Kentucky | C-USA (AQ)
52. 13 — Belmont | OVC (AQ)
53. 13 — Vermont | America East (AQ)
54. 13 — Liberty | ASUN (AQ)
55. 14 — UC Irvine | Big West (AQ)
56. 14 — Grand Canyon | WAC (AQ)
57. 14 — Winthrop | Big South (AQ)
58. 14 — East Tennessee State | SoCon (AQ)
59. 15 — Siena | MAAC (AQ)
60. 15 — Northeastern | CAA (AQ)
61. 15 — South Dakota | Summit (AQ)
62. 15 — Navy | Patriot (AQ)
63. 16 — Louisiana | Sun Belt (AQ)
64. 16 — Montana State | Big Sky (AQ)
65. 16 — Bryant | NEC (AQ)
66. 16 — Sam Houston State | Southland (AQ)
67. 16 — Prairie View A&M | SWAC (AQ)
68. 16 — North Carolina A&T | MEAC (AQ)
Round Dates LocationS
Selection Sunday Sunday, March 14  
First Four Thursday, March 18 Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
First Round Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium
Second Round Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22 Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium
Sweet 16 Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28 Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse
Elite Eight Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30 Lucas Oil Stadium
Final Four Saturday, April 3 and Monday, April 5 Lucas Oil Stadium
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