Projecting the Field of 68 for 2022 NCAA Tournament


Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s time to focus on March Madness. 

With that in mind, Sporting News unveils its third Field of 68 for the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which begins on March 15. This year’s Final Four is at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans from April 2-4. 

Each week, SN will update our tournament projections leading up to the Big Dance. 

MORE: SN’s latest college basketball power rankings

Auburn, Gonzaga and Arizona are firm No. 1 seeds in this week’s projections, but the fourth one remains a debate. Kansas and Kentucky are jostling for that position. The Wildcats beat Kansas 80-62 on Jan. 29, but that isn’t the only factor that will determine who gets that last spot. 

For now, SN likes Kansas as the final one seed. The Wildcats are in position as the top No. 2 seed, and Purdue, Duke and Baylor are not far behind. 

We also will break down the tournament bubble each week. Virginia and Mississippi State are two teams that are making moves in opposite directions worth watching this week. 

Who is our Field of 68? Here is a closer look: 

NCAA tournament Field of 68 projections

No. 1 Seeds

*Gonzaga (21-2, 10-0 WCC) 

Resume: Net: 1, KenPom: 1. Three of the Bulldogs’ last four games are on the road, including at San Francisco and St. Mary’s. 

*Auburn (23-2, 11-1 SEC) 

Resume: Net: 8, Ken: 7. The Tigers have one ranked opponent in Tennessee left on schedule over the next six games, and the 7-2 record vs. Quad 1 remains strong. 

*Arizona (22-2, 12-1 Pac-12) 

Resume: Net: 2, KenPom: 2. The Wildcats are 11-2 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 and are riding a six-game winning streak. 

*Kansas (20-4, 9-2, Big 12) 

Resume: Net: 8, KenPom: 8. The Jayhawks are going to battle others for this spot, especially Kentucky, but the Big 12 championship would alleviate that head-to-head loss to the Wildcats. 

No. 2 Seeds

Kentucky (21-4, 10-2 SEC) 

Resume: Net: 3, KenPom: 3. The Wildcats have a compelling case as a No. 1, but a 5-4 record against Quad 1 teams keeps them on this line for now. 

*Purdue (21-4, 10-4 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 9, KenPom: 12. The loss at Michigan drops them a half-game back in the Big Ten standings, but a head-to-head sweep against Illinois could come into play. 

*Duke (21-4, 11-3)

Resume: Net: 11, KenPom: 6. The Louisville loss keeps the Blue Devils off the No. 1 line, but Duke still has a 5-1 record against Quad 1 teams. 

Baylor (21-4, 9-3, Big 12) 

Resume: Net: 6, KenPom: 5. The Bears can firm this line up with a win at Texas Tech on Wednesday. A No. 1 seed remains possible. 

No. 3 Seeds 

Illinois (18-6, 11-3 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 13, KenPom: 15. The Illini are 10-6 against Quad 1 or Quad 2 teams and can add another one with a victory at Michigan State on Saturday. 

*Providence (21-2, 11-1 Big East) 

Resume: Net: 29, KenPom: 47. The Friars have won eight in a row and they can impress on this line with a victory against Villanova on Tuesday. 

Villanova (19-6, 12-3 Big East) 

Resume: Net: 6, KenPom: 9. The Wildcats are inching toward a No. 2 seed based on their high Net/KenPom combination, and a victory against the Friars would help. 

Texas Tech (18-6, 7-4 Big 12)

Resume: Net: 12, KenPom: 13. The Red Raiders have a 5-0 record against Quad 2 that should help keep them on this line. 

No. 4 seeds 

Wisconsin (19-5, 10-4 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 23, KenPom: 36. The Badgers split a victory at Michigan State with a home loss to Rutgers. They fall to the No. 4 line as a result. 

Texas (18-7, 7-5 Big 12)

Resume: Net: 15, KenPom: 14. The Longhorns split with Kansas and Baylor and get Texas Tech next. They have survived that brutal stretch to this point. 

Tennessee (18-6, 9-3 SEC) 

Resume: Net: 10, KenPom: 10. The Vols are 4-6 against Quad 1 and 5-0 against Quad 2.

*Houston (20-4, 9-2 AAC) 

Resume: Net: 5, KenPom: 7. Back-to-back losses to SMU and Memphis drop the Cougars a line. Houston is 6-4 against Quad 1 or Quad 2 teams. 

No. 5 seeds

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UCLA (17-5, 9-4 Pac-12)

Resume: Net: 14, KenPom: 11. The Bruins are now 8-5 against Quad 1 or Quad 2 teams. UCLA has lost three of its past four games. 

Michigan State (18-6, 9-4 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 24, KenPom: 23. The Spartans can climb the ladder with home games against Illinois and Purdue the next two weeks. 

