2024 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions: March Madness expert picks, favorites to win, Sweet 16, upsets

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We are halfway through the the first half of the Sweet 16 schedule as the NCAA Tournament action picked back up on Thursday and continues into Friday when a final 12 teams will be whittled down to eight by the end of the night as we gear up for the penultimate weekend of the college basketball season.

Buckle up, because if your bracket hasn’t already completely busted, March Madness has seemingly found a way to rectify that. No. 6 seed Clemson’s win Thursday night over No. 2 seed Arizona certainly did it for me, knocking out one of my Final Four teams. So if that happened for you, just take solace in the fact that you are not alone.

Our CBS team hasn’t been perfect thus far, but I’ll toot our horns here: we’ve been pretty darn good. As you can see in scanning our expert brackets below, each of us still have our champion pick in the hunt as we prep for the last cutdown of the Sweet 16 on Friday. You can also find all our picks against the spread here.

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

2024 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions

Click each bracket to enlarge.

Gary Parrish

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.

Matt Norlander

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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