Home Tech NCAA Tournament bracketology: Illinois surges in as new No. 1 seed, replacing...

NCAA Tournament bracketology: Illinois surges in as new No. 1 seed, replacing Ohio State


Game results on Sunday prompted a major shift in the projected bracket, paving way for a new No. 1 seed less than two weeks from Selection Sunday. 

Iowa’s win over Ohio State pushed the Buckeyes out of the final top seed, and top No. 2 seed Villanova suffered a résumé-staining upset to Butler on Sunday. 

That allowed longtime No. 2 seed Illinois to jump into the top seed line. The Fighting Illini (18-6, 14-4) took care of Wisconsin and Nebraska this past week, but a prior loss to bubble team Michigan State left Illinois in doubt of supplanting Ohio State. When assessing both profiles, Illinois has eight Quadrant 1 victories and a top-6 NET score compared to OSU’s seven Quad 1 wins and top-8 NET score. 

Illinois Fighting Illini guard Adam Miller (44) and center Kofi Cockburn (behind Miller) and guard Da'Monte Williams (20) and guard Trent Frazier (1) and guard Ayo Dosunmu (11) huddle during a break in the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Even though the Illini lost to Ohio State on Jan. 16, Iowa’s win Sunday over OSU helps the Illini because Illinois beat Iowa on Jan. 29. Overall, Illinois has fared better against teams in the Big Ten, which is the best conference in the country based on the NET and is loaded with bubble teams that are making Illinois’ wins look much better in March. 

Selection Sunday is March 14. The NCAA Tournament tips off March 18.

No. 1 seeds

Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Illinois. 

Last four in

Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, VCU, Connecticut. 

First four out

Michigan State, Duke, St. John’s, SMU. 

Next four out

Indiana, Syracuse, Memphis, Stanford. 



Others considered for at-large bids (no particular order): Utah State, Minnesota, Richmond, Saint Louis

On life support: Marquette, Providence, Marshall, North Carolina State, Dayton,  Pittsburgh, UAB, Georgia, Ole Miss

Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (8), Big 12 (7), ACC (7), SEC (6), Big East (5), Pac-12 (4), Mountain West (3), Atlantic 10 (2), American Athletic (2), Missouri Valley (2), West Coast (2).


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