The 2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been released, and the Madness tips off Tuesday night with the First Four, culminating with the NCAA Championship Monday, April 8th in Phoenix.
Here we give our initial predictions – with it being assured that we will second guess ourselves many times before the First Round gets underway Thursday afternoon.

East Region: 

1 UConn
16 Stetson

8 Florida Atlantic
9 Northwestern

5 San Diego St
12 UAB

4 Auburn
13 Yale

11 Duquesne

3 Illinois
14 Morehead St

7 Washington State
10 Drake

2 Iowa State
15 South Dakota St

East First Round Winners: UConn, Florida Atlantic, San Diego St, Auburn, BYU, Illinois, Drake, Iowa State
East Second Round Winners:  UConn, Auburn, Illinois, Iowa State
East Sweet 16 Winners: UConn, Iowa State
East Region Winner:  UConn

Something To Watch In The East:  Florida Atlantic went to the Final 4 last year. This year they had a win over Arizona. If they beat Northwestern, they could possibly take out UConn early.

Midwest Region: 

1 Purdue
16 Montana St / Grambling St

8 Utah St

5 Gonzaga
12 McNeese

4 Kansas
13 Samford

6 South Carolina
11 Oregon

3 Creighton
14 Akron

7 Texas
10 Virginia / Colorado St

2 Tennessee
15 Saint Peter’s

Midwest First Round Winners: Purdue, Utah State, Gonzaga, Kansas, South Carolina, Creighton, UVA, Tennessee
Midwest Second Round Winners: Purdue, Gonzaga, South Carolina, Tennessee
Midwest Sweet 16 Winners: Purdue, Tennessee
Midwest Region Winner: Tennessee

Something To Watch In The Midwest:  This was not a dominant Gonzaga squad. The Bulldogs could easily go out in the First Round to McNeese.  I’ll go with Gonzaga to win, largely because of Coach Few’s experience. I was tempted to pick Samford over Kansas, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. I will change to picking Samford before Thursday if the Jayhawks Hunter Dickinson is not available. I think the South Carolina / Oregon winner is capable of getting to the Elite 8.

South Region: 

1 Houston
16 Longwood

8 Nebraska
9 Texas A&M

5 Wisconsin
12 James Madison

4 Duke
13 Vermont

6 Texas Tech
11 NC State

3 Kentucky
14 Oakland

7 Florida
10 Boise St / Colorado

2 Marquette
15 Western Kentucky

South First Round Winners:  Houston, Texas A&M, James Madison, Duke, Texas Tech, Kentucky, Colorado, Marquette
South Second Round Winners: Houston, Duke, Kentucky, Marquette
South Sweet 16 Winners: Houston, Kentucky
South Region Winner: Kentucky

Something To Watch In The South: I’m not going to be alone in picking James Madison over Wisconsin.  Vermont over Duke will be a popular upset pick as well, but I think the Blue Devils win. NCST just went a run for the ACC Tournament Championship; but I think they lose to Texas Tech.  I like Colorado over Boise State, but I’ll take either to get past Florida.

West Region: 

1 North Carolina
16 Howard / Wagner

8 Mississippi St
9 Michigan St

5 Saint Mary’s
12 Grand Canyon

4 Alabama
13 Charleston

6 Clemson
11 New Mexico

3 Baylor
14 Colgate

7 Dayton
10 Nevada

2 Arizona
15 Long Beach State

West First Round Winners: North Carolina, Michigan State, Saint Mary’s, Alabama, New Mexico, Baylor, Nevada, Arizona
West Second Round Winners: North Carolina, Alabama, New Mexico, Arizona
West Sweet 16 Winners: Alabama, Arizona
West Region Winner: Arizona

Something To Watch In The West: I like St. Mary’s to get past Grand Canyon, but the Lopes can win there. Coach Izzo in March is always a threat; but that’s a pretty limited Sparty squad. Colgate was 16-2 in the Patriot League, winning the regular season and the conference tournament. Baylor will be more athletic across the board, but wouldn’t be shocking to see Raiders pull the upset there. I picked Nevada over Dayton here, but I’ll continue to look at that game.

Final Four: UConn vs. Arizona, Tennessee vs. Kentucky

Championship: UConn vs. Tennessee

Champion: UConn

Chris Stoner
Chris Stoner


Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.