The 2022-23 college basketball season has been topsy-turvy with few dominant teams. This past weekend saw a top 5 ranked and the second No. 1 seed in my initial NCAA Tournament Bracketology projections, Alabama, get hammered by Oklahoma (93-67) in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game on Saturday. 


The Big 12 took seven of the 10 matchups to win the conference’s challenge handily. Tennessee, my initial No. 4 overall NCAA Tournament Bracketology seed, picked up one of the SEC’s wins by coasting past Texas 82-71. Purdue and Houston, my other projected top seeds, also won this weekend. 


Bracketology No. 1 Seeds 


Purdue remains my No. 1 overall Tournament seed for a second straight week. Purdue ( 21-1) is slated to play the winner of the No. 16 seed play-in game between the Northeast Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference champion. Fairleigh Dickinson (14-10) holds a game lead over Stonehill for the top spot in the NEC.  Southern (12-10) tops the SWAC, with Alcorn State a game back. 


As a result of Bama’s loss, Houston (20-2) moves up a spot to take the No. 2 overall seed. Houston projects to play the winner of the second No. 16 play-in game between the Southland Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions. Southeast Louisiana (13-9) holds a one-game lead for the top spot in the Southland.  Maryland Eastern Shore (13-8) and Howard (14-10) sit atop the MEAC with a 6-1 league record.    


Tennessee (18-3) also gets bumped up a spot and will face the 64th-rated team in my top-68 squads, slated to be the OVC Tournament champion. UT Martin (15-8), Southeast Missouri State (12-11), and Morehead State (14-9) are all tied for first in the conference with a 7-3 record.


Alabama (18-3) doesn’t fall too far in my ranks, as the Crimson Tide comes in as the fourth No. 1 seed. Alabama will face Vermont (12-10) from the America East. The Catamounts, looking to make back-to-back Big Dance appearances for the first time since the early 2000s, have won four straight to slide past New Hampshire, Binghamton, and UMass-Lowell atop the conference. 


With the top seeds decided, I will examine my four No. 2 seeds. The No. 2 seeds were a lot harder to project and differential than the No. 1 seeds. 


Bracketology No. 2 Seeds 


No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers 16-3

Virginia has to be my top No. 2 seed, as I had them as one of the top other possible No. 1 seeds last week. The Cavaliers are the only team of the four not to lose this week and are coming off a hard-fought 67-62 victory at Syracuse on Monday.

Virginia has won seven straight, each win by five or more points. UVA, which owns a top-10 scoring defense, has quality wins over Baylor, UNC, and Illinois. The Wahoos have a +10.1 scoring margin, with single-digit setbacks against Houston, Miami, and Pitt.

Virginia is 7-2 on the road and 4-3 in Quad I games. As the top No. 2 seed, Virginia projects to face the champion of the Southern Conference. Furman (17-6), UNC Greensboro (14-9), and Samford (14-9) are all 8-2 in conference play. 


No. 6 Arizona Wildcats 19-3

Arizona has reeled off four straight since getting sacked at Oregon by 19 points. While the Wildcats have not shown up in their three setbacks – all by 14 or more points – their Quad 1 victories are tied for second most in the nation with Purdue and Baylor. 

The Wildcats have an explosive offense, averaging nearly 83 points a game which is the 10th most in the nation. The Cats are an excellent shooting team, get to the free-throw line, and share the ball well. Azuolas Tubelis, Oumar Ballo, and Kerr Kriisa leads the way.

Arizona projects to play the Horizon League Champion in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Milwaukee (15-9), Northern Kentucky (14-9), Youngstown State (17-6), and Cleveland State (14-9) have identical 9-3 conference marks.


No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks 17-4

I have Kansas by a “hair on my chinny-chin-chin” over arch-rivals Kansas State for the third No. 2 seed in my Bracketology. However, those teams will be able to decide which team is better on Tuesday night in Lawrence. The Wildcats took an 83-82 decision over the Jayhawks in Manhattan two weeks ago. 

While Kansas lost four straight before defeating Kentucky (77-68) at Rupp on Saturday, the NCAA seeding process takes a big-picture view. KU has a nation-high eight quad I victories, and all four losses are quality setbacks, just two being by double-digits. They are 7-3 in neutral/road games this year and own nonconference victories over Duke, North Carolina State, Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky.

I have Kansas opening tournament play against Big South automatic qualifier UNC Asheville (17-6). UNC Asheville leads Radford by a game in the Big South standings.


No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats 18-3

The Wildcats are one of the surprises of the 2022-23 season under first-year coach Jerome Tang. Tang hit the transfer portal hard and netted Keyontae Johnson, Desi Sills, Camryn Carter, David N’Guessan, Abayomi Iyiola, and Tykei Greene. Johnson is a star, and Markquis Nowell has taken off as a playmaker, averaging 8.2 assists compared to 3.1 turnovers. 

As a result of the additions, K-State typically plays nine players and receives contributions from each of those players. The Wildcats are a good shooting team and a very good passing squad. They also take care of the ball exceptionally well. 

Kansas State is 6-3 away from Manhattan and has five quad I victories. The Wildcats do have a bad loss to Butler by a dozen points. K-State projects to play MAAC automatic qualifier Siena (15-7) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.


Other Teams In Consideration for a No. 2 Seed

My Bracketology has Texas, Xavier, and Gonzaga in the hunt for a top seed.