Who’s ready for a new weekly column?

Between now and Selection Sunday, each Friday I’ll give a “BRACKET BREAKDOWN” with my 68 projected teams for the 2023 NCAA Tournament along with my Top 16 seeds as well as emerging trends.

The team who is currently in first place in their respective conference will be listed as that league’s “automatic qualifier”.

The Current Field

Atlantic Sun (1)
Kennesaw State (AQ)

America East (1)
Vermont (AQ)

American Athletic Conference (2)
Houston (AQ), Memphis

Atlantic 10 (1)

ACC (5)
Miami (AQ), Pitt, Virginia, Duke, NC State

Big 12 (8)
Kansas (AQ), Texas, Baylor, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia, Oklahoma State

Big East (5)
Marquette (AQ), Providence, Xavier, Creighton, UConn

Big Sky (1)
Eastern Washington (AQ)

Big South (1)
UNC Asheville (AQ)

Big Ten (9)
Purdue (AQ), Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana, Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern, Wisconsin

Big West (1)
UC Irvine (AQ)

CAA (1)
Hofstra (AQ)

Conference-USA (1)
Florida Atlantic (AQ)

Horizon League (1)
Youngstown State (AQ)

Ivy League (1)
Yale (AQ)

MAAC (1)
Iona (AQ)

MAC (1)
Toledo (AQ)

MEAC (1)
Howard (AQ)

Missouri Valley (1)
Drake (AQ)

Mountain West (3)
San Diego State (AQ), Boise State, Nevada

NEC (1)
Fairleigh Dickinson  (AQ)

OVC (1)
Morehead State (AQ)

Pac-12 (3)
UCLA (AQ), Arizona, USC

Patriot League (1)
Colgate (AQ)

SEC (8)
Alabama (AQ), Missouri, Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Mississippi State

Southern (1)
Samford (AQ)

Southland (1)
Texas A&M Corpus Christi (AQ)

SWAC (1)
Alcorn State (AQ)

Summit (1)
Oral Roberts (AQ)

Sun Belt (1)
Marshall (AQ)

WCC (2)
Saint Mary’s (AQ), Gonzaga

WAC (1)
Utah Valley (AQ)

First Four Out

North Carolina, New Mexico, Penn State, Arizona State

Top 16 Seeds

1: Alabama, Kansas, Purdue, Houston
2: Texas, UCLA, Baylor, Arizona
3: Kansas State, Marquette, Virginia, Tennessee
4: Iowa State, Gonzaga, Indiana, UConn

Five Things To Know

  • UCLA (24-4) improved to third in the NET after Thursday’s win at Utah. The Bruins now have six Quad 1 wins and will have an opportunity to earn another on Sunday at Colorado. 
  • UConn (21-7) — who is projected as a No. 4 seed in the bracket above — is trending towards being one of the top seeds in the East Region. That means games in Albany during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and if it advances, Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games at Madison Square Garden. That’s significant.  
  • Two of North Carolina’s final three regular season games — a pair of home games against Virginia and Duke — will be Quad 1 opportunities. The Tar Heels currently do not own a Quad 1 win. 
  • No bubble team has a better chance to move the needle down the stretch than Arizona State (19-9). The Sun Devils will visit Arizona on Saturday and then travel to both USC and UCLA next weekend in Los Angeles.
  • I’ll say it again: The First Four should feature the final eight at-large teams in the bracket which would allow all mid-majors who earn an automatic qualifier the ability to immediately start the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 64. This would add for significantly better matchups to kick off the event on Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week in Dayton. 

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and a contributor to the CBS Broadcast Network since 2016. He joined FanDuel in 2022 as a Content Creator. Rothstein is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks.