Predicting the Final Four for 2024’s March Madness
Buckle up. This thrill ride is about to get started.
Already, the college basketball season is gearing up for its year-end tournaments. The end of the regular season is quickly approaching, meaning positioning for conference tourneys is at the top of everyone’s minds. From there, 68 of the best teams in the country descend upon four regions, whittling down teams round-by-round until a National Champion is crowned.
Our goal is to predict which teams make this year’s Final Four, their projected seed, and what region they emerge from.
Houston Cougars – Midwest Region
Projected Seed: #1
Odds to Make the Final Four: +210
Odds to Win the National Championship: +900
On Selection Sunday, we predict the Houston Cougars will be named the top seed of the Midwest Conference. Houston has built their success on suffocating defense, and as we see every year, that’s the type of profile that goes far in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars have the top-rated defense in the nation. Most notably, they’re ranked first in the KenPom Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, but their NCAA-best 54.7 points allowed per game and 37.1% opponent shooting percentage reveal the same advantage. No one can score on Houston.
The Midwest could potentially be a minefield of elite contenders. Still, none of them can play with the gusto that Houston brings on a nightly basis. The Cougars have made it to at least the Sweet Sixteen in four straight tournaments, and that’s not about to end this season.
No, these guys will be cutting nets down from the Midwest Region.
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Connecticut Huskies – East Region
Projected Seed: #1
Odds to Make the Final Four: +150
Odds to Win the National Championship: +650
The National Championship betting favorites and presumptive #1 seed for March Madness, the Connecticut Huskies enter this year’s tourney with a big target on their backs. Even the best won’t be able to keep pace with UConn as they dominate a stacked East Region and defend their title belt.
Few teams can hang with UConn offensively, and even fewer can compete with them on both ends of the court. All five regular Huskies’ starters average double-digits in scoring, with no one averaging fewer than 4.4 rebounds either. That depth is unparalleled by any program, almost guaranteeing this team makes another trip to the Final Four.
UConn is the favorite, and they are priced as such. But the distinction is well-deserved. Anything less than a Final Four appearance would be considered a disappointment, but Huskies players will have their hearts set on back-to-back Championships.
Arizona Wildcats – West Region
Projected Seed: #2
Odds to Make the Final Four: +260
Odds to Win the National Championship: +1200
No program has more to prove than the Arizona Wildcats. Coming off one of the worst opening-round upsets in the history of the NCAA Tournament, Zona can’t afford another misstep on the game’s biggest stage. Thankfully, they are positioned for success and poised to enter this year’s edition as a top seed in the West Region.
Caleb Love leads the team in scoring, but there are a few other emotional leaders who drive the team forward. Keshad Johnson leaves his heart on the floor every game, and Pelle Larsson adds to that intensity.
But the biggest advantage Tommy Lloyd has given his team is trotting out the same five starters in every game this season. That has resulted in undeniable chemistry and built everyone’s confidence in the program.
Arizona could easily enter this year’s tourney as a #1 seed, but we think the selection committee will drop them to #2 as a ‘prove me wrong’ team. Irrespective of seed, they are on the fast track for their first Final Four appearance since 2001.
Creighton Bluejays – South Region
Projected Seed: #4
Odds to Make the Final Four: +1200
Odds to Win the National Championship: +5000
A bumpy ride over the past few weeks has moved the Creighton Bluejays down the futures board and will potentially relegate them to the South Region of the bracket. Nevertheless, they have a lethal combination of offense, defense, and experience, making them the belle of the ball in the Final Four.
The Bluejays went on a run to the Elite Eight in 2023, dropping a heartbreaking 57-56 loss to the San Diego Aztecs. Returning three of their marquee players from last year’s team positions them for success again in 2024. Baylor Scheierman leads the returning trio with 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, although he’s followed closely by Ryan Kalkbrenner 17.0/7.6, and Trey Alexander 16.9, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists
Creighton’s tumble only makes them a more appealing longshot. The Bluejays have been playing with a chip on their shoulder for most of the season, and they’re poised for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
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