It’s time to fill out your bracket for the 2021 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 region is the softest of them all, which is why it’s the only region I don’t have the top seed advancing to the Final Four. Michigan will be without its best player in Isaiah Livers, so the Wolverines are the most vulnerable number one seed.
The second seed Alabama is probably the best team in that region, but they are very beatable with an off night shooting. And the fourth seed Florida State is pretty weak as well. I have Georgetown beating the Seminoles to make the Sweet 16.
I’m going with Texas to advance from this region. They are playing their best basketball of the season in winning the Big 12 Tournament. They have great depth at guards and big, athletic dominant players in the post. They defend and rebound at a very high level, which you always need in a tournament team that is going to make a deep run.
Final Four Participant: Texas
The South is a pretty strong region. Baylor is going to have to play the UNC/Wisconsin winner in the Round of 32, which is no walk in the park. I actually think their Sweet 16 matchup will be easier against Purdue.
In the bottom half of the region it would be without Texas Tech, Arkansas, Virginia Tech or Ohio State making a run to the Elite 8 and it wouldn’t surprise me. But I really like Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman, and this team is playing about as well as anyone in the country right now in winning 12 of their last 14 games overall.
I have the Razorbacks advancing to take on Baylor in what will be another tough matchup for the Bears. But Baylor is the best shooting team in the tournament as they have a handful of guys that shoot 40% or better from 3-point range. And they are also the better defensive team, which is where they don’t get the credit they deserve. Baylor’s magical season will result in a trip to the Final Four.
Final Four Participant: Baylor
The West region looks like the easiest region of them all. Gonzaga has already beaten its stiffest challengers in this region in Iowa, Kansas and Virginia this season. Those are the other top four seeds in this region. Plus, Kansas and Virginia have COVID problems heading into the big dance.
It could turn out that it is an advantage for those teams having already faced Gonzaga so they know what to expect, but I don’t think it’s even going to matter. Plus, I have chaos happening in the top half with UCSB and Ohio both advancing and the Bobcats making the Sweet 16 to take on Gonzaga.
In the bottom half of the region its Iowa, Oregon and Kansas battling it out to make the Elite 8. I like the Ducks here as Dana Altman is one of my favorite head coaches in the country and he is a proven winning the NCAA Tournament. Oregon is playing its best basketball of the season and will upset Iowa in the Round of 32, eventually losing to Gonzaga in the Elite 8.
Final Four Participant: Gonzaga
I believe the Midwest region is probably the most difficult, or at least on par with the South region. Illinois was given no favors having to face the Loyola-Chicago/Georgia Tech winners, two teams that are both grossly under-seeded. Then they will have to take on Oklahoma State, which has the best player in the country in Cade Cunningham.
In the bottom half of the region it’s not as daunting and Houston looks to have a relatively easy path to the Elite 8. I like head coach Kelvin Sampson and what he has done with this program. The Cougars are poised to make a deep run, and I have them getting by both Rutgers and West Virginia to make the Elite 8.
I do have Illinois advancing over Houston in the Elite 8. The Fighting Illini are playing as well as anyone outside Gonzaga right now. They have one of the best players in the country in Dosunmu and one of the best big men in the land in Cockburn, as long as he can stay out of foul trouble. They have great depth and complimentary players that should get them to the Final Four even in a stacked region.
Final Four Participant: Illinois
I’m going with Gonzaga over Texas and Baylor over Illinois in the Final Four. I’m taking Gonzaga to beat Baylor in the title game to win it all. The Bulldogs have been the best team in the country all season and will become the first team to go undefeated for an entire season since Indiana. They have the easiest region.
Texas is my favorite sleeper pick in this tournament and I’ve bet them to make the Final Four at +700 and to win the title at +3300. Illinois and Baylor have too difficult of paths to trust either of them to win it all. It’s a boring pick, but hopefully it’s the right one in Gonzaga.