We're five days from "Selection Sunday," and here is how we think the 68-team NCAA tournament field will look when it is unveiled that day.
It's important to note that this is a projection of how teams are going to finish, not how the field would look if it were decided today.
[Syracuse probe: Sources: Basketball program repeatedly violated internal drug policy]
Three more teams will nail down NCAA bids on Tuesday, and a fourth bid is possible. There are tourney finals in the Horizon, Summit and Sun Belt, and the Ivy League title also could be decided.
The No. 1 seeds have been eliminated in the Summit and Sun Belt tourneys, which mean potentially the bottom four seeds could be weaker than usual.
One thing to keep in mind is that if Kansas gets a No. 1 seed, it almost certainly would get St. Louis as a regional site. Kentucky seems a certainty to play the first two rounds in Louisville, while Duke and North Carolina seem headed to Greensboro, N.C., for the first two rounds.
If Kentucky, as expected, is seeded No. 1 in the Southeast Region, it would play its Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome, where a majority of the seats would be filled with folks wearing blue.
[Tourney Pick'em: Sign up and play today]
In our projection, teams are grouped by projected seed and listed from strongest to weakest within that seed. At the bottom is a breakdown by league of the number of projected bids and some information on the makeup of the field, the selection committee and the sites.
Remember that this is the second season of a 68-team field. There again will be four play-in games: two involving teams that will be No. 11 or 12 seeds and two involving teams that will be No. 16 seeds. To simplify matters, that's why there are six teams at the Nos. 12 and 16 seedings.
Asterisked teams must win their conference titles to receive an NCAA bid. Teams in bold type have earned automatic bids.
Breakdown by league
10: Big East
7: Big Ten
6: Big 12
4: ACC, Mountain West
3: Atlantic 10, West Coast
2: Colonial, Conference USA, Missouri Valley
1: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Pac-12, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Summit, Sun Belt, Southwestern Athletic, Western Athletic (20)
Notes on makeup of field
• The NCAA uses an "S curve," meaning it ranks all 68 teams in order 1-68, then places them in regions under the theory the top No. 1 seed would have the worst No. 2 seed in its bracket, the worst No. 1 seed would have the top No. 2 seed, etc. The balancing of the regions is the most important factor in seeding the tournament.
• As far as other rules go, teams from the same conference hopefully won't meet until a regional final, but the NCAA has relaxed that because some conferences have six and seven bids (it's even permissible for an intraconference matchup in the second round, though that is to be avoided whenever possible). But the first three teams selected from a given conference must be in different regions.
• Higher-seeded teams should be placed as close to home as possible. No team may play on its home floor, but most sites are "neutral courts" anyway.
• Teams can move up or down a spot or two in the "S-curve," maybe even a seed, to preserve other principles.
• Jeff Hathaway is the chairman of the 10-member NCAA Tournament Selection Committee this season. He retired as AD at Connecticut in August and was hired in October as a consultant to Big East commissioner John Marinatto; had he not been hired by the Big East, Hathaway would've lost his spot on the committee. Each member is selected for a four-year run; this is Hathaway's final season. Former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe lost his spot on the committee when he was forced out by the league in September. Hathaway is one of four members with a "Big Six" affiliation, joining LSU AD Joe Alleva, Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione (he replaced Beebe) and Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman. The other six members: Utah State AD Scott Barnes, Xavier AD Mike Bobinski, Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton, Texas-San Antonio AD Lynn Hickey, SMU AD Steve Orsini and West Coast Conference commissioner Jamie Zaninovich. Hickey is the second woman to serve on the committee, following Charlotte AD Judy Rose (1999-2003).
The four play-in games – one for each region – are March 13 and 14 in Dayton, Ohio.
March 16 and 18 first- and second-round sites are Columbus, Ohio; Greensboro, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Omaha, Neb.
March 22 and 24 regional sites are Boston and Phoenix.
March 23 and 25 regional sites are Atlanta and St. Louis.
The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 in New Orleans, at the Superdome.
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Dan Wetzel: Drug-testing probe into Syracuse hoops reveals why NCAA needs a better rulebook
• Cole: Peyton Manning's workout video likely not enough to convince Colts
• Former MLB star Lenny Dykstra sentenced to three years in a California prison
• GrindTV: Massive avalanche at France resort takes out ski lift with skiers on it