NCAA Tournament bracketology: Expect the Big Ten to have the most bids and best seeding
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The Big Ten Conference is poised to win Selection Sunday. 

Following Indiana's double-overtime victory over Northwestern on Wednesday, the Hoosiers leapfrogged Connecticut to steal one of the last spots in the projected bracket, shoving the Huskies to the wrong side of the bubble. 

That gives the Big Ten nine projected teams in the field of 68 – more than any other conference. The league also has four teams in the NET top 10. The NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) is one of the rankings the selection committee uses to determine the bracket.

Because of the strength of the league, it won't just be bubble teams benefiting. Michigan would have to go on a disastrous skid to lose its current stranglehold on a No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, Ohio State and Illinois are out front on the No. 2 seeds with Iowa close behind at a No. 3 seed. With Wisconsin as a projected No. 5 seed, that gives the Big Ten five teams ready to notch top-five seeds. 

Selection Sunday is March 14. The NCAA Tournament kicks off March 18.

lllinois center Kofi Cockburn (21) celebrates with guard Da'Monte Williams (20) and guard Ayo Dosunmu (11) during the second half against Wisconsin at State Farm Center. (Photo: Patrick Gorski, USA TODAY Sports)

No. 1 seeds:

Baylor, Gonzaga, Michigan, Villanova. 

Last four in:

San Diego State, VCU, Stanford, Indiana. 

First four out:

Richmond, Seton Hall, St. John's, Connecticut. 

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Others considered for at-large bids (no particular order):  Maryland, Wichita State, Western Kentucky, Memphis, SMU, Dayton, Davidson, Pittsburgh, St. John's, North Carolina State, Penn State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Nevada  

On life support: Duke, TCU, Marquette, Providence, Marshall, Utah, Arizona State, Oregon State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas A&M, St. Mary's, San Francisco

Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (9), Big 12 (7), ACC (6), SEC (6), Pac-12 (5), Big East (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), MVC (2), WCC (2).    

Leaders or highest NET from projected one-bid conferences – (21 total): AAC – Houston, America East – UMBC, Atlantic Sun – Liberty, Big Sky – Montana State, Big South – Winthrop, Big West – UCSB, CAA – Northeastern, C-USA – UAB, Horizon – Cleveland State, MAAC – Siena, MAC – Toledo, MEAC – Morgan State, Northeast – Bryant, OVC – Belmont, Patriot – Navy, Southern – Furman, Southland – Sam Houston, SWAC – Prairie View A&M, Summit – South Dakota, Sun Belt – Texas State, WAC – Grand Canyon.

  • Banned from participating: Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Delaware State, Auburn, Arizona 
  • Transition schools, ineligible for the tournament: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack, Dixie State, Tarleton State, Bellarmine, UC San Diego   
  • COVID-19: Ivy League, Bethune-Cookman, Maryland-Eastern Shore

Note: Mostly all statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com. The NCAA's NET rankings are also a reference point. 

About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his eighth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past seven March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson

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