The field has been set and there’s just a few days to get your picks in before the games start. If you are a picker who is struggling with filling out your bracket, I’m here to help. Not only am I one of the best predictors around, but each year I give out my expert recommendations on the tournament at no cost.
2017 March Madness Bracketology: Best Free Picks & Full Predictions
Here’s a region by region breakdown of my full 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket. Click here to view my printable bracket for March Madness.
East Region Recommendations
Let’s start things off with the East Region, where No. 1 overall seed Villanova resides. Not exactly a great draw for the Wildcats, but I like them to win their first three games. After that, I think they hit a road block and lose to No. 2 seed Duke.
I don’t think I’ll be alone with taking the Blue Devils to make it to Glendale. Duke comes into the Big Dance fresh off a surprising ACC Title, becoming the first win the ACC Tournament by winning 4 games in 4 days. Keep in mind this is the team that a lot experts had ranked No. 1 in the country going into the season.
As far as the rest of the bracket in the East, I have a lot of chalk advancing. In fact, the only upset I have is No. 10 Marquette taking out No. 7 South Carolina.
The No. 1 seed in the West is Gonzaga. There was a lot of controversy over whether the Bulldogs deserved this spot. I was one who didn’t think they should be a No. 1 seed. I just don’t believe that if Gonzaga played in a Power 5 conference they would be in the discussion.
Outside of their opener against No. 16 South Dakota State, I think the Bulldogs could go down at any moment. I’ll play the odds and call for them to make the Sweet 16, but that’s as far as I got them. I have No. 5 Notre Dame taking them down to reach the Elite 8. Note that I would also take No. 4 West Virginia over Gonzaga if you want to mix it up.
Only a couple other minor upsets in the West. I have No. 9 Vanderbilt defeating No. 8 Northwestern and No. 10 VCU knocking off No. 7 Saint Mary’s.
The No. 1 seed in the Midwest is Kansas. The Jayhawks got bounced early in the Big 12 Tournament due to one of their best players being suspended (Josh Jackson). That was just a one-game deal, so don’t hit the panic button. I really like this Kansas team, which has wins over Duke and Kentucky, outside of another Big 12 title.
I like a lot of the teams in this region, but I don’t think any of them will be able to keep the Jayhawks out of the Final Four.
My first real big upset comes in the Midwest and it’s two for the price of one with No. 11 seed Rhode Island. I have the Rams taking out No. 6 Creighton in their opener and following it up with an upset of No. 3 Oregon to reach the Sweet 16.
The Ducks were a team I had planned on picking to go deep in my bracket. However, the injury to Chris Boucher is a huge blow to Oregon and their chances of making a deep run.
The top seed in the South is North Carolina. Some wondered if the Tar Heels would stay a No. 1 seed after their loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament. I don’t think that defeat will be a problem at all for this team. Had Joel Berry not got in foul trouble they likely would have beat the Blue Devils.
Regardless of that, I believe that North Carolina is the best team in the country. They should have no problem reaching the Sweet 16, but it could get interesting in the Elite 8.
There’s a good chance they meet up against either No. 2 Kentucky or No. 3 UCLA. The big key for me is this game will come with both teams on 1-day rest. UNC will have the much easier first game, as Kentucky will have to take on UCLA. I think that’s the difference maker.
Enough about the top seeds, let’s look at some upset picks in the South. I have three on the card.
The first is a popular pick in your classic No. 12 over a No. 5. I got Middle Tennessee State taking out Minnesota. It doesn’t stop there for the Blue Raiders. I have them following it up with a win over No. 4 Butler.
I also have the winner of the play in game between No. 11 Kansas State and No. 11 Wake Forest. I believe the team that comes out on top will knock off No. 6 Cincinnati. The other one is No. 10 Wichita State over No. 7 Dayton.
Help With Your Final Four/National Champion Game Bracket Predictions
As you are aware, I got No. 2 Duke vs No. 2 Arizona and No. 1 Kansas vs No. 1 North Carolina in the Final Four.
Trying to decide which of these four teams will cut down the nets was no easy task. You can make a strong case for each of them and it wouldn’t surprise if any of the four won it all. With that said, I have to go with North Carolina. I have them narrowly escaping Kansas and taking down Arizona in the title game.
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