Selection Sunday: Last-Minute Bracket Predictions

Selection Sunday: Last-Minute Bracket Predictions

One of the best days of the sporting calendar each year doesn’t really even involve games being played, although there are a few: We are talking of course about Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament, which is this Sunday to fill out the Field of 68. That is 68 teams trying to reach the top and for all the games, MyBookie has the top college basketball betting odds.

Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament 2022

The selection committee will offer 36 at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in addition to 32 automatic bids for those teams that won their conference tournament. Each committee member also submits a ballot of teams it feels merits consideration for an at-large berth in the tournament. There is no limit to how many teams can be on these ballots. Any team receiving at least four votes on either ballot goes on the “under consideration” board, along with any regular season conference champions that have not won automatic qualification and were not already added to the field.

The committee will look at record, strength of schedule and quality of wins and losses, among other factors, to rank the field of teams from 1 to 68. The committee strives for balance in each of the East, West, Midwest and South regions.

What do we know as of this writing? Gonzaga is going to be the No. 1 seed in the West and the No. 1 overall seed. The Zags are No. 1 in both polls and are +350 favorites to win the national title after being unbeaten and losing in the title game last year to Baylor.

Gonzaga’s three losses this year were all Quadrant 1 (top-25 home, top-75 away) and its latest win over Saint Mary’s counts as a Q1 (top-50 neutral court) victory to give Gonzaga 10 Quad 1 wins — more than last season’s team entering the NCAAs. Only Baylor (11) has more and that’s because the Bears played in the toughest conference in the country (ranking first in NET score rankings).

Kansas, Arizona and Baylor are the current favorites for the other No. 1 seeds, although Arizona may have suffered a major injury on Thursday as guard Kerr Kriisa suffered an ankle sprain after he went down with an injury late in his 2022 Pac-12 Tournament debut, an 84-80 comeback win over Stanford. This season, Kriisa is averaging 10.1 points per game along with 4.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds. He ranked second in the Pac-12 in assists and second in three-pointers made per game at 2.5. He had the 10th triple-double in Arizona history with 21 points (7-10 3FG), 10 rebounds and 10 assists at Utah on Feb. 24.

Thanks in part to Kriisa, UA leads the nation in assists/gm (20.1) assist rate (65.4%) and total rebounds (1,294). The Cats are in the top 10 nationally in the following categories: 2-point FG% defense (2nd), scoring margin (2nd), scoring offense (3rd), field goal pct. (5th), field goal pct. defense (6th), rebound margin (8th), blocked shots/game (9th).

Meanwhile, two marquee programs are right on the NCAA Tournament bubble after upset losses Thursday: Florida of the SEC and Michigan of the Big Ten.

The Gators lost to Texas A&M 83-80 in overtime. Aggies backup guard Hassan Diarra nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 0.4 seconds left in overtime. Diarra’s 3, dropped in the face of a contesting and extended UF defender Kowacie Reeves, ruined a remarkable rally that saw the Gators (19-13) trail by 16 in the first half, by 13 with five minutes to go, by nine with a minute left, seven with 50 seconds to go in regulation, and by three with two minutes left in overtime. I think Florida misses out.

Michigan (17-14) was beating Indiana by 17 points with about 11 minutes left Thursday and somehow lost 74-69. Indiana shot 55.6 percent in the second half and were 4-for-5 from long range as the Hoosiers rallied. Michigan’s near 10-minute scoring drought midway through the second half allowed Indiana to go on a 31-9 scoring run over the final 13 minutes and take the victory. Indiana outscored Michigan, 46-28, in the second half and the Hoosier win snapped a nine-game losing streak to U-M.

The Wolverines probably still get in, although if admitted to the NCAA Tournament, Michigan’s 17-14 record would tie for the third-worst ledger ever for an at-large bid team. The win probably put 19-12 Indiana safely on the right side of the bubble.

“I’m going to pray; prayer warriors are going to be open,” said Coach Juwan Howard. “I’m going to wait on Sunday with my players and see where the chips fall at the end.”

The NCAA Selection Show will air on Sunday on CBS starting at 6 p.m.


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