A new bracket is up and we have new information to work with from the NCAA about how they will make the bracket this March.
The Purdue's Mackey Arena and Assembly Hall at Indiana will host the First Four games on Thursday, March 18. The first-round games in those pods will be played at the same locations on Saturday, March 20, however the second-round games will be played at sites in Indianapolis to be determined on Selection Sunday. The rest of the first round will take place on March 19-20 in Indianapolis, with the second round to follow on March 21-22.on Monday. The tournament will begin two days later than usual.
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The Sweet 16 will be played in Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler and at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the Indiana Pacers, but all games after that will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Final Four is still scheduled for its original dates of April 3 and the national title game on April 5.
As you view my bracket, please note that the graphics do not support showing different locations for first and second round games or for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games.
Bracketology top seeds
There are no changes to the top line of the bracket and the highest rated team to lose was No. 2 seed Iowa, which fell at home to Indiana on Thursday. The Hawkeyes are still a two despite the loss, but the win thrust the Hoosiers into the bracket as a No. 10 seed. Indiana faces No. 7 seed Louisville in first round of the latest bracket projection.
The Pac-12 has struggled to make the NCAA Tournament in recent years and it looks like this season will be no different. The conference has put just seven at-large teams total into the field over the last three seasons and four of those seven appeared in First Four games. For comparison, the Big Ten will almost certainly put more than seven at-large teams in the field by itself this season.
USC and Colorado each took bad losses this week, to Oregon State and Washington respectively, dropping them down the bracket. They are among four at-large teams from the Pac-12 in the bracket Friday, but each are seeded No. 8 or below. Stanford is just outside of the First Four. UCLA has done well despite the loss of second-leading scorer Chris Smith to an injury, but it is hard to imagine a March bracket with more than two or three other Pac-12 teams in it this season.