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The 2021 NCAA bracket, predicted 57 days from opening night

College hoops is almost back and it’s time for our first look ahead to what the 2021 NCAA tournament field might look like. The season begins Nov. 25 and NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz has released his first projected bracket for 2021 March Madness. 

Andy Katz preseason bracketology for the 2021 NCAA tournament

Here are his top 10 seeds, or first ten in, which be breaks down on this week’s March Madness 365 podcast:

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Baylor
  3. Villanova
  4. Illinois
  5. Iowa
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Virginia
  8. Kansas
  9. Kentucky
  10. Tennessee

As we all know, there aren’t just 10 teams in the NCAA tournament, so let’s break down the rest of Katz’s preseason March Madness field:

Andy Katz’s first preseason 2021 NCAA tournament bracket
Seed West Midwest South East
1 Gonzaga Illinois Baylor Villanova
16 NC Central/E. Washington Praire View A&M/St. Francis Pa. Colgate Vermont
         
8 Seton Hall Providence Florida Purdue
9 LSU Northern Iowa UConn Saint Louis
         
5 Indiana UCLA Michigan Texas
12 Louisville/SDSU St. John’s/Cincinnati Iona Yale
         
4 Arizona State Texas Tech Creighton Rutgers
13 New Mexico State Stephen F. Austin Liberty ETSU
         
6 Stanford Houston Florida State West Virginia
11 BYU Georgia Tech Belmont Colorado
         
Michigan State Tennessee Kentucky Duke
14 Hofstra Akron North Texas Little Rock
         
7 North Carolina Richmond Oregon Alabama
10  Boise State Ohio State Oklahoma Memphis
         
2 Kansas Virginia Wisconsin Iowa
15 UC Irvine Winthrop NDSU Wright State

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova and Illinois are Katz’s No. 1 seeds

Those are Katz’s picks, right now, for the top seeds. Three of them are easy picks as the No. 1 team headed into this season, according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.

“This is the year where I think you can vote any of three teams as the preseason No. 1 — Baylor, Villanova, Gonzaga, in whatever order you want,” Lunardi told Katz on this week’s podcast.

For the fourth No. 1 spot, Katz went with the Fighting Illini. Katz has the Illini automatically qualifying by winning the Big Ten tournament.

Illinois gets the nod over projected No. 2 seeds Iowa, a team led by preseason national Player of the Year favorite Luka Garza, and Kansas, a team that returns last season’s Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Garret.

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All four No. 1 seeds bring back a solid core of players.

Gonzaga is led by the returning Corey Kispert. The Zags will also bring in highly-touted freshman Jalen Suggs. Baylor returns potential Big 12 Player of the Year Jared Butler. Villanova will be led by veteran point guard Collin Gillespie as well as return most of its core from last season. And the Illini will return stars Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn — two of the main reasons Katz is so high on Illinois.

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Along with Iowa and Kansas, Wisconsin and Virginia, Katz’s favorite to win the ACC, also join the No. 2 line.

Although regular-season scheduling is still to be determined, especially non-conference games, there is a chance we will see conference foes like Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as Baylor and Kansas face each other at least once this year.

Who’s on Katz’s bubble, right now

Katz went beyond the field of 68 to make some predictions on the bubble for the upcoming season.

First Four out:

Dayton
Clemson
NC State
Utah

Next four out:

Auburn
Arizona
Arkansas

SMU

Andy Katz’s field of 68

Here is Katz’s full seed list in order:

RANK TEAM SEED
1 Gonzaga 1
2 Baylor 1
3 Villanova 1
4 Illinois 1
5 Iowa 2
6 Wisconsin 2
7 Virginia 2
8 Kansas 2
9 Kentucky 3
10 Tennessee 3
11 Duke 3
12 Michigan State 3
13 Rutgers 4
14 Arizona State 4
15 Texas Tech 4
16 Creighton 4
17 Michigan 5
18 Indiana 5
19 UCLA 5
20 Texas 5
21 Florida State 6
22 Houston 6
23 West Virginia 6
24 Stanford 6
25 Richmond 7
26 North Carolina 7
27 Oregon 7
28 Alabama 7
29 Providence 8
30 Florida 8
31 Seton Hall 8
32 Purdue 8
33 UConn 9
34 Northern Iowa 9
35 LSU 9
36 Saint Louis 9
37 Oklahoma 10
38 BYU 10
39 Ohio State 10
40 Boise State 10
41 Memphis 11
42 Georgia Tech 11
43 Colorado 11
44 Belmont 11
45 Louisville 12
46 San Diego State 12
47 St. John’s 12
48 Cincinnati 12
49 Yale 12
50 Iona 12
51 New Mexico State 13
52 Liberty 13
53 Stephen F. Austin 13
54 East Tennessee State 13
55 Akron 14
56 Hofstra 14
57 Little Rock 14
58 North Texas 14
59 UC Irvine 15
60 Winthrop 15
61 North Dakota State 15
62 Wright State 15
63 Vermont 16
64 Colgate 16
65 North Carolina Central 16
66 Eastern Washington 16
67 Prairie View A&M 16
68 St. Francis, Pa 16

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