Here’s my first projected NCAA tournament bracket of the season.

Boston Region

Seed Team Conference
1 Syracuse* Big East
2Duke ACC
3 Missouri Big 12
4Mississippi State SEC
5 Temple Atlantic 10*
6Purdue Big Ten
7 Seton Hall Big East
8 Harvard* Ivy League
9 Vanderbilt SEC
10 Saint Louis Atlantic 10
11 California* Pac-12
12 Oklahoma Big 12
13 Davidson* Southern
14 Cleveland State* Horizon
15 Ohio MAC
16 Prairie View*/Maine* Play-in

Atlanta Region

Seed Team Conference
1 Kentucky* SEC
2Ohio State* Big 10
3 Louisville Big East
4Kansas Big 12
5 Michigan Big Ten
6Illinois Big Ten
7 Marquette Big East
8 Saint Mary's West Coast
9 West Virginia Big East
10 Virginia Tech ACC
11 Colorado State Mountain West
12 Wichita State/Ole Miss Play-in
14 Wagner* Northeast
15 Norfolk State* MEAC
16 Lamar* Southland

St. Louis Region

Seed Team Conference
1 North Carolina* ACC
2Georgetown Big East
3 Michigan State Big Ten
4UNLV* Mountain West
5 Alabama SEC
6Kansas State Big 12
7 Dayton Atlantic 10
8 Wisconsin Big Ten
9 Memphis Conference USA
10 North Carolina State ACC
11 New Mexico Mountain West
12 Northwestern/Arizona Play-in
13 Belmont* Atlantic Sun
14 Nevada* WAC
15 Lehigh* Patriot
16 Middle Tennessee* Sun Belt

Phoenix Region

Seed Team Conference
1 Baylor* Big 12
2Connecticut Big East
3 Indiana Big East
4Gonzaga* West Coast
5 Florida SEC
6Creighton* Missouri Valley
7 Virginia ACC
8 Murray State* Ohio Valley
9 San Diego State Mountain West
10 Southern Mississippi* Conference USA
11 Stanford Pac-12
12 Florida State/Minnesota Play-in
13 Long Beach State* Big West
14 Iona* Metro Atlantic
15 South Dakota State* Summit
16 Weber State*/Campbell Play-in

*Conference champion

Top seeds

Syracuse: Defense and a strong transition game have helped carry the unbeaten Orange to four wins over top 50 teams.

Kentucky: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has proved to be the best player on what may be the nation’s most talented team.

North Carolina: Aside from games against Duke and Virginia, the Tar Heels may not be tested often in an ACC that lacks depth.

Baylor: Future NBA lottery pick Perry Jones III needs to be more assertive. Ohio State lurks on Baylor’s heels for top seed.


Seton Hall: Second-year Coach Kevin Willard has led the Pirates to a strong record despite playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules.

Michigan State: Counting out Tom Izzo is foolish. After an 0-2 start, the Spartans have won 14 straight games, including beating Indiana and Gonzaga.

Indiana: Coach Tom Crean is an early favorite for national coach of the year after the Hoosiers earned wins over Kentucky and Ohio State.

Georgetown: Predicted to finish in the middle of the Big East pack, the Hoyas have scored two of the nation’s most impressive road victories (at Alabama, at Louisville).


Xavier: Perhaps the deepest Musketeers team in recent years, they have been free falling since the on-court brawl with rival Cincinnati.

Harvard: The Jan. 3 loss at middling Fordham served as a blow to an otherwise noteworthy season for Tommy Amaker’s team.

Memphis: With players like Will Barton and Joe Jackson, Josh Pastner has too much talent to be mired in mediocrity.

Wisconsin: The Badgers, who have shot poorly in Big Ten play, have lost two in a row at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season.


Murray State: With wins over Memphis and Southern Mississippi, the unbeaten Racers have played their toughest games until March.

Belmont: Consistently one of the nation’s best-coached teams, Belmont is deep and poised to give a first-round opponent fits once again.

Long Beach State: Don’t worry about the lackluster 9-6 record; the 49ers have played the nation’s toughest schedule, already beating Xavier and Pittsburgh.

Wagner: The Seahawks already have six wins away from home, including one at Pittsburgh.