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Stan Becton | | June 2, 2023

Bracketology: NCAA men's basketball tournament projections after the NBA draft early entrant deadline

Men's college basketball rankings: Kansas, Duke top offseason Power 36

As of Thursday, June 1, we know which men's college basketball players are staying in school and which players have entered the 2023 NBA draft. With the NBA draft's early entrant deadline in the rearview, March Madness correspondent Andy Katz has updated his projections for the 2024 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Here's how Katz projects the 68-team field to look, through the first day of June.

First, here's the bracket in table form (scroll to the right to view the full bracket).

March Madness bracket predictions

1 Purdue Duke Michigan State Kansas
16 Texas Southern Iona Tennessee State/Howard New Orleans/Wagner
8 Villanova Wisconsin Providence UCLA
9 Colorado Auburn Pittsburgh Rutgers
5 North Carolina Ohio State Kentucky Illinois
12 Liberty Yale Grand Canyon Drake
4 Houston Arizona San Diego State Arkansas
13 James Madison UMass-Lowell Eastern Kentucky Charleston
6 Northwestern Maryland Texas A&M Tennessee
11 Dayton TCU/Oregon St. John's/Arizona State Virginia
3 Southern California UConn Texas Creighton
14 Long Beach State Ohio Weber State Furman
7 Mississippi State Alabama Indiana West Virginia
10 Xavier Iowa State Baylor Saint Mary's (CA)
2 Gonzaga Florida Atlantic Marquette Miami (FL)
15 South Dakota State UNC Asheville Colgate Wright State

2024 MARCH MADNESS: Tournament schedule, dates | Selection Sunday info

Let's take a closer look at Katz's bracket.

The top seeds

Kansas is the top seed in the south region in Katz's bracket, bolstered by the addition of Michigan transfer center Hunter Dickinson. Duke grabbed the top seed in the east region in coach Jon Scheyer's second season as a loaded freshman class and mix of returnees like Jeremy Roach and Mark Mitchell look to carry the Blue Devils. Speaking of returnees, reigning National Player of the Year Zach Edey is coming back to Purdue making the Boilermakers one of two Big Ten teams — the other being Michigan State — to earn a No. 1 seed in Katz's bracket projections.

2023 Final Four teams

The first 2023 Final Four teams appear as No. 2 seeds as Miami (FL) and Florida Atlantic bring a South Florida flare to the bracket. The Hurricanes have finished with an appearance in at least the Elite Eight in each of the last two years, while the Owls are joining the American Athletic Conference after their deepest tournament run in program history. Yet, neither of those teams played in the 2023 national championship game.

Katz placed the defending champion UConn as a No. 3 seed in his early bracket projections and the defending runner-up San Diego State as a No. 4 seed. The two national championship game teams will enter the season on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Huskies will be looking to replace 2023 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, plus Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson. Meanwhile, the Aztecs will have key players Lamont Butler and Jaedon LeDee returning in 2023-24.

POWER 36: See Andy Katz's men's basketball rankings after the NBA draft deadline

Number of bids by conference

Conferences with multiple teams in Katz's bracket projections
Conference Total Teams Teams (Automatic Qualifier/No. 1 seed in bold)
Big Ten 9 Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State,
Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Big 12 7 Baylor, Kansas, Houston, Iowa State,
TCU, Texas, West Virginia
Big East 7 Creighton, Marquette, Providence,
St. John's, UConn, Villanova, Xavier
SEC 7 Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky,
Mississippi State, Tennessee, Texas A&M
Pac-12 6 Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado,
Oregon, Southern California, UCLA
ACC 5 Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia
WCC 2 Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA)

The Big Ten leads Katz's bracket projection with nine teams in the tournament. The always-deep conference has two No. 1 seeds and only one team on a lower seed line, No. 9 seed Rutgers

You might notice that Houston, the newest member of the Big 12, earned a No. 4 seed in Katz's first bracket projection of 2024. The Cougars give the Big 12 seven teams in these early projections, but only three teams — No. 1 Kansas, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Houston — are on a top-six seed line. 

Similarly, the Big East only has three teams on a top six seed line out of its seven projected in the field, led by defending conference champion Marquette as a two-seed ahead of defending national champion UConn and Elite Eight team Creighton as three seeds.

The Pac-12 got six teams in Katz's projections, but two of the six teams — Arizona State and Oregon — would be playing in the First Four. No. 3 seed Southern California is the highest-seeded Pac-12 team, and all eyes will be on the Trojans with McDonald's All-Americans Isaiah Collier and Bronny James —the latter being the son of NBA superstar LeBron James — joining the roster.

Teams on the outside looking in

Here are Katz's first four teams out of his projected bracket.

First four out

1. Kansas State
2. New Mexico
3. Syracuse
4. Clemson

Kansas State misses the tournament in Katz's bracket after advancing to the Elite Eight in the 2023 NCAA tournament during the first year of the Jerome Tang era. However, the Wildcats enter 2023-2024 without Keyontae Johnson and Marquis Nowell, two stars from that tournament run.

Elsewhere in the first four out, Syracuse is on the outside looking in new head coach Adrian Autry's first year. On the bright side, the Orange will get a chance to boost their tournament hopes during the season with Judah Mintz in the fold after he withdrew his name from the NBA draft. 

Here are the next teams to miss the cut.

Next four out

5. Utah
6. Boise State
7. Memphis
8. Nebraska

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