It’s time to fill out your bracket for the 2017 NCAA Tournament. For those of you looking for some help on who to take in each game, or just for some possible upsets, here is a look at who I have coming out of each region. I have also listed my Final Four predictions as well to help you win your bracket contests and pools. Be sure to check out my completed bracket for my picks in every game.
Download or print your own blank bracket to fill out.
The East features a fairly easy path for the top two seeds, Villanova and Duke, to reach the Elite 8. Baylor is one of the strongest No. 3 seeds in the tournament, but I don’t see them getting past Duke. I also do not expect many major upsets in this region, but do think the winner of USC/Providence can beat SMU and Virginia Tech has a solid shot at upsetting Wisconsin.
Villanova’s style is excellent for the tournament, however, Duke is a team that simply won’t quit. They are playing with a chip on their shoulder this year and that makes them extremely dangerous.
Final Four Participant: Duke
Gonzaga has traditionally been a disappointment when receiving a high seed, but I think they get that monkey off their back this season. They were dominant at times and can honestly match up with anyone in both the front and back courts. They do have a couple of tests with potential match ups against Notre Dame and Arizona on their way to the Final Four, but I do think they get there.
While I only picked one upset in this region in the first round (VCU over St. Mary’s), I do see No. 3 seed Florida State as vulnerable to an upset against Florida Gulf Coast. The Seminoles looked uninspired in the conference tournament – something that could carry over to the Big Dance.
Final Four Participant: Gonzaga
The Midwest is the most difficult in my opinion or at least the hardest to sort out. I see Kansas as the most vulnerable No. 1 seed in the tournament, with Louisville being the second-strongest No. 2 (behind Duke) and a wildcard of a No. 3 in Oregon.
As for upsets, I really like what I saw out of Rhode Island in their conference tournament and can see them coming out with a first round upset and then giving Oregon trouble in the second round.
I think Louisville is the safe bet to make the Final Four in the Midwest with Kansas potentially playing a Miami team that has the talent to beat them, as well as a chance to meet Iowa State in the Sweet 16, a team that defeated them at home earlier this year.
Final Four Participant: Louisville
In the South, North Carolina probably has the easiest No. 1 seed path to the Final Four. Kentucky and UCLA are both strong 2 and 3 seeds, respectively, however, I can see their likely match up wearing them both down, making a showdown with the Tar Heels an unlikely victory.
Middle Tennessee State will probably be a popular upset pick due to their conference tournament play, but I’m definitely on that bandwagon and could even see them pushing for a Sweet 16 bid.
Final Four Participant: North Carolina
I have Duke and Gonzaga meeting up in the East/West side of the bracket. I like the Blue Devil’s emotion to carry them this far, but I think Gonzaga has too many options on the floor and takes advantage of a drained Duke squad to reach the title game.
On the Midwest/South side, I’ve pitted Louisville against North Carolina. From a talent perspective, there aren’t many teams that can match up with the Tar Heels. If they are going to lose a game, they will have to run into a team that is riding a huge wave of momentum – like Duke in the conference championship. I don’t see that happening in their bracket.
2017 National Champion: North Carolina