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.
2019 March Madness Bracketology: Best Free Picks & Full Predictions
Here’s a region by region breakdown of my full 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket. Click here to view my printable bracket for March Madness.
Let’s start things off with the East Region, where No. 1 overall seed Duke resides. Any concern with the Blue Devils and the injury to Zion Williamson was put to rest when he returned and guided Duke to the ACC Tournament title.
No disrespect to the other 17 teams in this region (two play-in games), but no way am I not taking Duke to make the Final Four. I have the Blue Devils taking down No. 9 UCF, No. 4 Virginia Tech and No. 2 Michigan State after they dismantle whoever wins the play-in game between No. 16 seeds North Carolina Central and North Dakota State.
As far as how I see the rest of the East playing out, I do have a couple of upsets on the board in the bottom half of the region. I got No. 10 Minnesota taking down No. 7 Louisville and I’m rolling the dice with the winner of the No. 11 matchup between Temple/Belmont to knock off No. 6 Maryland and No. 3 LSU to reach the Sweet 16.
The No. 1 seed in the West is Gonzaga, who will be looking to recreate some of that magic from 2017, when they reached the title game as the No. 1 seed in this same region (lost to UNC). While it came as a surprise, the loss to Saint Mary’s in the WCC title game is not a concern for me. This is still the same team that beat Duke, lost by just 3 to Tennessee and was competitive on the road at North Carolina in non-conference play.
I don’t think the road to Minneapolis is going to be easy, but I’m picking the Zags to reach the Final Four. Based on my bracket, after Gonzaga takes down the No. 16 seed in the opening round, they will have to face No. 8 Syracuse, No. 4 Florida State and No. 3 Texas Tech. While I’m not worried about the Orange, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Seminoles or Red Raiders take down the top seed in this region.
You also can’t sleep on No. 2 Michigan, who always seem to play their best in March. I just think after the heartbreaking loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship, the momentum won’t be there for another deep run.
My big upset in the West is your classic No. 12 over a No. 5, as I have No. 12 seed Murray State taking down No. 5 seed Marquette.
The No. 1 seed in the East is Virginia, who became the first ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in last year’s tournament. As difficult as it may be to trust the Cavaliers, I don’t think they are going to make an early exit in 2019. However, I don’t think Virginia will be playing past the Elite Eight, as I have No. 2 Tennessee advancing the the Final Four.
Had the Vols not laid an egg against Auburn in the SEC Title game, they would have likely been a No. 1 seed. Tennessee doesn’t have a bad loss on the schedule, as their only defeats on the season came against Kansas, Kentucky, Auburn and LSU.
This is also in my opinion the weakest of the four regions this year, as I just don’t think the likes of No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Kansas State, No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 6 Villanova are serious contenders. While I do have most of them advancing to the round of 32, I wouldn’t be shocked if any of these four got upset in the first round. In fact, I really like No. 12 Oregon, who won the Pac-12 Tournament to upset the Badgers and then knock of Kansas State to reach to the Sweet 16.
The last region to cover is the Midwest and it is absolutely loaded. The No. 1 seed is North Carolina and the other top seeds are No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Houston, No. 4 Kansas, No. 5 Auburn, No. 6 Iowa State, No. 7 Wofford and No. 8 Washington.
North Carolina was overlooked early with all the talk surrounding Duke and Virginia, but the Tar Heels are as good as any team in the country. Most would agree that Kentucky was the most talented team in the SEC, Houston lost just 3 games all season and showed it was for real with a win over LSU in non-conference, Kansas might have failed to win the Big 12 for the first time in forever, but they are still extremely talented and reached the Big 12 title game. No. 5 Auburn won the SEC Tournament, No. 6 Iowa State won the Big 12 Tournament, Wofford hasn’t lost in 2019 (won 20 straight) and Washington was the best team in the Pac-12.
Chances are there will be an upset or two, but I just can’t pick against any of these teams, so most of this bracket is chalk. In fact, the only upset I have on the board is No. 5 Auburn over No. 4 Kansas in the Round of 32.
Help With Your Final Four/National Champion Game Bracket Predictions
As you can see, my Final 4 picks are No. 1 Duke (East), No. 1 Gonzaga (West) No. 2 Tennessee (South) and No. 1 North Carolina (Midwest).
I have Duke getting revenge from an early season loss against the Bulldogs and advancing past Gonzaga on the left side of the bracket. Meeting them in the title game is none other than their biggest rival, as I got North Carolina taking down Tennessee.
Duke and North Carolina have already met three times. UNC won both regular-season meetings, but Duke got revenge in the ACC Tournament. Both of the Tar Heels wins came with Zion Williams either out or injured. I just think with him on the floor this is the best team in the country. Look for Coach K and the Blue Devils to be cutting down the nets in early April.
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