Wednesday, March 20, 2024

FINAL 2024 BRACKET BLOG - Links to each bracket with the winners and paragraph on history of successs

We’ve made the eight brackets public. You can click on each bracket by name below to see how all 63 games were picked using that criteria - or you can scroll to the bottom of the blog to see the list of teams with a number from 0 to 6 to indicate the number of lines you should put them on if you want to follow that methodology.

We suggest you give a quick read through this, pick the one bracket option that sounds good to you, then click and focus on that bracket but pick a few extra upsets to make it fun and give yourself a chance. At the bottom we list the chance we believe each team has of winning it all or at least making the Final 4.

  1. Offense AND Def KenPom -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Marquette defeats Auburn. Other Final 4 Teams - Arizona and Purdue. Big upset Seed 5) St. Mary's.

Since 2002, every single national champion has been one of the few teams who ranks in the top 40 in offense and the top 25 in defense based on Unless history is made, that means one of the 10 teams listed in this blog will be the national champion. Only two teams finished in the top 10 in both non-conference play - Marquette and Purdue. If this holds true then they are the best two and meet in the Final 4.

  1. Conference -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Connecticut defeats Marquette. Other Final 4 Teams - Baylor and Creighton. Big upset Seed None.

All 22 Champions this century have come from the ACC, Big 12, Big East or SEC, and we believe there is an 81% chance it will be one of those 24 teams again - so be careful picking one of the other 44 teams. Maybe Purdue breaks through like Michigan did in football to give the Big Ten their first title since 2000 (Michigan State). Maybe Arizona gets the Pac-12 a going away present its first title since they won it for the Pac-12 in 1997. Maybe one of the record six Mountain West teams in the tourney builds on San Diego State’s Final 4 last year to win it, or maybe we finally have Gonzaga win from the West Coast Conference. But before going against the four conferences who’ve won every one - consider that two Gonzaga teams made the title game as the No. 1 team having dominated all other conferences only to then be destroyed by the Big 12 (Baylor) and ACC (UNC). 

  1. NBA -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Kentucky defeats Arizona. Other Final 4 Teams - Purdue and Illinois. Big upset Seed None. Some years the elite players about to go to the NBA take over, and if that happens consider that Kentucky has three players on the bench about to go to the NBA - since the rules only allow five players on the court at a time. We list all the NBA players for all 26 teams that have at least one - but 42 teams in the tourney do not have any players good enough to make the NBA.

  1. Healthy and Injured Teams -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Connecticut defeats Tennessee. Other Final 4 Teams - Kentucky and Arizona. Big upset Seed 2) Marquette, 4) Kansas.. The one thing you need to watch in case you need to make any changes to your bracket is this injury report. If 2-seed Marquette’s best two players Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro are not healed then the fastest pace team in the country Western Kentucky could run a short-handed Marquette off the court. Same for Kansas top two players. It looks like Kevin McCullar Jr. is out Thursday against 13-seed Samford so if their other best player Hunter Dickinson can not recover from the shoulder injury, Samford could be taking their first NCAA tournament win back to Alabama.

  1. Coach -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Kentucky defeats Baylor. Other Final 4 Teams - Tennessee and Auburn. Big upset Seed none. We provide a list of all 68 coaches and their best March Madness runs. If great coaches pull out the tight games in this one look for and SEC flavor with former Texas coach Rick Barnes having a shot with Tennessee, former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl looking for his first title for Auburn as well. However, if that’s how it plays out we believe it will be John Calipari winning his second title with Kentucky unless Scott Drew can beat him to give Baylor their second title in four years.

  1. Hottest -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Auburn defeats Wisconsin. Other Final 4 Teams - Arizona and Gonzaga. Big upset Seeds None. No team is hotter that Auburn, and if the same teams that were hot at the end of the year keep up the pace, then the Auburn vs. Connecticut Sweet 16 game could determine the eventual national champ.

  1. Sr. Guards -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Connecticut defeats Houston. Other Final 4 Teams Creighton and Alabama. Big upset Seed 4) Auburn, 5) San Diego State, St. Mary's, Wisconsin, 6) BYU Texas Tech.. Often the big upsets occur when a team with excellent senior guards beats a younger more talented team. If that happens this year, Auburn and San Diego State could be first game victims - and North Carolina could be vulnerable as well. However this year many of the top teams also have senior guards.

Overall -  bracket could indicate a title game in which Connecticut defeats Houston. Other Final 4 Teams - Purdue and Arizona. Big upset Seed 6) South Carolina, Clemson. The bracket that takes everything into account is this overall bracket. It is always hard to win 5 or 6 games in a row because you are going to play poorly in one of those six games and you will need to survive. However, Connecticut is the best team in the country by far this year - and Houston is the best overall team they could meet in the title game so if you don’t want to guess at the upsets - go with those two.

Here are the tables noting the dominance of the ACC, Big 12, Big East and SEC - so first decide if you believe that continues or believe this is the breakthrough year.  Here are the number of teams in the tournament from each of the eight conferences with the most teams - and the number of them we expect will make the Final 4 and the chance their conference will win the title. Then just one more reminder it is 22-0 for the four conferences this century, so 0-22 for the other 27 conferences combined.

4 Conf          Tourney Teams     Final 4 Teams   Win Title%    21st Cent Titles
SEC8 0.9 25%3
B128 0.8 18%3
BE3 0.7 30%8
ACC5 0.4 9%8
Total 424 2.7 82%22
All otherTourney TeamsFinal 4 TeamsWin Title%21st Cent Titles
B106 0.6 13%0
P124 0.3 5%0
MWC6 0.2 0%0
WCC3 0.2 0%0
Other 2325 0.2 0%0
Total 2744 1.3 18%0

Here are the chances we are giving each team to take the title. The ones that could end the ACC, Big 12, Big East, SEC string of 22 straight titles are Arizona of the Pac-12 (5%) or any of three Big aten teams - Purdue  (9% chance), Illinois or maybe Wisconsin.

A couple of possible title game rematches from these groups could be Marquette against Purdue (who beat them by 3) or Illinois (who lost to Marquette at home).
Possible ChampConfChance
North CarolinaACC6%
Iowa St.B124%
Texas A&MSEC1%

Buyer beware - the only nice thing about us providing these brackets is that they let you fill out your bracket in minutes and get it off your desk or submitted so that your one friend who actually cares will stop bothering you - you are required to take an oath you will not spend two days cursing at me for incorrect picks that break your bracket in a few days LOL.

This time of year all stat geeks from me to Nate Silver remind all of you that we HATE picking brackets because anyone can get hot in basketball and win one game to send the better team home. if these were all 7-game series we could pick them all for you - but one out of every three games the winner will not make any sense, so good luck!

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