Three Man Weave’s Consensus 2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket: Picks for Every Game

Three Man Weave’s Consensus 2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket: Picks for Every Game article feature image

Action Network’s Matt Roembke

The 2024 NCAA Tournament is here, and in order to help you win your bracket pool this year, Three Man Weave — Jim Root, Ky McKeon and Matthew Cox — have consensus picks on every single game.

So, dive in below for the full look at their 2024 NCAA Tournament bracket.

East Region: First Round

(1) UConn vs. (16) Stetson

3 – 0

(8) FAU vs. (9) Northwestern

3 – 0

(5) San Diego State vs. (12) UAB

2 – 1

(4) Auburn vs. (13) Yale

3 – 0

(6) BYU vs. (11) Duquesne

3 – 0

(3) Illinois vs. (14) Morehead State

3 – 0

(7) Washington State vs. (10) Drake

3 – 0

(2) Iowa State vs. (15) South Dakota State

3 – 0

No. 12 UAB vs. No. 5 San Diego State

By: Matt Cox

UAB is 11-2 against the spread as an underdog this year, with a titillating 5.5 average cover margin in those spots.

For contrast, the Blazers are 8-10 ATS as a favorite, with a negative 4.4-point cover margin.

Akin to Memphis, UAB simply doesn't put teams away, but it rarely goes away too.

San Diego State’s interior meal ticket — Jaedon LeDee — could be a problem,, but Yaxel Lendeborg and Christian Coleman won't be pushed around.

The potent frontline tandem should assault the offensive glass and help keep UAB competitive in the rebounding department, which could be critical should UAB’s mid-range game go awry.

East Region: Round of 32

(1) UConn vs. (8) FAU

2 – 1

(4) Auburn vs. (5) San Diego State

3 – 0

(3) Illinois vs. (6) BYU

2 – 1

(2) Iowa State vs. (10) Drake

2 – 1

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 8 FAU

By: Jim Root

I feel like my cohorts are gaslighting me. I have to justify taking UConn in a second round game?! Fine, if I must.

While FAU is certainly an intriguing team in a tournament setting, these Huskies are nearly without fault. They have an immense stable of offensive weapons — both as creators and scorers — and their unselfishness is deadly.

Against an FAU defense that's had major issues this year — particularly at the rim — this matchup could get ugly.

UConn ranks sixth in the entire country in 2-point percentage. Meanwhile FAU, ranked 11th in the 14-team American in 2-point percentage defense.

UConn should feast at the rim, giving the Huskies enough juice to overcome FAU’s admittedly potent stable of guards. Watch out for Vlad Goldin foul trouble in this one, too.

No. 3 Illinois vs. No. 6 BYU

By: Matt Cox

Alabama / Charleston’s opening-round tilt will have all the over eyeballs, but this matchup could be historic, too. The Illini offense has surpassed the 90-point threshold five times in the last seven games.

BYU will enter into a handshake agreement to run, and the scoreboard could erupt because of it.

Illini’s core lineup features the agile Coleman Hawkins at the 5, but Dain Dainja’s recent emergence gives Brad Underwood a dose of "Thunder" to Coleman’s "Lightning."

This will be useful against BYU’s diverse frontline, from block baron Fousseyni Traore to dime dropping Aly Khalifa.

The Cougars’ offense is prolific but engaging in a track meet with Terrence Shannon Jr. is a slippery slope.

No. 2 Iowa State vs. No. 10 Drake

By: Jim Root

Drake has edges in this specific matchup, most notably its defensive rebounding and ability to take care of the ball.

However, you can't simulate the maniacal pressure Iowa State throws at you. Tamin Lipsey and Keshon Gilbert both rank in the top 75 nationally in steal rate; the entire MVC has zero players in the top 75.

The Cyclones are a completely different animal.

I also can't forget Drake’s last NCAA tournament foray. The Bulldogs managed one point in the final 5:30 against Miami (FL) last year, a significantly worse defense than this Iowa State version.

Drake is now a better offensive team, as well, but the athleticism deficiencies could emerge again in crunch time.

