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Athlon Sports' 2014-15 NCAA Tournament Predictions

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Athlon Sports would be the first to tell you to sit back and enjoy the college basketball regular season from start to finish.

But let’s face it: The big prize — the only prize, it seems — is the NCAA Tournament. And that’s part of the excitement of the season. Essentially every team has a chance to play in the championship event. Finish in last place in your conference? You’ve got the conference tournament to remedy a lost season.

For us, bracketology starts early. Here’s our first projection of the field of 68.

Seed

South

Midwest

West

East

1

Kentucky

Wisconsin

Arizona

Duke

2

Florida

Wichita State

North Carolina

Kansas

3

Louisville

Texas

Nebraska

Villanova

4

Virginia

Iowa State

Michigan State

San Diego State

5

Colorado

Gonzaga

VCU

Ohio State

6

Harvard

Michigan

Syracuse

Stanford

7

SMU

Arkansas

UCLA

Utah

8

Illinois

Oklahoma

Kansas State

UConn

9

Georgia State

LSU

Cincinnati

Georgetown

10

Florida State

Pittsburgh

Dayton

Iowa

11

Rhode Island

Memphis

UNLV

NC State

12

Louisiana Tech

Xavier

Notre Dame/Northern Iowa

BYU/George Washington

13

Belmont

New Mexico State

Green Bay

Akron

14

Northeastern

Stephen F. Austin

UC Irvine

Iona

15

Stony Brook

Coastal Carolina

Wofford

American

16

St. Francis (NY)/Weber State

IPFW/Ark.-Pine Bluff

NC Central

Florida Gulf Coast

NCAA bids by conference

ACC (9): Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia, Syracuse, Florida State, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

American (4): SMU, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Memphis

Atlantic 10 (4): VCU, Dayton, Rhode Island, George Washington

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma

Big East (3): Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier

Big Ten (7): Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa

Mountain West (2): San Diego State, UNLV

Pac-12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, Stanford, UCLA, Utah

SEC (4): Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, LSU

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

One-bid conferences

America East (Stony Brook), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Weber State), Big Sky (Coastal Carolina), Big West (UC Irvine), Colonial (Northeastern), Conference USA (Louisiana Tech), Horizon (Green Bay), Ivy (Harvard), MAAC (Iona), MAC (Akron), MEAC (NC Central), Northeast (St. Francis Brooklyn), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (American), Southern (Wofford), Southland (Stephen F. Austin), Summit (IPFW), Sun Belt (Georgia State), SWAC (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), WAC (New Mexico State)