Thursday, April 18, 2024
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2024 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions: March Madness expert picks, winners, upsets, favorites to win

The college basketball season began back in November with more than 360 teams eligible to play their way into the 2024 NCAA Tournament. On Sunday, the field of teams chasing the title officially dropped to 68, as the selection committee revealed the entire 68-team bracket for this year’s March Madness for the first time. Now all that’s left is to make picks.

Our CBS Sports experts did exactly that below. We’ve spent months on end watching, analyzing and projecting teams. We’ve stayed up late to catch games in the Mountain West and Pac-12. We’ve woken up early to grind film and interview players and coaches. We’ve now filled out our brackets below using all that accumulated knowledge in an attempt to help guide you through your own picks.

Think of this as a cheat sheet, if you will. You’re more than welcome to autofill your bracket using my picks — and honestly I wouldn’t blame you, seeing as I won our pool last year — but there’s also no shame in leaning on our brackets as a crutch. Have strong feelings about Purdue but didn’t catch a Nevada game? Curious about what GP thinks about Tennessee’s chances to make the Final Four? You can check out different sections below and get a feel for how we as a team collectively see the bracket before it all busts.

It’s not March without brackets. Get your bracket pools ready now and join our men’s and women’s challenges for the chance to win big-time prizes! 

OK, let’s dive into the good stuff: The brackets. …  

2024 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions

Gary Parrish

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Click to enlarge Gary’s bracket

Watching UConn become the first back-to-back national champion since Florida in 2006 and 2007 would be a blast. And let the record show that the Huskies are the betting-market favorites. So I realize picking against them might prove dumb. But, that acknowledged, I’m going to continue to do what I’ve been doing most of this season and put my faith in the Boilermakers. Wouldn’t that be a great story — Purdue winning the 2024 NCAA Tournament after losing to a No. 16 seed in the opening round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament? Zach Edey holding the championship trophy as a two-time National Player of the Year? Matt Painter shedding his label as the best coach yet to make a Final Four by becoming the first coach to take Purdue to the final weekend of the season since 1980? It’s all such good stuff. Just getting to the Final Four will be challenging considering Tennessee, Creighton and Kansas are also in the MIdwest Region. But I’m still taking the Boilermakers to make it to Arizona. And then, once they get there, I think they’ll win two more games and cut nets on the second Monday in April.

https://sports.cbsimg.net/images/collegebasketball/ncaa-tournament/brackets/printable/parrish24a.pdf

Matt Norlander

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Click to enlarge Matt’s bracket

A locomotive screaming down the tracks. The 31-3 reigning national champions enter this NCAA Tournament as the strongest team with the best chance to repeat of any squad since Florida in 2007. Dan Hurley’s Huskies are led by All-American guard Tristen Newton (15.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.0 apg), who holds the school record for triple-doubles. In the middle is 7-foot-2 “Cling Kong,” Donvan Clingan, a menace of a defender and the type of player you can’t simulate in practice. The Huskies boast the nation’s most efficient offense (126.6 adjusted points per 100 possessions, via KenPom.com) and overwhelm teams in a variety of ways. Sophomore Alex Karaban (39.5%) and senior Cam Spencer (44.4%) are both outstanding 3-point shooters. The Huskies have been beaten by Kansas, Seton Hall and Creighton, but all of those were road games, and there are no more road games left this season. UConn will try to become the fourth No. 1 overall seed to win the national title, joining 2007 Florida, 2012 Kentucky and 2013 Louisville.

Kyle Boone

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Click to enlarge Kyle’s bracket

The antagonistic side of me initially picked Purdue over UConn in the title game. But I sat and thought about it and couldn’t make any reasonable case to pick any team other than UConn as champion. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee the Huskies win it all and become the first repeat champs since Florida in 2007. There’s a lot that can happen in the next few weeks. But they have the electric offense, the guard depth, the size down low, the shooting [takes breath] .. the passing and the pizzazz of a team that’s best in the country and knows it. Every top team in this field has a high level at which they can play but no one has a top gear like UConn.

Get every pick, every play, every upset and fill out your bracket with our help! Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will make and break your bracket, and see who will cut down the nets, all from the model that nailed a whopping 20 first-round upsets by double-digit seeds.

David Cobb

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Click to enlarge David’s bracket

Purdue is set for redemption after an embarrassing 2023 loss to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round. This time around, the Boilermakers are a much better 3-point shooting team and have a more favorable path than No. 1 overall seed UConn. The Huskies were the most dominant team leading up to the Big Dance the East Region bracket is filled with peril.

Jerry Palm

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Click to enlarge Jerry’s bracket

This is not the Purdue you have seen the last few years. Braden Smith has made a big jump from last season to this one. Fletcher Loyer is better. Lance Jones gives Purdue defense, shooting and another ball handler. And Zach Edey is better too. This is a team on a mission. This is the year they accomplish it.

Dennis Dodd

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Click to enlarge Dennis’ bracket

What is there not to like? The Heels won the ACC regular season. They beat Tennessee and swept Duke. RJ Davis is an elite guard and ACC Player of the Year. Hubert Davis has settled in after going to the national championship game in his first season and missing the tournament in his second. This is his best team. There will be/and always is pressure to win it all. 

Armando Bacot is not as dominating as previous. Harrison Ingram (Stanford) and Cormac Ryan (Notre Dame) have been big additions in the portal. The West Region is friendly, assuming here that Alabama and Michigan State don’t get in the way before the regional in L.A. An interesting regional final against Arizona looms. In the end, sometimes you go with chalk. UNC has been to the most Final Fours (21) and No. 1 seeds (18) all-time. It is tied with Kentucky for the most tournament wins ever (131). This is what the Heels do.

Chip Patterson

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Click to enlarge Chip’s bracket

The selection committee set up plenty of stumbling blocks for the reigning champs, placing what I believe to be the best No. 1 seed, the best No. 2 seed (Iowa State), the best No. 3 seed (Illinois) and the best No. 4 seed (Auburn) in the Huskies bracket. And if accomplishing a historic feat like the first back-to-back title runs since 2007 is going to require that kind of epic journey, UConn has every skill and tool needed to make it back to the top of the mountain. UConn can win in all different ways, overwhelming teams with their offense in high-scoring track meets or out-executing the opponent in low-possession grinders, and it has a handful of key contributors who could each step up as needed during a title run.

Cameron Salerno

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Click to enlarge Cameron’s bracket

Defense wins championships. That is part of the reason why I’m picking Houston to win it all. The Cougars have the top-ranked scoring defense in the country and terrific guard play on offense to complement it. Jamal Shead is arguably the best point guard in the nation, and J’wan Roberts is an X-Factor on both ends of the floor. Houston’s path to the Final Four is favorable. The Cougars weren’t able to reach the Final Four in their home state last spring, but this will be the year they run the table and win their first national championship in program history.

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