East Region: Sweet 16

(4) Auburn vs. (8) FAU

2 – 1

(6) BYU vs. (10) Drake

2 – 1

No. 8 FAU vs. No. 4 Auburn

By: Matt Cox

The Owls are the chameleon of this tournament — as they proved last season — able to adapt to a myriad of opposing styles.

However, they do lack some interior fortitude, particularly at the 4 spot, which is where Jaylin Williams could feast. Johni Broome, a revived shooting threat, could also pull away Vlad Goldin from the rim, or punish FAU for doubling with his adept passing.

However, the Owls’ backcourt has a slight edge — both in depth and experience — and they thrive in transition, which is where this game will inevitably be won.

The matchup edge(s) may look sparse on the surface, but I trust Dusty May and his shape-shifting group to "figure it out on the fly" as they have so frequently the last two seasons.

No. 6 BYU vs. No. 10 Drake

By: Jim Root

Forgive me, Darian DeVries — I swear I think your Bulldogs are terrific! This is not an ideal matchup against the high-variance Cougars, though.

Drake’s defense is vulnerable from beyond the arc. Because they're one of the country’s worst shot-blocking teams (354th in block rate, per KenPom), the Bulldogs prefer to establish a compact shell and force jumpers over the top (252nd in defensive 3-point attempt rate).

On the other side, Mark Pope’s Cougars bomb away at one of the country’s highest rates. If BYU is knocking down shots, the Cougars could rain in 15+ from beyond the arc.

One small caveat — every A-10 became a certified bricklayer in this building during that league’s conference tournament. Perhaps relying on shooting will be BYU’s downfall.

East Region: Elite Eight

(4) Auburn vs. (10) Drake

3 – 0

South Region: First Round

(1) Houston vs. (16) Longwood

3 – 0

(8) Nebraska vs. (9) Texas A&M

2 – 1

(5) Wisconsin vs. (12) James Madison

3 – 0

(4) Duke vs. (13) Vermont

3 – 0

(6) Texas Tech vs. (11) NC State

2 – 1

(3) Kentucky vs. (14) Oakland

3 – 0

(7) Florida vs. (10) Boise State/Colorado

2 – 1

(2) Marquette vs. (15) Western Kentucky

3 – 0

No. 9 Texas A&M vs. No. 8 Nebraska

By: Matt Cox

Gritty not pretty is the theme of this Texas A&M pick. The Aggies’ abhorrent half-court offense has been partly remedied by freakish play of Manny Obaseki, especially in transition.

Obaseki’s offensive outburst is enormous, as it allows Buzz Williams to deploy another long-limbed defender against Keisei Tominaga and Brice Williams for the Huskers.

As dominant as Nebraska has been down the stretch, the old rebounding warts still linger — the ‘Skers were dead last in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding and 11th in defensive rebounding, per KenPom.

Buzz’s recipe has always been to "win the extras," and Nebraska offers relatively little resistance to that path.

No. 11 NC State vs. No. 6 Texas Tech

By: Matt Cox

Ride the hot hand, and feathery feet of DJ Burns Jr., who’s primed for a NCAA tournament breakout.

Texas Tech’s brittle frontline hangs in the balance with Warren Washington’s health still up in the air, and Burns could pounce on this soft spot.

The Wolfpack guards aren’t too shabby, either, and they’ll need to bring their shotmaking toolkit to keep pace with Pop Isaacs and company.

Going against Grant McCasland in the tournament feels foolish, but this year’s rendition is a different makeup than his blueprint at North Texas — again, Washington and Darrion Williams’ availability looms large in this one.

No. 10 Boise State/Colorado vs. No. 7 Florida

By: Ky McKeon

Colorado has dealt with injuries all season, but it appear to be fully healthy and peaking at the right time.

Freshman phenom Cody Williams is back in the fold, and Tristan da Silva has ramped back up to his dominant self.

Led by one of the best guards in the country in KJ Simpson, the Buffs have the goods to take down a Florida team that's suddenly short one of its best big men in Micah Handlogten.

