March Madness: NCAA Tournament Picks for Region Winners

By Chris Hughes   March 26, 2024 

March Madness: NCAA Tournament Picks for Region Winners

With all the chalk, it’s not as likely as previous years that your brackets are busted. But if your sheet isn’t as clean as you’d like, the good news is that the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament provides another chance.

With the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds just days away, we’re taking a look at a fresh set of NCAA Tournament picks to give you potential regional final winners and their odds.

East Region: Will Anyone Challenge UConn?

In our NCAAB futures odds update, we asked if anyone could dethrone UConn. Well, if anyone knocks off the Huskies to derail their repeat championship bid, we think it’s more likely to occur in Phoenix not Boston.

The Huskies, who are coming off eight straight tournament wins by double-digits, face San Diego State Thursday night in a rematch of their national title game a year ago.

The Aztecs, a 5-seed a year ago as well, had a memorable Sweet 16 game when they topped No. 1 overall seed Alabama. They have the opportunity to do it again, along with having the experience of playing Connecticut a year ago. The Huskies, however, are too good, and we’re not expecting an upset here.

In the regional final, UConn would face Illinois (the nation’s top offense) or Iowa State (top defense). Don’t expect a great defense to frustrate the Huskies, but a top offense could win a shootout.

East region picks: UConn (-230), Illinois (+600) via FanDuel

Welcome Bonus
Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets If Your Bet Wins
Views (7374)

West Region: Arizona Favored Over No. 1 Seed UNC

West 2-seed Arizona (+110) is slightly favored over 1-seed North Carolina (+180), which may be due to each team’s next game. The Wildcats face 6-seed Clemson, while UNC faces 4-seed Alabama. While a Clemson vs. Alabama regional final would be interesting because it’s a matchup we’ve seen in the College Football Playoff several times, we’re not counting on it. The Crimson Tide can score with the best of them, but UNC can win in so many ways. Tournament veteran Armando Bacot is one of the top big man in the game, which is hard for teams to stop with the way today’s game is played.

Arizona can frustrate a team defensively, but when UNC lost this year, it typically wasn’t because of their offense having trouble. We see the Tar Heels advancing out of this region, but if they don’t? Don’t overlook Clemson, who was the only team to beat Carolina in Chapel Hill this year and are among the trendy NCAA Tournament picks.

West region picks: North Carolina (+180), Clemson (+950)

South Region: Is Houston Vulnerable?

It seemed like Houston had better teams than this in recent NCAA Tournaments and didn’t get the job done. But with two minutes remaining against Texas A&M in the second round on Sunday night, the Cougars looked like they were about to cruise to the Sweet 16. But Houston couldn’t close the Aggies out, allowing them to erase a 7-point deficit in the final minute to send the game to overtime. While Houston survived, were they scarred?

Marquette lost nine times this year, but three alone were to UConn and they have been far better with Tyler Kolek in the lineup. Returning in the NCAA Tournament after missing all of March with an injury, Kolek has already proven to be a difference maker.

Marquette is also in the top 25 in both offense and defense, which has been a predicator for national champions over the past few decades. With a favorable matchup in the Sweet 16 (11-seed North Carolina State) and the best remaining player in the region, look for the Golden Eagles to do what they did in 2003 with Dwyane Wade — ride the star player to the Final Four.

South region picks: Marquette (+200), Duke (+350)

Promo Code Bonus
Up To $500 Free Bets
Views (5724)

Midwest Region: Purdue’s Redemption Tour

Purdue has shown that it shook off the loss to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickenson last year by winning its first two tournament games in 2024 in dominant fashion. Now, things get difficult with 5-seed Gonzaga. The Zags typically aren’t a 5-seed, and they aren’t playing like one either.

While Kansas wasn’t playing its best ball, the Bulldogs easily put the 2022 national champs away and are the No. 1 team in the nation in offensive efficiency over the past month-plus.

On the other side of the bracket, Tennessee and Creighton are playing well, and the Jays used their solid offensive skills to beat Oregon — an 11-seed but one of the hottest teams going into the tournament — in double overtime. That ability to win a tight game in the tournament will help Creighton’s confidence as they look to pull off a couple of upsets in our NCAA Tournament picks.

Midwest region picks: Purdue (+120), Creighton (+450)

Share this story

Read more

First Look at 2025 NCAAB College Basketball Futures Odds: Can Anyone Stop a UConn Three-peat? First Look at 2025 NCAAB College Basketball Futures Odds: Can Anyone Stop a UConn Three-peat?
April 30, 2024
Chris Hughes

First Look at 2025 NCAAB College Basketball Futures Odds: Can Anyone Stop a UConn Three-peat?

In this era of the transfer portal, it’s best to wait a few weeks to let the dust settle before we do our typical early-offseason examination of the following year’s college basketball futures odds. And what a few weeks...

Read more First Look at 2025 NCAAB College Basketball Futures Odds: Can Anyone Stop a UConn Three-peat?
NCAAB Futures Odds Update Prior to Conference Tournaments: Can UConn Repeat? NCAAB Futures Odds Update Prior to Conference Tournaments: Can UConn Repeat?
March 11, 2024
Chris Hughes

NCAAB Futures Odds Update Prior to Conference Tournaments: Can UConn Repeat?

Yes, it’s technically mid-March, but the madness is finally about to pick up. Conference tournaments take place this week. Then after Selection Sunday, it will be time to dance. Sixty-eight teams will have championship dreams, and...

Read more NCAAB Futures Odds Update Prior to Conference Tournaments: Can UConn Repeat?
First Look at 2024 College Basketball Futures Odds: UConn Favored to Repeat as Champs First Look at 2024 College Basketball Futures Odds: UConn Favored to Repeat as Champs
April 8, 2023
Chris Hughes

First Look at 2024 College Basketball Futures Odds: UConn Favored to Repeat as Champs

Connecticut, who wasn’t even on the board to win the 2022-23 national title the day after Kansas won the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball championship, is now favored to cut the nets down again next year. One day after securing their...

Read more First Look at 2024 College Basketball Futures Odds: UConn Favored to Repeat as Champs