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A Look at the Potential March Madness Bracket

Uconn Baaksetball NCAA tournament
(Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

The calendar is just about ready to close the book in February, which means it’s just about time for the biggest and most exciting basketball tournament in the world: March Madness. The 2023-24 season has had 351 Division 1 teams (although only 340 were eligible for the tournament) from across the country competing for the 68 spots in the field. As it currently stands, most teams have only a few games left in the regular season. For the most part, they will then go on to their respective conference tournaments, where they will aim to clinch a berth in the field of 68.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to create a predictive bracket to try and get a sense of what the tournament might look like when it is announced on March 17. But first, a few disclaimers:

  • To put this together, I predicted every game for the rest of the regular season. I then predicted the conference tournaments based on what the standings would be with those predictions. Huge thanks to and for helping me put this together.
  • I tried to be as realistic as possible, using NET ratings, quality wins, and other metrics that the committee will use to determine the field.
  • I am just one fan who may make mistakes with evaluating or putting together the bracket. The committee will (hopefully) be much more deliberate.
  • Many other bracketology predictions will award the conference’s automatic bid to the current regular season leader. In reality, around 10-11 teams per year usually win their conference in the regular season, lose in the conference tournament, and don’t get a bid in the field of 68. In simulating the conference tournaments, I tried to recreate this randomness in March.
  • An italicized team means that I predict that they will win their conference tournament and receive an automatic bid.
  • This is just for fun! If your team didn’t make the field, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance at making a run in March.

Without further ado, let’s look at the bracket, starting off with the Midwest Region and the predicted number 1 overall seed, Purdue.

Midwest Region (Detroit)


1. Purdue vs 16. NC Central/Lafayette

8. TCU vs 9. Wake Forest


5. Kentucky vs 12. Cornell

4. San Diego State vs 13. Samford


6. Utah State vs 11. Providence

3. Alabama vs 14. High Point


7. St. Mary’s vs 10. Mississippi State

2. Kansas vs 15. UMass Lowell

South Region (Dallas)


1. Houston vs 16. Little Rock/North Dakota State

8. Florida Atlantic vs 9. Nebraska


5. Wisconsin vs 12. Grand Canyon

4. Auburn vs 13. McNeese State


6. Texas Tech vs 11. Indiana State

3. Duke vs 14. Long Beach State


7. South Carolina vs 10. Gonzaga

2. Marquette vs 15. Quinnipiac

East Region (Boston)


1. UConn vs 16. Grambling State

8. Northwestern vs 9. New Mexico

Salt Lake City

5. Clemson vs 12. Appalachian State

4. Baylor vs 13. College of Charleston


6. Florida vs 11. Texas/Seton Hall

3. Iowa State vs 14. Oakland


7. Boise State vs 10. Oklahoma

2. North Carolina vs 15. Eastern Kentucky

West Region (Los Angeles)

Salt Lake City

1. Arizona vs 16. Northern Colorado

8. Colorado State vs 9. Michigan State


5. Dayton vs 12. South Florida

4. Illinois vs 13. Akron


6. BYU vs 11. Virginia/Utah

3. Creighton vs 14. Louisiana Tech


7. Washington State vs 10. Nevada

2. Tennessee vs 15. Merrimack


Early March Favorites

(Paul Sancya/ AP Photo)

There you have it, my 68-team bracket.  Regardless of how wrong this bracket ends up being, it truly seems like several different teams could win it all this year. Purdue, UConn, and Houston have number 1 seeds all but locked up, but the last one is up for grabs. In addition to my pick, Arizona, North Carolina, Marquette, and Tennessee all have strong claims for it. Some potential Cinderellas include South Florida, Appalachian State, and Grand Canyon, who, while they may have weaker resumes, are red-hot teams that know how to win.

What do you think? What changes would you make? March Madness always makes for tons of excitement, and this year should be no different.

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