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At this point, you may have already torn up your bracket even before the final four.

Seemingly every year, the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament yielded upsets that affected office pools and sports books.

Third-seeded Kentucky lost to No. 14 Oakland in the opening round, marking the second time in three years the Wildcats lost in the first round. No. 4 Auburn fell to No. 13 Yale after squandering a six-point lead with four minutes remaining. And two No. 12 seeds (Grand Canyon, James Madison) advanced at the expense of two No. 5 seeds expected to make a deep tournament push (St. Mary’s, Wisconsin).

Nonetheless, your bracket remains sturdy.

Following the first two NCAA tournament rounds, Connecticut, North Carolina, Houston, and Purdue have all advanced to the Sweet 16 as No. 1 seeds. The same case for Arizona, Tennessee, Iowa State, and Marquette as No. 2 seeds.

Though a bracket’s success often thrives on predicting upsets correctly, chalk picks also have their value, too. With the NCAA regionals taking place on Thursday and Friday, below are my selections both to make the Final Four and to win the championship game.


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The Final Four  

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 2 Arizona

Winner: No. 1 UConn

The Huskies have become this season’s most balanced team. They have excelled both on offense and defense. They have plenty of guard depth with Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer and Stephon Castle. And they have a deep bench.

As for the Wildcats? They have a prolific offense led by Caleb Love and Kylan Boswell. Nonetheless, both players have displayed streaky shooting performances. With not much depth behind their backcourt leaders, the Wildcats will feel overwhelmed with handling the Huskies’ well-balanced attack.

No. 4 Duke vs. No. 3 Creighton

Winner: Duke

Backed with talent and experience, the Blue Devils will advance to their first NCAA championship game in nine years. Duke features one of the country’s best frontcourt players (Kyle Filipowski), guards (Jeremy Roach), and versatile role player (Mark Mitchell).

The Bluejays have a three-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year in Ryan Kalkbrenner, who has become exceptional as a rim defender. Creighton has also become a dangerous 3-point shooting team. Nonetheless, Creighton will eventually fall short because of its lack of depth.

National Championship Game

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 4 Duke

Winner: No. 1 UConn

The Huskies will defend their national title for a simple reason. They have become college basketball’s most talented and consistent team. They have strong health and have peaked at the right time. Duke boasts a strong offensive attack, but has regressed defensively, with Derek Lively II departing for the NBA after last season.


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*Any tips, predictions, or strategies published are entirely the opinion of the author, and are not guaranteed to be correct or result in financial gain. The Author is not an employee of Bovada. 

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