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.
2018 March Madness Bracketology: Best Free Picks & Full Predictions
Here’s a region by region breakdown of my full 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket. Click here to view my printable bracket for March Madness.
Let’s start things off with the South Region, where No. 1 overall seed Virginia resides. The Cavaliers should have no problem reaching the Sweet 16, but reaching the Elite 8 is no sure thing. With either No. 4 Kentucky or No. 5 Arizona likely awaiting them.
I know Virginia has disappointed in years past and many will have them losing here, I think this year’s team is poised to do big things.
The bottom half of the bracket doesn’t exactly get the blood flowing. I think we will see an upset early with No. 11 Loyola-Illinois taking down Miami (FL), but I got No. 2 Cincinnati and No. 3 Tennessee facing off in the Sweet 16.
I’m going to take the minor upset with the Volunteers, who I then have losing in the Elite 8 to Virginia.
The No. 1 seed in the West is Xavier and there’s plenty of debate on whether they deserved to be a top seed. I think the Musketeers will be up to the challenge, at least early on, as I have them reaching the Sweet 16 and advancing to the second week of action. However, I think the party ends there for Xavier, as I have them going down to No. 4 Gonzaga.
There is one big upset on the board in the top half of this region and that’s No. 12 South Dakota taking down No. 5 Ohio State in your classic 12 vs 5 matchup.
The bottom half of the West is up in the air. No. 2 seed North Carolina will be the popular choice, but I’m not as big on the Tar Heels as others. I think the team to watch out for is No. 3 Michigan, who really came on strong down the stretch and carried over that momentum to win the Big Ten Tournament.
That leaves No. 4 Gonzaga and No. 3 Michigan to battle it out for a spot in the Final Four. I think it’s pretty much a toss up, but I do give the slight edge to the Wolverines and have them headed to San Antonio.
The No. 1 seed in the East is Villanova. The Wildcats appear to have a pretty easy path to the Elite 8. That’s not to say No. 4 Wichita St or No. 5 West Virginia couldn’t knock them off, I just don’t see it happening.
I think we have a very similar story in the bottom half of this region, as I think No. 2 Purdue is a good bet to avoid going home early. I have the Boilermakers taking out No. 10 Butler and No. 3 Texas Tech on their way to the Elite 8.
The only big upset I see unfolding in the East is the winner of the play-in game between No. 11 UCLA and No. 11 St. Bonaventure taking down No. 6 Florida. While I didn’t pull the trigger, I another potential upset that I almost took was No. 14 Stephen F. Austin over No. 3 Texas Tech.
When the dust settles, I think it will be No. 1 seed Villanova who punches their ticket to the Final 4.
The last region to cover is the Midwest and it’s absolutely loaded at the top. On the top half of the bracket you have No. 1 seed Kansas and on the bottom half you have No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Michigan State. You could make a good argument for any of the three making it to San Antonio.
You might think the Jayhawks have it easy, but that second round matchup against either No. 8 Seton Hall or No. 9 NC State is a scary matchup. I also think No. 5 Clemson is a team that’s capable of going on a run and making the Elite 8. With all that said, I think Kansas has the pieces and are playing well enough to win their first 3 games.
As far as how the bottom half of the bracket will play out, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to pencil in Duke and Michigan State for an epic Sweet 16 showdown. I went back and forth here on whether to take the Blue Devils or Spartans, before ultimately siding with Duke
Enough about the top seeds, let’s look at some upset picks in the Midwest.
I think there are two upsets looming in the bottom half. I got No. 10 Rhode Island taking out No. 7 Oklahoma, who I think didn’t even deserve to be in the field. The other is the winner of the play-in game between No. 11 Syracuse and No. 11 Arizona State taking out No. 6 TCU.
Help With Your Final Four/National Champion Game Bracket Predictions
As you can see, my Final 4 picks for 2018 are No. 1 Virginia (South), No. 3 Michigan (West) No. 1 Villanova (East) and No. 2 Duke (Midwest).
The first matchup we will look at is the Cavaliers vs the Wolverines. As much as I like how Michigan is playing right now, I think this Virginia team is the real deal and will head to the title game.
The other matchup has the Wildcats taking on the Blue Devils, in what should be quite a showdown. I give the slight edge to Villanova, but really wouldn’t be surprised to see Duke reach the finals.
That leaves Villanova to take on Virginia for the right to cut down the nets. I think these two teams are very evenly matched, but I’m all-in on the Cavaliers and they are my pick to win it all this season.
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