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Bracket projection: Jan. 30

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As is almost always the case, the middle of a projected NCAA tournament field is starting to take shape by the end of January. The No. 9 and No. 10 seeds now have increasingly tourney-like profiles, while the final half-dozen or slots remain a fluid situation and subject to erratic changes.

For example, Notre Dame – a team with basically no nonconference profile to speak of – beat Seton Hall and Connecticut this week to vault into the field. The Irish were a complete afterthought a week ago.

Those sorts of leaps will be harder to come by deep into February, let alone in early March. But for the moment, it’s more than plausible.

Here’s the full 68-team projection for the week:

EAST REGION

Pittsburgh

(1) BIG EAST/Syracuse vs. (16) BIG SOUTH/UNC Asheville-AMERICA EAST/Stony Brook
(8) Temple vs. (9) Memphis

Portland

(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) SUN BELT/Middle Tennessee
(5) WEST COAST/Saint Mary’s vs. (12) Iowa State

Nashville

(3) Florida vs. (14) SOUTHERN/Davidson
(6) San Diego State vs. (11) BIG WEST/Long Beach State

Omaha

(2) Missouri vs. (15) PATRIOT/Bucknell
(7) Virginia vs. (10) Purdue

SOUTH REGION

Louisville

(1) SOUTHEASTERN/Kentucky vs. (16) NORTHEAST/Long Island
(8) Wichita State vs. (9) PAC-12/California

Nashville

(4) Michigan vs. (13) SUMMIT/Oral Roberts
(5) Louisville vs. (12) Mississippi/Saint Louis

Omaha

(3) BIG 12/Kansas vs. (14) MID-AMERICAN/Akron
(6) Gonzaga vs. (11) Colorado State

Greensboro

(2) ATLANTIC COAST/Duke vs. (15) COLONIAL/George Mason
(7) Illinois vs. Seton Hall

MIDWEST REGION

Pittsburgh

(1) Ohio State vs. (16) BIG SKY/Weber State
(8) Connecticut vs. (9) New Mexico

Portland

(4) MISSOURI VALLEY/Creighton vs. (13) ATLANTIC 10/Massachusetts
(5) Vanderbilt vs. (12) Notre Dame/Washington

Louisville

(3) Georgetown vs. (14) METRO ATLANTIC/Iona
(6) Florida State vs. (11) Dayton

Albuquerque

(2) Baylor vs. (15) ATLANTIC SUN/Belmont
(7) Mississippi State vs. (10) Minnesota

WEST REGION

Greensboro

(1) North Carolina vs. (16) SWAC/Mississippi Valley State-SOUTHLAND/Texas-Arlington
(8) Kansas State vs. (9) CONFERENCE USA/Southern Mississippi

Columbus

(4) Marquette vs. (13) WESTERN ATHLETIC/Nevada
(5) Indiana vs. (12) IVY/Harvard

Albuquerque

(3) MOUNTAIN WEST/UNLV vs. (14) HORIZON/Cleveland State
(6) OHIO VALLEY/Murray State vs. (11) Xavier

Columbus

(2) BIG TEN/Michigan State vs. (15) MID-EASTERN/Norfolk State
(7) West Virginia vs. (10) Alabama

Last four in: Washington, Saint Louis, Mississippi, Notre Dame
First four out: Arkansas, Oregon, Northwestern, N.C. State
Next four out: Cincinnati, Miami, Texas, Brigham Young

Conference call: Big East (8), Big Ten (8), SEC (6), Atlantic 10 (5), Big 12 (5), ACC (4), Mountain West (4), Conference USA (2), Missouri Valley (2), Pac-12 (2), West Coast (2)

Patrick Stevens

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