The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament returns this week after it was forced to take a hiatus in 2020. Excitement is building once again as people hustle to fill out their brackets. We’re here to help you out in that regard by collecting the bracket selections of some of our top basketball experts.
This has certainly been a bizarre college basketball season, one which may have been hard to follow with all the chaos surrounding the sport. But here we are in March with a field of 68 all nestled into the brackets as if nothing has changed. If you’re looking to fill out your bracket but have had a hard time following it all this year, we’re here to help.
We’ve collected the brackets from some of our top experts on the subject of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. They’ll also give their reasons for why they chose the way that they did. Whether you’re printing out your March Madness bracket for an office contest or wagering on individual games at a top gambling website, you can piggyback on their picks and form a consensus of your own to come up with some winning selections.
Rick Rockwell’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Pick – Gonzaga
This is it! It’s the year that Gonzaga finally wins it all. Mark Few is a future Hall of Fame head coach and he will finally get his first National title along with the Zags’ first ever national championship. As someone who’s picked Gonzaga to win the tournament every year since 1999, I am all-in on the Zags to win the Big Dance!
Taylor Smith’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Pick – Illinois
I like all four No. 1 seeds to advance to the Elite Eight, with all but Michigan ultimately making their way to the Final Four. Michigan is in an awfully competitive region, and the Wolverines ultimately won’t have enough firepower to get past the Crimson Tide in the East final. Baylor’s combination of defense and three-point shooting makes them a legit title threat, but the championship will come down to Gonzaga or Illinois in the end.
We’ve seen Gonzaga here before, of course.
This year’s squad is led by freshman phenom Jalen Suggs, and the Zags have the potential to make history. It’s tough to bet against a team coming into the tournament undefeated, but Illinois has an impressive track record. The Fighting Illini trounced Michigan in Ann Arbor earlier this year, while they stayed with Baylor at a neutral site despite foul trouble for their star big man, Kofi Cockburn.
Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu give Illinois some serious star power. The team’s ability to protect the paint will be crucial against what has been a dominant Gonzaga team all year long. Becoming the first team all year to dethrone the Zags won’t be easy, but I think Illinois has the mindset of a team capable of pulling the upset. Illinois is one of the hottest teams in the country right now, and I think they’ll keep that momentum going deep into the tourney.
Kevin Oldroyd’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Pick – Gonzaga
This year’s March Madness tournament is set to be unlike any other. With the changes set in place, it’s no wonder that so many fans are having a difficult time predicting which team will earn the victory. In the end, I believe Gonzaga is the most well-rounded team in the NCAA and will earn their first National Championship.
Granted, this isn’t a pick that will shock anyone. Gonzaga sits atop the West Coast Conference and is the first team to enter into March Madness undefeated since Kentucky in 2014-2015. They have looked tremendous throughout the regular season and are listed as the betting favorites to win the championship by most online sports betting sites.
I don’t believe this will be an easy route to victory for Gonzaga by any stretch of the imagination. It wouldn’t shock me to see Michigan or Baylor end up as the tournament’s winner, either. I just believe Mark Few is coaching a special team right now. If Gonzaga can avoid any major injuries, they will end the tournament as the winners.
Jim Beviglia’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Pick – Gonzaga
This year has been such a hard season to get a hold of that I originally thought that my bracket would be more upset-laden than it actually turned out to be. I do think that the Midwest is the ripest bracket for upsets. That’s why I rolled the dice with Loyola Chicago, thinking they’ll be the one team to knock off a #1 seed in the second round, something that happens more often than not in the tourney.
My advice with the bracket is that, if you don’t feel strongly about a high seed going far in the Big Dance, you shouldn’t be afraid to pull the trigger on them getting upset in the first or second round, because the math will work in your favor. In my case, I didn’t see any of the #3 seeds being major factors. That’s why I have three of the four of them gone in the first two rounds and none going beyond the Sweet 16.
I don’t see much value in going against Gonzaga, a team with the right blend of experience and pure talent. Michigan will be their toughest test in the Final Four. But look for Mark Few to finally cut down the net after so many years of great regular-season play and Match disappointment.
We hope that these picks give you all the information you need as you prepare for your 2021 NCAA Tournament picks. March Madness is never easy to predict, which is why you shouldn’t be discouraged if you require some help. You’ll look like the smartest one in the room when those bracket standings come out each week and you’re at the top of the list.
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