UConn (17-7, 8-5 Big East) 

Resume: Net: 18, KenPom: 19. The Huskies enter a pivotal stretch with matchups against Seton Hall, Xavier and Villanova the next two weeks. 

Arkansas (19-6, 8-4 SEC)

Resume: Net: 33, KenPom: 22. The Razorbacks scored an upset victory against Auburn, then lost to Alabama. Still, we like the resume on this line better than a No. 6. 

No. 6 seeds

Marquette (16-9, 8-6 Big East) 

Resume: Net: 30, KenPom: 33. The Eagles have lost three of their past four games, which knocks them down despite seven Quad 1 wins. Marquette is a tough team to seed as a result. 

Ohio State (15-6, 8-4 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 17, KenPom: 21. The computer rankings love the Buckeyes, which could push them up as high as No. 4 with a few signature victories. 

Alabama (16-9, 6-6 SEC) 

Resume: Net: 22, KenPom: 18. The Crimson Tide get a rematch at Kentucky on Saturday. The .500 record in SEC play helps in what has been an up-and-down season. 

Xavier (17-7, 7-6 Big East) 

Resume: Net: 20, KenPom: 25. The Musketeers split with Seton Hall and UConn, and they get a rematch with the Huskies this week. 

No. 7 seeds 

LSU (18-7, 6-6 SEC)

Resume: Net: 16, KenPom: 16. The Tigers’ strong ranking combination could push them on the same line as Alabama. The teams meet in the regular-season finale on March 5. 

Iowa (17-7, 7-6 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 19, KenPom 17. The Hawkeyes have taken advantage of a soft spot in the schedule and get Michigan and Ohio State this week. 

USC (21-4, 10-4 Pac-12) 

Resume: Net: 28, KenPom: 30. The Trojans picked up a big victory against UCLA and are 8-3 against Quad 1 and Quad 2. This is a solid No. 7 trending upward. 

St. Mary’s (20-6, 8-3 WCC) 

Resume: Net: 21, KenPom: 20. The Gaels have a tough stretch to end the season with games against San Francisco, BYU and a rematch with Gonzaga. 

No. 8 seeds 

*Loyola-Chicago (19-5, 10-3 MVC) 

Resume: Net: 27, Ken:Pom 24. The Ramblers are 14-0 against Quad 3 and Quad 4. They don’t have a bad loss to this point. 

Seton Hall (15-8, 6-7 Big East) 

Resume: Net: 34, KenPom: 34. The Pirates have won three of their past four and the schedule opens up after a road trip at UConn. 

*Wyoming (21-3, 10-1 MWC) 

Resume: Net: 25, KenPom: 31. The Cowboys have the look of one of those dangerous Cinderella teams if they get the right draw. 

Boise State (18-5, 9-1 MWC) 

Resume: Net: 39, Ken Pom 40. The Broncos have a 5-1 record against Quad 1 teams, and that will resonate with the selection committee if they don’t win MWC.  

No. 9 seeds 

Wake Forest (20-6, 10-5 ACC) 

Resume: Net: 40, KenPom: 37. That the Deacons are the first at-large from the ACC shows how much trouble the other bubble teams from the conference could be in. 

Colorado State (20-3, 10-3 MWC) 

Resume: Net: 31, KenPom 32. The Rams bolstered their case with a victory against Boise State, and that should secure a third bid for the MWC. 

Indiana (16-8, 7-7 Big Ten) 

Resume: Net: 41, KenPom: 42. The Hoosiers are 12-0 outside Quad 1 and Quad 2, but they have slipped two lines in the past two weeks. 

*Murray State (24-2, 14-0 OVC)

Resume: Net: 26, KenPom: 26. The Racers are in a conference where Belmont and Morehead State have legit bubble cases if they don’t win the OVC tournament. We think Murray State likely is in no matter what. 

No. 10 seeds 

*Davidson (20-4, 10-2 A-10) 

Resume: Net: 61, KenPom: 65. The loss to Rhode Island drops the Wildcats down a line and puts pressure on them to win the Atlantic-10 tournament just to be sure. 

Notre Dame (18-7, 11-3 ACC)

Resume: Net: 56, KenPom: 59. The Irish are 5-6 in Quad 1 and Quad 2, and they bumped up to the 50s in both sets of rankings. 

TCU (16-6, 5-5 Big 12) 

Resume: Net: 54, KenPom: 58. The Horned Frogs maintain modest Net and KenPom rankings despite a .500 record in Big 12 play. 

Florida (16-9, 6-6 SEC) 

Resume: Net: 49, KenPom 54. The Gators will have more chances to prove it or lose it, especially in home games against Auburn, Arkansas and Kentucky down the stretch. 

No. 11 seeds 

Iowa State (16-9, 3-9 Big 12) 

Resume: Net: 43, KenPom: 45. The Cyclones are on a four-game losing streak and trending downward fast. 

