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Bracketology 2019: Final NCAA tournament projection features a trio of ACC No. 1 seeds

One conference might supply 75 percent of the top line for only the second time ever.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs North Carolina
Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels might have gotten an assist from Auburn in their quest to secure an NCAA Tournament top seed.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this afternoon, I discussed the possible effects of the Auburn Tigers’ dominant 84-64 SEC Tournament championship game win over the Tennessee Volunteers on the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 seed line. As you will see below, the ACC’s Duke Blue Devils (East), Virginia Cavaliers (South) and North Carolina Tar Heels (Midwest) indeed account for three of the four spots on the top line. The fourth remains in the hands of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in this projection, despite the Michigan State SpartansBig Ten Tournament final win over the Michigan Wolverines. This is due in part to the late hour of the game and the Spartans’ questionable losses to Indiana (twice) and Illinois. Plus, Tom Izzo’s squad suffered a loss on the court late in the first half, when swingman Kyle Ahrens went down with a devastating leg injury.

Here’s this season’s final projected bracket. The cut line picture didn’t change, so this morning’s post covering the bubble is still valid.

Note: Auto bid holders in this section are noted by the conference names in parentheses. Arrows indicate movement up or down seed lines relative to this morning’s projection. New entrants are marked with an asterisk. Teams that have clinched bids are in all caps.

1. East (Washington, D.C.)

Columbia, South Carolina (Fri./Sun.)

1. DUKE (ACC) vs. 16. ABILENE CHRISTIAN (Southland)
8. Iowa vs. 9. Baylor

Hartford, Connecticut (Thu./Sat.)

5. AUBURN (SEC) vs. 12. LIBERTY (ASUN)
4. Purdue vs. 13. VERMONT (Am. East)

Tulsa, Oklahoma (Fri./Sun.)

↑6. CINCINNATI (American) vs. 11. Arizona State/Belmont
3. Texas Tech vs. *14. SAINT LOUIS (A 10)

Jacksonville, Florida (Thu./Sat.)

7. WOFFORD (SoCon) vs. 10. SAINT MARY’S (WCC)
2. Kentucky vs. 15. GARDNER-WEBB (Big South)

4. West (Anaheim, California)

Salt Lake City, Utah (Thu./Sat.)

1. Gonzaga vs. 16. FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON (NEC)/PRAIRIE VIEW (SWAC)
8. UTAH STATE (MW) vs. 9. Syracuse

Salt Lake City (Thu./Sat.)

5. VILLANOVA (Big East) vs. 12. NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC)
4. Kansas vs. 13. NORTHEASTERN (CAA)

Hartford (Thu./Sat.)

6. BUFFALO (MAC) vs. 11. Washington/St. John’s
3. Florida State vs. ↓14. OLD DOMINION (C-USA)

Des Moines, Iowa (Thu./Sat.)

7. Nevada vs. 10. Florida
2. Michigan State vs. 15. COLGATE (Patriot)

2. South (Louisville, Kentucky)

Columbus, Ohio (Fri./Sun.)

1. Virginia vs. 16. NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit)/NC CENTRAL (MEAC)
8. Seton Hall vs. 9. Oklahoma

San José, California (Fri./Sun.)

5. IOWA STATE (Big 12) vs. 12. MURRAY STATE (OVC)
4. Wisconsin vs. 13. UC IRVINE (Big West)

Tulsa (Fri./Sun.)

6. Mississippi State vs. 11. TCU
3. Houston vs. 14. MONTANA (Big Sky)

Columbus (Fri./Sun.)

7. Maryland vs. 10. VCU
↓2. Tennessee vs. 15. BRADLEY (MVC)

3. Midwest (Kansas City, Missouri)

Columbia (Fri./Sun.)

↑1. North Carolina vs. 16. IONA (MAAC)
8. Minnesota vs. ↑9. UCF

San José (Fri./Sun.)

5. Kansas State vs. 12. OREGON (Pac-12)
4. Virginia Tech vs. *13. YALE (Ivy)

Jacksonville (Thu./Sat.)

6. Marquette vs. 11. Ohio State
3. LSU vs. 14. GEORGIA STATE (Sun Belt)

Des Moines (Thu./Sat.)

↓7. Louisville vs. 10. Ole Miss
2. MICHIGAN (Big Ten) vs. 15. NORTHERN KENTUCKY (Horizon)

Last Four Byes: VCU, Ole Miss, TCU, Ohio State
Last Four IN: Washington, Arizona State, St. John’s, Belmont
First Four OUT: NC State, Indiana, Texas, Temple
Next Four OUT: Alabama, Lipscomb, UNC Greensboro, Creighton

Bids by Conference: 8 Big Ten, 7 ACC, 7 Big 12, 7 SEC, 4 Big East, 3 American, 3 Pac-12, 2 Atlantic 10, 2 Mountain West, 2 Ohio Valley, 2 West Coast, 21 one-bid conferences

I’ll be back with some bracket reaction after the Selection Show.