There is virtually always at least one massive bracket buster that reaches the Final Four. Last year, we saw Loyola-Chicago and Sister Jean make their magical run to be one of the last four teams with a shot at winning the national championship. In each of the last six seasons, at least one No. 7 seed or higher has made it to the third week of the NCAA Tournament.
The key is determining which region is most likely to produce an upset winner and going forward accordingly. No. 1 seeds are No. 1 seeds for a reason and about half of the teams that have been put on the No. 1 line have made it to the Final Four since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. With that in mind, here are my picks (in bold) to win each region. You can bet all the NCAA Tournament Regional winners at BetDSI.
East Region Winner
Michigan State +340
Virginia Tech +700
Mississippi State +1900
Central Florida +4900
Saint Louis +7900
North Dakota State +19400
This is a strategic pick for your bracket and a value pick for the odds. Duke is the only odds-on favorite to win their region, and the odds on the Blue Devils to win the NCAA Tournament are ridiculously low. There isn’t much value in taking Duke to win the East Region, and Michigan State has been nearly as good as Duke according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced numbers.
The return of Nick Ward has made the Spartans a real contender, and this team is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Their offense has been very reliable as they have assists on more than 68 percent of their made field goals (the best rate in the country), and Cassius Winston could have a huge game.
South Region Winner
Kansas State +1000
St. Mary’s +4000
UC Irvine +7500
Old Dominion +8000
I think this is the weakest region of them all, and I love Virginia’s chances to get through. The Cavaliers shouldn’t be tested in the first three rounds and I think there’s a good chance they don’t play No. 4 Kansas State or No. 5 Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.
A lot of people will dismiss Virginia outright after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed last year, but the Cavaliers are a veteran team with three dynamite shooters and they have one of the best defenses in the country. They should win their region.
West Region Winner
Texas Tech +450
Florida State +550
Murray State +4000
Arizona State +10000
Northern Kentucky +10000
Fairleigh Dickinson +15000
I’m tempted to go with Michigan, but the Bulldogs are just too strong. This Gonzaga team is loaded with talent, and they were the only team to beat Duke when the Blue Devils were fully healthy. They can get points from six different players, and their ability to lock opponents down on defense can’t be overstated. Gonzaga is the most talented team in the region, and they obviously have the best coach too.
Midwest Region Winner
North Carolina +162
Iowa State +750
Utah State +1900
Seton Hall +4300
Ohio State +5000
New Mexico State +7000
Georgia State +8000
Abilene Christian +20000
This is the region most likely to go awry. A number of teams could win the Midwest. A dangerous blue blood is lurking in Kansas, and two of the best mid-majors in the country (Wofford and Utah State) could play spoiler too.
UNC shouldn’t have received a No. 1 seed, and the Tar Heels are a team susceptible to big, physical opponents. That’s why I like Auburn’s chances. The Tigers can be physical, and they are the 13th best team in the country according to Pomeroy. That places them as the third-best team in the region, and they ended the season on a high note by beating Tennessee for the SEC Championship.
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