2024 College Basketball Bracket Is Set. Who is Favored? Who Could Surprise?

March 18, 2024 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

The 2024 Men's Basketball Championship Tournament is set and the event tips off on Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio with the 'First Four' play-in games.

On Tuesday, Wagner will take on Howard with the winner becoming a 16-seed and taking on West Region No. 1 seed North Carolina. The other Tuesday game pits Colorado State against Virginia with the either the Rams or Cavs advancing as a 10-seed against Texas in the Midwest Region.

The play-in action resumes on Wednesday with Grambling and Montana State vying for the 16-seed in the Midwest Region and facing No. 1 seed Purdue. And finally, Colorado will battle Boise State for the 10-seed and the right to face 7-seed Florida in the South Region..

UConn is the over-all #1 seed in the NCAA 68-team Bracket while Houston received the other 1-seed.

Last year, UConn knocked off San Diego State 76-59 in the championship game in Houston. The Aztecs repeat as a 5-seed for this season's tourney and are slotted in the East Region with UConn. San Diego State will open the tournament against 12-seed UAB, while Connecticut hosts a Stetson team making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA field.

This year's Final Four will take place in Glendale, Arizona with the semifinals on Saturday, April 6 and the championship game on Monday, April 8.

As one might expect, UConn (+400) is the FanDuel.com odds favorite to become the first team to repeat as National Champs on the men's side since Florida in 2006 and 2007. In order, Houston (+600) and Purdue (+700) are tight followers, while Arizona was listed on Monday morning at +1500. North Carolina and Tennessee were next at 1600.

If you want to go for a longshot, a total of 15 teams were tied with 100,000-to-1 odd, including Long Beach State and Akron. But if you're looking for a more reasonable outside candidate to take a run, you could trust this interesting article that using numberFire analytics to handicap teams and came up with 5 Possible Cinderellas.

There seems to be widespread agreement that, although UConn is the favorite to win it all, the Huskies got stuck with the toughest region as the East also contains an 2-seed Iowa State team that defeated Houston for the Big 12 title, a 3-seed Illinois squad that captured the B1G crown, and a 4-seed Auburn team that crushed Florida in the SEC championship game. That same region has the aforementioned San Diego State as a 5-seed, BYU as a 6, FAU as an 8, and Northwestern as a 9.

A story to watch in the Midwest bracket is whether or not Tennessee will stick around as 2-seed. Fansided points out that the Volunteers have gone out to lower seeds in each of Rick Barnes' five NCAA Tournament appearances with them. Tennessee has suffered defeats against double-digit seeds on three different occasions - Loyola Chicago in 2018, Oregon State in 2021 and Michigan in 2022. Last year, the Vols fell to a 9-seed, Florida Atlantic, in the Sweet 16.