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NCAA Bracket Predictions: First Round Upsets, Winners, Final Four & More

NCAA Bracket Predictions: First Round Upsets, Winners, Final Four & More article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Ron Harper Jr.

Are you ready to dance?

It’s been a long two years since the last NCAA Tournament, but we are ready for the madness.

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, has calculated every team’s chances of advancing to each round of the tournament. But in the name of bracketology, we’ve dug into those projections to highlight a few key takeaways that could aid in your quest for building the perfect bracket.

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It’s important to note these takeaways are not recommendations. Missouri might have the best mathematical chance among West Region teams seeded ninth to 16th of advancing to the Final Four, but we’re not suggesting you pick the Tigers to upset a still undefeated Gonzaga team in the Round of 32.

These takeaways are simply intended as food for thought for those in search of ways to differentiate their brackets.

Now that expectations are set, let’s get to it.

NCAA Bracket Predictions

The following table features each team’s chances of advancing to each round. You can sort and search it by seed, team, region and more.

Most Likely First Round Upset

(10) Rutgers over (7) Clemson

Rutgers is actually a 1.5-point betting favorite at DraftKings, but for bracket purposes, it’s an “underdog” as the lower seed. Koerner’s simulations give the Scarlet Knights a 57.21 percent chance of winning their opening matchup to advance to the Round of 32.

» Print your March Madness bracket now

Most Likely First Round Upsets By Seed

  • 16: Drexel has a 2.04% chance to upset (1) Illinois
  • 15: Grand Canyon has 6.68% chance to upset (2) Iowa
  • 14: Abilene Christian has 20.66% chance to upset (3) Texas
  • 13: Liberty has a 23.35% chance to upset (4) Oklahoma State
  • 12: Georgetown has a 29.29% chance to upset (5) Colorado
  • 11: Michigan State has a 44.58% chance to upset (6) BYU if the Spartans win their First Four matchup
  • 10: Rutgers has a 57.21% chance to upset (7) Clemson
  • 9: Wisconsin has a 50% chance to upset (8) UNC
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Most Likely Final Four Sleepers By Region 

Which No. 9 – No. 16 seeds have the best chances of advancing to the Final Four? Here are the ones with the best mathematical chances in their regions:

  • South: Syracuse has a 1.35% chance
  • East: Maryland has a 2.85% chance
  • Midwest: Rutgers has a 2.77% chance
  • West: Missouri has a 0.38% chance

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