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Men’s College Basketball Tournament 2024 bracket predictions

The long and grueling college basketball season is nearly complete and that means that March Madness is almost upon us. 

Selection Sunday takes place on March 17, kicking off what should be yet another NCAA Tournament filled with terrific matchups, upsets galore and memorable moments. 

With the NCAA tournament less than three weeks away, projecting and predicting what the bracket will look like is a huge point of discussion. Let’s get into projecting the top 16 teams that will be 1, 2, 3 or 4 seeds in the Big Dance. 

1 Seeds


There is much debate about who the #1 overall seed in the tournament will be, but the Houston Cougars fit the bill when considering the NET and most metrics. 

Houston has adapted to life in the Big 12 without blinking, as Kelvin Sampson’s team is well on its way to capturing the Big 12 regular season title in its inaugural season in this extremely difficult league. All that’s left for the Cougars to prove is a run to the Final Four. 


Could this be the year that Purdue exercises its past NCAA Tournament demons? 

There’s a lot of work to do for Matt Painter’s group after losing to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson a season ago, but with Zach Edey playing at an extremely high level plus improved play from their veteran guards, the Boilermakers are primed for a deep run in March.


The defending National Champions have looked the part for the majority of the season, even as the Huskies have battled some injury concerns at the onset of Big East play. 

It remains to be seen if the Huskies can repeat in March, but this team has yet to be bogged down by any bad losses in conference play like some of the other contenders across the nation. That bodes well going forward. 


Things have not gone according to plan for the Wildcats in Pac-12 play, yet they still find themselves in a position to capture a #1 seed heading into the final weeks of the season. 

Tommy Lloyd’s group has an explosive offense with plenty of talent up and down the lineup, but it remains to be seen if they can be consistent enough to string together great performances in March.

2 Seeds


Even with Rick Barnes’ checkered history in the NCAA Tournament, this Tennessee team looks great on paper. 

Led by senior guard Dalton Knecht, the Vols are likely going to win a very difficult SEC and boast one of the best defenses in the nation. There’s a lot to like about this team heading into March.

North Carolina

North Carolina hasn’t been perfect this season, but this year’s team might truly have the goods to take home the National Championship. 

RJ Davis and Armando Bacot are having excellent seasons and the scoring depth on this team closely resembles what the Tar Heels had during their Final Four run two seasons ago. The Tar Heels are a worthy #2 seed.


This has been one of the better coaching jobs from Bill Self during his tenure at Kansas, but that might not be enough. 

The Jayhawks have real injury concerns, with senior forward Kevin McCullar likely to miss the rest of the regular season. There’s also a major depth issue on the team, as Kansas relies heavily on its starters to produce at a very high level on a nightly basis. That formula can’t be trusted in March. 


Shaka Smart’s team is hungry for a deep NCAA Tournament run and they’ll have a shot in every game with Tyler Kolek running the show for their top-20 offense. 

The Golden Eagles have impressive victories over a couple of fellow contenders this season, but they’re also a team that doesn’t perform as well when heavy expectations are placed upon them in March (see last season). 

3 Seeds


Alabama score the most points per game in the nation and they allow the 19th-most points out of 362 Division I basketball programs. They play at a rapid pace under head coach Nate Oats and shoot the fourth-most three-pointers in the nation, attempting 30.5 per game and making them at a 38.1 percent clip, the 14th-best in the nation.

Iowa State

Iowa State is almost the inverse of Alabama. The Cyclones are arguably the second-best defense in the nation, only trailing Houston in that department. However, there are serious questions to be had about Iowa State offensively, especially in an NCAA Tournament setting. 


The Bluejays have all of the pieces to make a deep run in March, just like a season ago. The guard play is there, the interior defense is present with Ryan Kalkbrenner patrolling the paint and the coaching is there with Greg McDermott at the helm. The only thing left for Creighton to do is finish the job once the Bluejays reach the second weekend.


This isn’t a vintage Duke team, but the Jon Scheyer-coached Blue Devils still have some trademarks of a team that could find itself in the Final Four. 

Duke has a top 10 offense and a top 25 defense per KenPom, plus a head coach that should be more comfortable in the NCAA Tournament in his second season. Like most teams, their fate will likely depend on how the matchups shake out. 

4 Seeds


The Baylor Bears are another team that boasts a terrific offense with three-point shooting galore around the perimeter. However, the Bears’ defense has been an issue all season long, and that can’t be ignored in a single elimination setting like the NCAA Tournament.

Scott Drew does have a great track record in March, so we’ll see how he can galvanize his team in the Big Dance this time out.


If every game was played on campus, the Auburn Tigers would probably be in the conversation to win the NCAA Tournament. However, seeing as that’s not the case, it’s hard to trust Bruce Pearl’s team given that they haven’t shown an ability to knock off a quality opponent away from home this season.


Illinois is a strange case. On paper, this is a team that has all of the tools to make a deep run in March, but something just feels off. Maybe it’s a defense that ranks 94th in adjusted efficiency per KenPom, maybe it’s Brad Underwood’s poor track record in March. The Fighting Illini turn the ball over more than they take it away, and they don't rank in the top-100 in steals or blocks.

San Diego State

Last season’s runner-up is in position to make another deep tournament run thanks to a grueling Mountain West Conference schedule this January and February. 

When backing San Diego State, you know that you’ll be getting a disciplined, well-coached team that’s elite defensively and significantly improved on offense this season. That’s a very dangerous combination to look out for as the Big Dance nears.

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