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2021 March Madness Bracketology: Best Free Picks & Full Predictions
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The East is one of the most top-heavy regions in my estimation with Michigan being the second-best overall seed in the tournament and Alabama among the best two seeds. There are a couple of spots where I think there could be early upsets. While I like this Texas team and backed them heavily in the Big 12 Tournament, I think their potential second round matchup with BYU is a spot where the Longhorns might be outclassed. I expect the spread on this game to be close to a pick ’em, though my own power rankings would have BYU slightly favored.
I don’t think this is a spot where you want to go against the grain in the later rounds. Top seeds Michigan and Alabama should advance to the Elite 8. I love this Alabama team and could see them pulling off an upset, but Michigan is the more complete team and I have them representing the East in the Final Four.
Gonzaga has a clear path to the Final Four here and likely the title game. They are one of the best overall number one seeds of all-time this season and at least one tier above every other team in the field. I do normally advocate for picking a team that won’t be the most popular pick to win the tournament, however, it feels like you are losing equity if you aren’t slotting Gonzaga in to at least your Final Four.
My biggest upset pick this year comes in the West, picking Ohio to win over a Virginia team I think the Bobcats match up with well. I also like Creighton and USC to make the Sweet 16.
I can see some upsets coming out of this region despite not picking many. Villanova, Purdue, Texas Tech, or Wisconsin could all easily go further than I have them and I would not be shocked. I don’t think this Baylor team is that much better than any of those contenders and while I do have them going to the Elite 8, I don’t think they advance past that point and I’d be prepared for them to lose earlier as the weakest of the #1 seeds this season.
I don’t have any early upsets pegged in this part of the bracket, but I think the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 here will be the most diverse in terms of seeds you wouldn’t expect to be there.
If it weren’t for this season’s Gonzaga team, I’d have Illinois cutting down the nets at the end of the season. I love how they finished in the Big Ten tournament, running the gauntlet against the best conference in basketball this season. The Midwest also has one of the most exciting teams in the tournament in Houston, a team I expect a lot of people to pick to go to the Final Four. Not a bad pick by any means, I just don’t think they can beat Illinois.
In the first round I’m taking all the favorites here, but I do like San Diego State and Tennessee to make the Sweet 16 over better-seeded teams.
Help With Your Final Four/National Champion Game Bracket Predictions
As you know, anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament. You don’t want to ignore conventional wisdom completely, but you also need to make some picks that not many other people are going to be willing to make. Pick your upsets early and keep them in the first few rounds. Or don’t. It’s your bracket and I’d be lying if I said I had a better chance than you at winning. Hopefully my picks will help inform your decisions and I think I’ve made the best possible picks in each round, I’ve just been around long enough to know that the tournament is the ultimate equalizer in terms of skill as so many experts will end up being dead-wrong about their evaluations. Best of luck!
More NCAA Basketball Tournament Suggestions For Picking Your Bracket
- Blank Tournament Bracket PDF
- Bracket Tips & Tricks
- List of Contests & Pools to Enter
- Odds of Being Perfect
- Guide to Winning Your Pool
- Percent Winners by Seed
- Rare Top Seeds Underperform
- Furthest Each Seed Has Gone
- Weakest Seed to Make the Final Four
- Mid-Majors as Top Seeds
- Tournament Trends to Be Aware Of
- Consensus Bracket Predictions from Experts