There are just two days left before the college football season kicks off, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for a never-too-early look at Bracketology. March Madness is a few months away, but we have a preseason projection of the 2023 NCAA Tournament and the field of 68.

The vast majority of teams’ schedules haven’t been released yet, so there could be some errors in the brackets based on games played against potential opponents, but I’m not checking for that in this bracket. That will be decided at the preseason screening in November before the season begins.

But for now, here’s a look at the top seeds in the never-too-early first bracket projection for the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Bracketology’s top seeds

Check out the latest Palm bracket, the full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble in Bracketology Central.

Seed no. 1 overall: Gonzaga (West) – Zags will try to secure for the fifth time a rank no. 1 in the last six NCAA Tournaments. They are bolstered by the return of six of their top eight scorers, including 2022 second-team All-American Drew Timme. They’ve also added 2022 Southern Conference Player of the Year Malachi Smith from Chattanooga. Look for Gonzaga to dominate the West Coast Conference again this season.

Seed no. 2nd overall: Houston (Midwest) – Houston fell one win short of its second consecutive Final Four last season without the services of two of its key players, Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark. They will be back this season to bolster another strong line-up which will be a tough match for everyone. Kelvin Sampson has turned this program into something to be reckoned with and it will be interesting to see how the Cougars fare when they join the Big 12.

Seed no. 3rd overall: North Carolina (East) – The Tar Heels had to get hot at the end of the regular season just to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They came in as the No. 1 seed. 8 and stayed hot, falling just short of the national championship in a loss to Kansas in the title game. Almost all of them have returned to give it another chance. I’m a little suspicious of teams that have made big runs from low seeds, even if they return a lot of players. UCLA went from the First Four to the Final Four in 2021 and was in the top four all the following season. The Bruins finished at No. 4, which is a pretty reasonable jump. North Carolina should come a long way from last season as well.

Seed no. 4th overall: Kentucky (South) – Naismith National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe returns along with Sahvir Wheeler to give coach John Calipari a solid foundation to build on. Sophomore Daimion Collins and senior Jacob Toppin should play more of a role this season, and as usual, another recruiting class will arrive in the top five.

Kentucky brings back its strongest roster in years, can the Wildcats finally make it out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast as Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander discuss UK in our Summer Shootaround series.

The Big Ten Pack

The Big Ten has eight teams in this bracket, the most of any conference, but none are ranked higher than fourth. Rutgers is projected for a second consecutive First Four appearance. Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois and Purdue are all grouped together in what is expected to be a crowded race for the regular season title.

The ACC, Big 12 and SEC each have seven teams in this bracket. Certainly, for the Big 12, this is a larger percentage of its membership than for others.

The Aztecs run all over the country

San Diego State gets a raw deal in this bracket by being sent to Albany, New York, for the first two rounds. This is a journey of over 2,800 miles. Needless to say, it is the farthest place from home for the Aztecs. No other team is traveling further than its fourth-most distant, but that’s life as the No. 16. You get what’s left after the top 15 go into brackets.

As usual, schools cannot play tournament games where they are hosts. This season, that list of schools includes Ohio State (Columbus), Sacramento State, Drake (Des Moines), UCF (Orlando), Louisville and UNLV.

Now, let’s get ready for the start with the warning not far behind!

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