The 2022 March Madness Schedule is set, and the basketball committee that sets brackets has decided on a shortlist of top seeds. As we get into March, it’s time for all bookie software agents to get serious.
The college hoops regular season ends by next Sunday. Then starting on March 8 and March 9, conference tournaments begin.
Although conference tourneys will impact the selection committee’s choices, what happens during the regular season always has more of an impact. If a team wins their conference tourney, they secure an at-large bid.
But teams such as Auburn, Arizona, Gonzaga, Baylor, and Kansas are one or two games away from securing top seeds on Selection Sunday.
They mustn’t worry about automatic qualifiers. Those five teams are battling for the easiest path to the Big Dance’s second round and beyond.
If Auburn, Arizona, or Gonzaga wins their conference tournament, great, but it’s unnecessary to win the conf. tournament for those teams to secure a 1-seed. Kansas and Baylor play each other on February 26. The winner, no doubt, should grab the 1-seed unless the loser on February 26 beats the winner in the conference tourney.
Now that pay per head agents know the committee’s emphasis on the regular season and conf. tournaments, it’s time to get down to business.
We posted an early NCAA Tournament preview. Check out what those predictions look like heading into the madness that comes with March.
Men’s College Basketball NCAA Tournament Field
Updated March Madness Bracket Predictions – Top 4 Seeds
West Region – San Francisco
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Even if the Zags suffer an improbable loss in the West Coast Conference tourney, they should still grab the 1-seed in the San Francisco region. The Zags are the overall favorite to win the title.
Drew Timme is a player of the year candidate while Gonzaga will ride the nation’s longest winning streak into the Big Dance. Expect more March Madness bets on the Zags to win the title than any other team.
For sure, online bookie agents must set max betting limits. The Zags should have an easy road to the Elite Eight, where we believe they face off against our predicted 2-seed in the West Region.
2. Kentucky Wildcats
The NCAA Tournament committee won’t hand out two 1-seeds to the SEC. If Auburn is a 1, Kentucky must be a 2.
A 2-seed is nothing to sneeze at. More importantly, Kentucky should relish the chance to battle the Zags. After all, Oscar Tshiebwe can outplay Drew Timme, and Sahvir Wheeler is a better point guard than any PG on Gonzaga’s roster.
Set max limits on Kentucky to win the title.
3. Texas Tech Red Raiders
No doubt, the Big 12 is this season’s top conference. Kansas and Baylor are the top two teams in the Big 12.
So the 1-seed goes to the Jayhawks or Bears, the other team grabs a 2-seed, and the Red Raiders end up a 3-seed.
4. UCLA Bruins
Earlier this season, the Zags dominated UCLA 83-63. Because Gonzaga is the overall 1-seed, the Zags deserve an easy path to the Elite Eight. The Bruins present that easy path.
East Region – Philadelphia
1. Auburn Tigers
Once you receive your printable NCAA bracket, don’t be surprised if the Auburn Tigers are a 1-seed number-1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But the Tigers could end up the 1 in the East Region, not the South Region.
Not that Auburn cares so much. Bruce Pearl’s squad plays the ultimate team game. The top scorer is Jabari Smith, and he averages barely over 16 points per game. Auburn should excel in the March Madness tourney no matter where they play.
Another reason to love Auburn? The Tigers show no bad losses. Set max limits on Pearl’s team to win it all.
2. Duke Blue Devils
The prediction is that even though Duke hasn’t had a great season, the Blue Devils end up with a 2-seed. The main reason is that almost everyone wants Coach K to have success in his final NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Devils are a quality bunch. In the quarterfinals, their best shot is to face a team like Auburn, which doesn’t have a ton of size.
3. Illinois Illini
This season, Illinois was playing like they had a 1-seed or 2-seed locked up. The Illini were playing like the Big Ten’s best team.
But momentum has left the Illini. The printable NCAA bracket should reflect that Illinois is more a 3-seed than a 2 or 1.
4. Providence Friars
Providence has a better record than rival Villanova. So there’s a chance the Friars could end up a 3-seed or, maybe, even a 2-seed.
Early in the season, though, Nova took on much better teams. The best team Providence has faced is the Wildcats.
Jay Wright’s squad beat Friars 89-84 in the first meeting, and that game was at Providence. Even with a Big East Tournament win, a 4 seems more probable.
South Region – San Antonio
1. Arizona Wildcats
Gonzaga is the overall 1-seed, but the Zags don’t play in a Power 5 Conference. Arizona does, and Zona has dominated.
The Wildcats are 25-2 heading into their final four games. Unless AZ bombs in the Pac-12 Tournament, the committee will have no choice but to hand the Cats a 1-seed.
So if the Zags are the 1-seed in the West, and they should be, where will the Selection Sunday team place Arizona? The 1-seed in the South, especially since San Antonio counts as the south this season, makes sense.
2. Kansas Jayhawks
Ochai Agbaji has a real shot at winning the Wooden Award for National Player of the Year. He could provide a Danny Manning-like performance in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Rock Chalk Nation believes Kansas is one of the teams that can cut down the nets in New Orleans. An NCAA Tournament Bracket battle between the Jayhawks and Arizona Wildcats for the right to go to New Orleans would be epic.
3. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers, like Purdue and like Illinois, are a good basketball team. But Wisconsin isn’t on the level of the very best teams from the SEC, Pac-12, or Big 12. So a 3-seed appears fair.
4. Houston Cougars
Kelvin Sampson’s squad is sneaky good. The Cougars allow less than 59 points per game.
Almost as important? Houston has picked it up on the offensive end. But the Cougs play in the American Athletic Conference and outside of SMU, and even the Mustangs have question marks, nobody can stand up to Houston.
Still, because Sampson coaches and the Cougars can lock down defensively on any teams they face in the tournament, PPH sportsbook agents should use their layoff account and set parlay limits if required.
Midwest Region – San Antonio
1. Baylor Bears
The defending NCAA Tournament champs are a victory against Kansas away from securing a top seed. The Bears haven’t played well enough to grab the 1 in San Antonio, thereby playing in front of their Waco, Texas fans.
But should they beat the Jayhawks on February 26, Baylor should get the 1-seed in the Midwest. No Big Ten team is deserving of a 1. So the 1 will go to either Baylor or Kansas.
2. Villanova Wildcats
Nova should be a 2 on the committee’s seed list. Jay Wright’s team always has a shot at winning the National Championship.
It doesn’t matter the seed. This season, Villanova should peak in the tournament, making them a serious contender to march to New Orleans.
3. Purdue Boilermakers
Because Zach Edey roams the pain and Jaden Ivey shoots threes, the Boilermakers have a shot at grabbing a 1-seed or 2-seed. But Purdue is at Michigan State on February 26, at Wisconsin on March 1, and against Indiana on March 5.
There’s a chance Purdue loses 2-of-3. If that happens, the only way the Boilermakers grab a 1-seed or 2-seed is to win the Big Ten Tournament, which is far from certain.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes shouldn’t lose any of their final four games. Ohio State is better than Maryland, Nebraska, Michigan State, and Michigan. A clean sweep should hand the Buckeyes a 4-seed even if they bomb in the Big Ten tourney.
Like Boise State, Murray State, and Colorado State, other teams are in the automatic qualifiers category, meaning teams like the Broncos, Racers, and Rams must win their conference tourney to secure an NCAA Tournament bid.
In most seasons, the team that wins the Big Dance is either a 1-seed or 2-seed. So don’t bother setting max limits on teams like Boise, CSU, and Murray.
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