Oregon (16-8, 9-4 Pac-12)

Resume: Net: 62, KenPom: 66. The Ducks had a four-game winning streak snapped in a bad loss to Cal. 

San Francisco (21-6, 8-4 WCC)

Resume: Net: 32, KenPom: 27. The Dons have done nothing to disrupt their standing as the third West Coast Conference team in the field. 

North Carolina (18-7, 10-4 ACC)

Resume: Net: 37, KenPom: 38. The Heels might not get a chance at a first Quad 1 win until the regular-season finale at Duke. 

No. 12 seeds 

Oklahoma (14-11, 4-8 Big 12) 

Resume: Net: 36, KenPom 28. The Sooners’ next stretch includes Texas, Iowa State and Texas Tech. It’s easy to get knocked off this bubble. 

BYU (19-8, 7-5 WCC) 

Resume: Net: 51, KenPom: 52. The Cougars’ on-again, off-again relationship with the bubble continues. For now, we have BYU as one of the last four in. 

Creighton (15-8, 7-5 Big East)

Resume: Net: 71, KenPom: 70. The Blue Jays cannot afford a slip-up against either Georgetown or DePaul this week. 

Miami (18-7, 10-4 ACC)

Resume: Net: 68, KenPom: 67. The Hurricanes moved up into the 60s in Net and KenPom, but it’s still dicey given those low marks. 

*North Texas (18-4, 11-1 C-USA)

Resume: Net: 42, KenPom: 48. The Mean Green have an at-large case with a 3-3 record vs. Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams. 

*Chattanooga (22-5, 12-2 Southern) 

Resume: Net: 55, KenPom: 63. The Mocs are 3-2 vs. Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams. 

No. 13 seeds

*Vermont (20-4, 12-0 America East) 

Resume: Net: 66, KenPom: 69

*Toledo (20-5, 12-2 MAC) 

Resume: Net: 69, KenPom: 68

*Iona (20-5, 12-2 MAAC) 

Resume: Net: 78, KenPom: 86

*South Dakota State (23-4, 14-0 Summit)

Resume: Net: 74, KenPom: 71

No. 14 seeds 

*New Mexico State (20-4, 10-2 WAC) 

Resume: Net: 84, KenPom: 91

*Liberty (18-8, 9-2 A-Sun) 

Resume: Net: 103, KenPom: 103

*Wagner (17-3, 13-1 Northeast) 

Resume: Net: 112, KenPom: 125

*Montana State (20-5, 12-2 Big Sky) 

Resume: Net: 132, KenPom: 138

No. 15 seeds 

*Texas State (17-6, 8-3 Sun Belt) 

Resume: Net: 136, KenPom: 145

*Yale (14-9, 8-1) 

Resume: Net: 144, KenPom: 142

*Long Beach State (14-9, 9-1 Big West) 

Resume: Net: 155, KenPom: 146

*Cleveland State (17-6, 13-3)

Resume: Net: 162, KenPom: 191

No. 16 seeds

*Longwood (18-6, 10-1 Big South) 

Resume: Net: 147, KenPom: 159

*Colgate (13-11, 9-2 Patriot) 

Resume: Net: 141, KenPom: 134

*Norfolk State (16-5, 7-1 MEAC) 

Resume: Net: 161, KenPom: 201

*UNC-Wilmington (17-7, 11-2 CAA)

Resume: Net: 182, KenPom: 189

*Southern (14-10, 9-3 SWAC) 

Resume: Net: 199, KenPom: 190

*New Orleans (15-9, 8-1 Southland) 

Resume: Net: 240, KenPom: 241

Four on the bubble

Michigan (13-10, 7-6 Big Ten)

Resume: Net: 35, KenPom 35. The Wolverines have the highest ranking of a major conference team that likely will be left out of the tournament. Their past seven games are against tournament-ready teams. 

Mississippi State (14-10, 5-6 SEC) 

Resume: Net: 53, KenPom: 43. The Bulldogs are flirting with disaster and have lost five of six games. That rough stretch continues at Alabama on Wednesday. 

Virginia (16-9, 10-4 ACC)

Resume: Net: 77, KenPom: 76. The Cavaliers beat Duke at the buzzer and have won four straight games. They are working toward the fringe but need to keep that rolling. 

Belmont (22-5, 12-2 OVC) 

Resume: Net: 47, KenPom: 62. The Bruins could burst a bubble if they can win the Ohio Valley Conference, but they have a strong case for an at-large bid either way. 

Upcoming Bubble games to track 

Iowa State at TCU (Tuesday) 
Wisconsin at Indiana (Tuesday) 
Florida at Texas A&M (Tuesday) 
Mississippi State at Alabama (Wednesday) 
Washington State at UCLA (Thursday) 
Oklahoma at Iowa State (Saturday) 
Virginia at Miami (Saturday) 
Marquette at Creighton (Sunday)





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