Believe it or not, we are just under two months away from the most exciting four weeks in sports. The opening round starts on March 15, and with conference play well under way, it's time for the way to early projections to begin. Over the next couple months, meltdowns will occur and underdogs will rise, so take these predictions with a grain of salt.
SB Nation's Blogging The Bracket (Updated 1/11/11)
SB Nation's own bracketology site checks in first with their projected bracket. Gonzaga, Washington State, and Washington all check in this bracket, along with one other Pac-10 team (Arizona). This bracket also features USC as one of the last four teams out of the tournament.
If this bracket holds true: Washington basketball fans can buy their ticket to Tampa and enjoy both Gonzaga and Washington in the same day. People making that long trip would also get to see a northwest matchup between Boise State and Washington in a location about as far away from the northwest you can get.
CBS Sports: Jerry Palm (Updated 1/11/11)
This one, again, has three Pac-10 teams in, but it features Arizona as one of the last four in. Because of this, Arizona would be one of the first victims of the NCAA Tournament's new play in games for four twelfth seeded teams. Again, all three major Washington teams make the cut.
If this bracket holds true: We get to see a Cougar-Bulldog rematach in the Elite Eight matchup in San Antonio... Maybe. Both Gonzaga and Washington get hosed here playing as an eight or nine seed, meaning that even if they win, they run into the number one seed in the next round. This is, by far, the lowest Washington is projected in any bracket
ESPN: Joe Lunardi (Updated: 1/10/11)
Joe seems to have a little more love for the Pac-10. Four teams from the Pac-10 are in, according to Joe Lunardi, and UCLA is one of the last eight out. Lunardi's projection gives predictions on who he thinks will win the conferences, giving nods to Washington, but choosing St. Mary's over Gonzaga for the WCC crown.
If this bracket holds true: This is the best case scenario for the Huskies. They are a five seed playing on the west coast, before, hopefully, playing in the Sweet Sixteen in California. While this is good news for Washington, both Gonzaga and Washington State have a long road trip ahead of them.