Photo courtesy AP

Photo courtesy AP

BYU’s big upset of Gonzaga last night reminded us all of just what time of year it’s about to be. It’s the first day of March, and brackets and college basketball should be on every sports fans’ mind.

And that means it’s time to start tracking what the NCAA Tournament field should look like. Here is your very first look at my field projection for the 2015 tournament.

 

 

As always, I need to make one big reminder first: unlike most bracket projections, this is not a if-the-tournament-started-today snapshot. This projection includes predicted conference champions (regardless of whether or not they are currently in first place) as well as predictions in reference to the remainder of the season. The projection will change as unexpected results occur.

 

 

In this first projection, you’ll notice some things never change. For instance, the final #1 Seed is currently anyone’s guess. After Gonzaga took a loss to BYU (which will look worse if BYU does not make the tourney), there’s really no consensus as to who currently deserves this seed. For now, Villanova fills the void on the idea they’ll win the Big East tournament, a conference I currently project to send six teams to the field.

The bubble for at-large bids is equally wide open and there will likely be massive movement between now and Selection Sunday. Teams not even currently a part of the real bubble watch may crowbar their way into the conversation while others may tailspin and we’ll be left wondering why we ever thought they might be tournament-worthy.

Brigham Young did wonders for their tournament resume last night with that win over Gonzaga, but I still think they have more work to do. Schools like Temple, Pitt, and BYU are all jostled together right now and it’ll likely come down to their performances in their respective conference tournaments to sort everything out. As it stands, the line between “in” and “out” of the tournament could not possibly be thinner.

March Madness: Projecting The Field (v1)
MIDWEST (Cleveland) EAST (Syracuse)
1 Kentucky^ 1 Virginia^
16 N.C. Central^/Bucknell^ 16 Fl. Gulf Coast^/St. Francis^
8 Iowa 8 Xavier
9 St. John’s 9 Georgia
5 North Carolina 5 West Virginia
12 Buffalo^ 12 Iona^
4 Iowa State 4 Arkansas
13 Green Bay 13 Harvard^
6 Northern Iowa 6 Butler
11 Boise State/Tulsa 11 Cincinnati
3 Maryland 3 Notre Dame
14 Murray State^ 14 High Point^
7 Providence 7 VCU
10 Oregon 10 Colorado State
2 Kansas^ 2 Wisconsin
15 Albany^ 15 William & Mary^
WEST (Los Angeles) SOUTH (Houston)
1 Villanova^ 1 Duke
16 New Mexico State^ 16 Texas Southern^
8 Ohio State 8 Indiana
9 Oklahoma State 9 Mississippi
5 SMU^ 5 Wichita State^
12 Old Dominion^ 12 Temple/Pittsburgh
4 Louisville 4 Baylor
13 Stephen F. Austin^ 13 Wofford^
6 San Diego State^ 6 Dayton^
11 N.C. State 11 Purdue
3 Utah 3 Oklahoma
14 Eastern Washington^ 14 UC Davis^
7 Michigan State 7 Georgetown
10 Texas A&M 10 LSU
2 Gonzaga^ 2 Arizona^
15 South Dakota State^ 15 Georgia State^

^ = Projected Conference Champion
# = Automatic Berth Clinched
* = New Team To Bracket Projection
Bold = First Round “First Four” Game

Last Four In: Boise State, Tulsa, Temple, Pittsburgh
First Four Out: BYU, Davidson, Texas, UCLA
Next Four Out: Illinois, Miami, Stanford, Syracuse