South Region: Round of 32

(1) Houston vs. (8) Nebraska

3 – 0

(4) Duke vs. (12) James Madison

3 – 0

(3) Kentucky vs. (6) Texas Tech

2 – 1

(2) Marquette vs. (7) Florida

3 – 0

No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 3 Kentucky

By: Jim Root

Kentucky’s talent is undeniable, particularly on the perimeter. Still, John Calipari refuses to start his best players, constantly bringing Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard into the game with a deficit already established.

The Wildcats are plenty good enough to frequently overcome that, but against well-coached competition, that becomes more difficult.

Calipari’s squad also has major defensive issues, and Texas Tech will happily take advantage of them.

This is, by far, Grant McCasland’s best offensive team, with two point guards marauding all over the floor amid gaps created by mega-lethal perimeter shooters.

If UK slips up or simply gets lazy in ball screens, the Red Raiders will light it up.

Having Warren Washington and Darrion Williams at or near full strength would be incredibly beneficial. Williams’ status sounds more promising than Washington’s, though McCasland did say his center has returned to practice recently.

South Region: Sweet 16

(1) Houston vs. (4) Duke

3 – 0

(2) Marquette vs. (3) Kentucky

2 – 1

No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Marquette

By: Ky McKeon

I don’t want to be “that guy," but Shaka Smart in the NCAA tournament has been no bueno since that VCU Final Four run. He’s made nine Big Dances since that 2011 season with three programs and has failed to reach the second weekend in all of them.

Kentucky’s top gear is arguably the top gear in the country. The Cats have a wealth of NBA talent and are the nation’s No. 1 3-point shooting squad.

With Tyler Kolek less than 100%, UK is licking its chops.

South Region: Elite Eight

(1) Houston vs. (2) Marquette

3 – 0

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Midwest Region: First Round

(1) Purdue vs. (16) Grambling/Montana State

3 – 0

(8) Utah State vs. (9) TCU

3 – 0

(5) Gonzaga vs. (12) McNeese

3 – 0

(4) Kansas vs. (13) Samford

3 – 0

(6) South Carolina vs. (11) Oregon

3 – 0

(3) Creighton vs. (14) Akron

3 – 0

(7) Texas vs. (10) Virginia/Colorado State

3 – 0

(2) Tennessee vs. (15) Saint Peter's

3 – 0

Midwest Region: Round of 32

(1) Purdue vs. (9) TCU

3 – 0

(4) Kansas vs. (5) Gonzaga

3 – 0

(3) Creighton vs. (11) Oregon

2 – 1

(2) Tennessee vs. (7) Texas

2 – 1

No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 11 Oregon

By: Ky McKeon

I’m going with experience. Creighton is the eighth-most experienced team in the country and led by a quadrumvirate of upperclassmen.

Two NBA-caliber wings in Baylor Scheierman and Trey Alexander flank a sharpshooting point guard in Steven Ashworth. A dominant two-way center in Ryan Kalkbrenner holds down the fort.

Despite Oregon’s size, it’s been a sieve in the paint this season defensively. And the Ducks lack the firepower to overwhelm the Jays.

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 7 Texas

By: Ky McKeon

Rick Barnes ain’t losing to his old team. Rick Barnes ain’t losing to Rodney Terry. This Tennessee team is different — this Tennessee team has Dalton Knecht.

Where many of Barnes’ previous Vol squads have fallen short on the offensive end, this team can score and ranked top-30 nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. Knecht gives them an extra gear, and the Vols are pushing tempo this season, rather than playing exclusively in the half-court.

Tennessee still has that elite defense as well, and it has plenty of guys to throw at Dylan Disu and a bulldog to hound Max Abmas.

Midwest Region: Sweet 16

(1) Purdue vs. (5) Gonzaga

3 – 0

(7) Texas vs. (11) Oregon

2 – 1

No. 7 Texas vs. No. 11 Oregon

By: Ky McKeon

I can’t believe I’m going to defend Rodney Terry against Dana Altman. What are my colleagues doing taking Texas over Tennessee in the first place?

