March Madness 2024: Our experts reset their NCAA Tournament bracket picks with updated Sweet 16 predictions



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Every single No. 1 and No. 2 seed advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams and first time since the 2019 NCAA Tournament. But you know what? Brackets being busted happens to the best of us. Even in a relatively chalky year.

So we’re giving ourselves one more bite at the apple with a fresh bracket with the field now down to 16. Our panel of college basketball experts and analysts didn’t make every pick right — who had NC State and Clemson making the second weekend?! — but we’re bound to nail it this time. (Right?)

The good news is that with so many favorites advancing, most of our title picks are still alive and in the hunt, so there’s not many changes as far as how we see the final few games playing out. There are, though, numerous changes to the bracket elsewhere now that several teams we didn’t pick to be in the second weekend, made the second weekend.

Who will win every college basketball game, and which favorites should be on upset alert? Visit SportsLine now to get picks and predictions for every college basketball game, all from a model that simulates every game 10,000 times.

Here’s a look at how our experts see the regional action unfolding as we close in on the Sweet 16.   

Click on each bracket to enlarge

Gary Parrish, college basketball insider

Original pick for champion: Purdue

My original Final Four picks featured Purdue, UConn and Houston. They’re all still alive. So I’ll keep them — even if Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars have seemed unusually vulnerable in recent weeks. Baylor was my initial Final Four pick in the West Region. But I lost the Bears to Clemson and have replaced them with North Carolina. Yes, that means I now have four No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. Will it happen? Who knows? But in a season where three of the No. 1 seeds so clearly separated from the rest of the pack weeks in advance of Selection Sunday, it would be kind of fitting if we got four No. 1 seeds in the Final Four for just the second time in history and first time since 2008.

Matt Norlander, college basketball senior writer

Original pick for champion: UConn

I always welcome and enjoy a Sweet 16 with a Cinderella or two sticking around, but we don’t have that this year. What we have in its place is an 11th-seeded power-conference program with two national championships to its name as an ersatz Cindy story — and NC State, you’re more than welcome to continue charming us. But I also don’t have the run continuing beyond this Friday. Of my initial Sweet 16 picks, I landed only 10, which is a shame. But it also gives me the chance to regroup and get it right from here on out. 

I’ll keep UConn over Illinois in the East. That’s what I’ve had from the start and I’ll bank on offense winning out. In the West, I think any of the four teams can emerge — yes, even Clemson; especially if it gets familiar ACC foe UNC in the Elite Eight — but I refuse to be chalky and go with at least three No. 1 seeds, so give me Arizona to push through and make its first Final Four since 2001. I will stay with Houston, which has looked shakier in the past two weeks than I could have imagined. Duke is peaking, but Houston is the toughest team in this region and Jamal Shead is the best player in the South, narrowly ranking above Marquette’s Tyler Kolek. In the Midwest, I think we have the best chance at getting three great games. I took Creighton on Selection Sunday to make it out and I won’t shift off that. I like the Bluejays to win two thrillers and break through to their first Final four in school history. 

From there, my picks remain unchanged. UConn over Houston to win the national title and go back-to-back. My reasoning is simple and pragmatic and reinforced after watching Connecticut in person in Brooklyn. There might be a team that will beat UConn, but I have no idea who is beating UConn in this tournament.

Kyle Boone, college basketball writer

Original pick for champion: UConn

UConn was my pick to win it all ahead of the NCAA Tournament and UConn remains my pick after the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. I realize that’s not going out on a ledge, but it’d be disingenuous for me to pick any other team. Purdue looks great, Duke looks great, Houston looks like a force — all that is true. But no one has looked more dominant and destructive against good and bad competition alike the way the Huskies have been. So long as they stay healthy I like my pre-tourney pick to come to fruition, and for UConn to be the first repeat champs since Florida in 2007.

David Cobb, college basketball writer

Original pick for champion: Purdue

All four of my original Final Four are still alive entering the Sweet 16, and I’m sticking with them. Obviously, UConn is rolling and looking fully capable of repeating as the national champion. But upsets happen, and if anyone left in this field is capable of eliminating the Huskies, it’s Illinois. The Illini are on a roll behind two of the best offensive players remaining in the field in Terrence Shannon Jr. and Marcus Domask. The veteran wings are both crafty, savvy scorers and complement each other well. 

Cameron Salerno, college basketball writer

Original pick for champion: Houston

I’m sticking with Houston to cut down the nets in Phoenix next month. Despite giving up 95 points in a thrilling overtime win over Texas A&M a few short days ago, I still believe Houston has the best defense in the country. My preseason Final Four prediction has three teams remaining in the field (Purdue, Duke, and Creighton), but I’m not going away from the pick I made less than two weeks ago. Jamal Shead is the real deal. He will lead the Cougars to glory.

Chip Patterson, college basketball writer

Original pick for champion: UConn

Through two rounds of the tournament my opinion has not changed that UConn is the alpha of the sport and has all of the tools necessary to win the toughest games in the tournament and claim a second-straight national championship. My biggest change from pre-tournament analysis is whether Purdue can get out of its region, and after two dominant wins I do think the Boilermakers will reach the Final Four for the first time in the Matt Painter era. 

If not for UConn’s presence, I’d have Zach Edey and a much-improved supporting cast completing the redemption tour to win it all, but with Donovan Clingan running hot I think the Huskies even have an answer for the national player of the year. 

Jerry Palm, Bracketology expert

Original pick for champion: Purdue

In case you missed the Boilermakers in the first two rounds – well, the second round…everyone watched the first to see if they would lose again – this is not the Purdue you have seen the last few years. This is a team on a mission.

That seems particularly true of Zach Edey, who has taken his domination to another level so far.  He was the first player to score at least 50 points, grab 40 rebounds and shoot 65% from the floor in the first two games of the tournament since Lew Alcindor in 1968.

The rest of the team has been clicking too, even if it’s a different guy each game.  Trey Kaufman-Renn has 29 points and 15 rebounds in two games playing alongside and sometimes in place ofZach  Edey.  Braden Smith was limited against Utah State due to foul trouble and when he was out, Purdue went on a run.

Everyone is on UConn because they are playing at a high level – and they absolutely are – but don’t sleep on the Boilermakers. They may have to re-win the Maui Invitational to get there, but Purdue has a great chance to be playing for – and winning – its first national championship.





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