Last year, Katz filed almost a dozen bracket predictions throughout the season. In his final prediction before Selection Sunday, he got 67 of the 68 teams correct.
He also filled out a preseason bracket in September, 50 days before opening night last fall, and one in early December, roughly 100 days from Selection Sunday.
Let's take a look at where Katz projects this year's tournament field about halfway into the regular season, and about two months from Selection Sunday. (Tap or click here to to open the bracket in a new window.)
We already knew the 2019-20 season was volatile with six different teams holding the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll so far this season but Andy Katz's latest bracket projection reinforces that notion. All four No. 1 seeds have changed since his last bracket projection in early December.
Gone are Michigan, Louisville, Kansas and Virginia. Replacing them are Baylor, Duke, Butler and Gonzaga.
Get this: two of the projected No. 1 seed in Katz's latest bracket have never been a No. 1 seed. Baylor has been a No. 3 seed four times, most recently in 2017, and Butler has been a projected seed (a top-four seed) just once when the Bulldogs were a No. 4 seed, also in 2017.
So while Duke was the No. 1 overall seed last season and Gonzaga was also the top seed in its region in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the 2020 NCAA Tournament could potentially have two newcomers, plus two familiar faces, on the No. 1 seed line, which is exciting.
Another story line is that the Midwest Regional, where Katz currently has Butler as the No. 1 seed in the region, is being held in Indianapolis — Butler's hometown. The 'Dawgs made history in 2010 with their national runner-up finish in Indy, so could they make another Final Four run 10 years later while playing critical tournament games in the same city?
Baylor, one of Katz's projected No. 1 seeds, climbed 13 spots from the last bracket projection in early December and the Bears can thank last week's road sweep of Texas Tech and Kansas as a major reason why. Their climb from a projected No. 4 seed to a No. 1 seed was impressive but that's nothing compared to Butler's climb from No. 37 on Katz's last seed list (a No. 10 seed) to No. 3.
That's an improvement from a potential bubble team to one of the best teams in the country. Impressive stuff.
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Here are the teams that made the biggest jumps from Katz's last seed line projections to his latest one, starting with notable schools that weren't projected to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament in December's bracket projection:
Since the Beavers earned a No. 5 seed in the 1990 NCAA Tournament, they've made the tournament just once, in 2016 in the second year of current head coach Wayne Tinkle's tenure. So if Oregon State were to squeak into the tournament and play in the First Four, that would be a huge deal in Corvallis.
Andy Wittry has written for Stadium, SI.com, Sporting News, the Indianapolis Star, Louisville Courier-Journal and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He is a graduate of Indiana University. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyWittry.
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