Talent wins out in this game, though. Texas has a top-20 offense and a ton of go-go with Max Abmas leading the way.

Nobody on Oregon can defend Dylan Disu in space and Dillon Mitchell is a cheat code defensively.

Texas ranks top-five nationally in experience — old guards win in March, and the Longhorns have a bunch of them.

Midwest Region: Elite Eight

(1) Purde vs. (11) Oregon

3 – 0

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West Region: First Round

(1) North Carolina vs. (16) Howard/Wagner

3 – 0

(8) Mississippi State vs. (9) Michigan State

2 – 1

(5) Saint Mary's vs. (12) Grand Canyon

2 – 1

(4) Alabama vs. (13) Charleston

3 – 0

(6) Clemson vs. (11) New Mexico

2 – 1

(3) Baylor vs. (14) Colgate

3 – 0

(7) Dayton vs. (10) Nevada

2 – 1

(2) Arizona vs. (15) Long Beach State

3 – 0

No. 8 Mississippi State vs. No. 9 Michigan State

By: Matt Cox

Mississippi State is in an odd situation, playing its best ball of the year in spite of its best player’s recent struggles. Chris Jans is a master of his craft, however, ably tweaking his rotations to work around Tolu Smith’s injury rust.

Jimmy Bell Jr. and KeShawn Murphy are providing 20 stout minutes combined at the 5, which is where Michigan State is weakest — even if Izzo decides to unleash fresh five-star talent Xavier Booker.

The prevailing edge is defensively, where Mississippi State’s perimeter length and physicality should bother Sparty’s guards. Josh Hubbard is the outlier, but his defensive activity and shotmaking more than compensate for his lack of size.

Don’t be seduced by the “Izzo in March” narrative, especially against an elite X&O coach (Jans), who has, arguably, the tougher team.

No. 12 Grand Canyon vs. No. 5 Saint Mary's

By: Jim Root

Saint Mary’s has typically been mostly upset-proof because of its scheme and the fact it simply doesn't beat itself with turnovers or poor shot selection.

The scheme is what concerns me here, though.

Saint Mary’s defends ball screens with two guys (the ball-handler and the screener’s defenders only), refusing to help off the wings. That takes away open triples, but it can be vulnerable to efficient individual scorers out of that scheme.

Mid-range assassins can feast against the Gaels. And GCU has multiple lethal self-creators in Ray Harrison and Tyon Grant-Foster, both of whom are plenty capable of hurting that coverage.

Additionally, Grand Canyon has an athleticism advantage here, especially with Gaels forward Joshua Jefferson done for the season. That can help the Antelopes play up to SMC’s level in a single-game elimination setting.

No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 11 New Mexico

By: Jim Root

I am full bore on the #FadeMountainWest train, and this one sets up well for me to be in the minority against a potential NCAA tournament darling.

Clemson did its best work this season away from home in the non-conference. In a wonderfully fortuitous coincidence, the NCAA tournament is played away from home and largely against non-conference foes!

The Tigers are a mega-experienced bunch, ranking 27th in KenPom’s D-I experience statistic, which meshes well with their “away from home” strength.

PJ Hall should be a matchup problem here, even for burgeoning Lobos star JT Toppin. And though New Mexico can pick on Joe Girard III off the bounce, Brad Brownell’s fundamentally sound defensive shell is tough to navigate.

Clemson also ranks 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense at the rim, which could be an issue for a rim-reliant Lobos offense.

No. 10 Nevada vs. No. 7 Dayton

By: Matt Cox

Man, Dayton can’t buy a break. On top of its injury-riddled issues, it drew the short end of the stick in its opening round draw.

Nevada isn’t a terrifying matchup on paper, but the Flyers will have to cross two time zones and play in altitude in Nevada’s backyard (Salt Lake City).

Granted, there’s no black and white data that proves this is a substantial edge to the Pack, but Nevada is far more used to playing in elevation and utilizes a deeper bench than the Flyers, which could take its toll in the second half.

West Region: Round of 32

(1) North Carolina vs. (9) Michigan State

2 – 1

(4) Alabama vs. (5) Saint Mary's

3 – 0

(3) Baylor vs. (11) New Mexico

2 – 1

(2) Arizona vs. (7) Dayton

3 – 0

No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 1 North Carolina

By: Matt Cox

This projects as one of the shortest 1 v 8/9 spreads in recent memory. UNC’s lackluster analytical profile likely makes it a small favorite over the Spartans if this matchup comes to fruition.

Defending Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram could be an issue, but I trust Michigan State’s transition defense to at least keep UNC’s fast-break attack at bay.

The Spartans' overreliance on mid-range pull ups is bothersome, but their ability to value possessions and defend in the half-court should help them keep this within striking distance.

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No. 11 New Mexico vs. No. 3 Baylor

By: Ky McKeon

It’s been proven time and time again that March is defined by good guard play. New Mexico doesn’t just have one guy who can take over a game and become a household name — it has three.

In Donovan Dent, Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr., Richard Pitino has three players who can create their own shot and put the team on their back in crunch time.

And Baylor’s defense? It was the third worst in the Big 12 this season.

West Region: Sweet 16

(1) North Carolina vs. (4) Alabama

2 – 1

(2) Arizona vs. (3) Baylor

2 – 1

No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 North Carolina

By: Ky McKeon

Few teams in the past 20 years have been as explosive as this Alabama team. While the Tide have taken their lumps and suffered their share of losses, they can also beat anyone in the country when their offense is humming.

Only UConn has better Adjusted Offensive Efficiency this season.

We’ve seen UNC fail to contain great transition offenses like Kentucky and UConn this season, and Alabama head coach Nate Oats has the clipboard edge on UNC’s Hubert Davis.

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 3 Baylor

By: Ky McKeon

Tommy Lloyd hasn’t found success in March just yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming. Arizona’s ceiling is the scariest, and it could turn into the most dominant team in the country.

It’s floor is losing to Stanford or Oregon State.

Here’s to hoping the Wildcats play more like the former.

With the eighth-ranked offense and 12th-ranked defense, per KenPom, Arizona is one of the three most balanced teams in the country, alongside UConn and Auburn.

The Cats are big, they can shoot and they can ram it down your throat in the open floor.

West Region: Elite Eight

(1) North Carolina vs. (3) Baylor

2 – 1

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Baylor

By: Jim Root

Taking a devil’s advocate angle here, despite immense love for Baylor in this year’s tournament.

Remember, a worse UNC team blasted a better Baylor team in the 2022 NCAA tournament (I’m choosing to ignore that it went to OT after vital Tar Heel Brady Manek got ejected).

Baylor has real defensive issues, some of which come from switching too liberally on the perimeter. If you do that against UNC, Elliot Cadeau will live in the lane and find easy baskets with his dazzling passing vision.

Oh, and All-American scorer RJ Davis will set fire to the nets against slower defenders.

On the other end, UNC is a sneaky stout defensive squad, making the rim a no-fly zone and dominating the glass – a major key against Baylor’s offensive glass zeal.

Final Four

(3) Baylor vs. (4) Auburn

2 – 1

(1) Houston vs. (1) Purdue

2 – 1

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 4 Auburn

By: Matt Cox

Mmmm, a potential rematch of the season opening shootout at the Pentagon!

Baylor is categorically different at this stage in the season, however, no longer "running and gunning" with reckless abandon. The Bears’ in-season evolution is partially driven by its brutal Big-12 slate, but Baylor’s offense is more "efficient" than it is "electrifying."

Baylor played at the slowest offensive pace in the conference, but it sported the league’s top efficiency mark of 1.13 points per possession.

Keep an eye on Langton Love — a pivotal piece on both sides of the ball — for Baylor. A deep tournament run will likely have his fingerprints all over it. Remember, Love missed last year’s Round of 32 loss against Creighton after re-injuring himself against UC Santa Barbara in the opening round.

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 1 Purdue

By: Jim Root

Here it is, Purdue guards: The ultimate test of your renewed ability to take care of the ball. Can Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer handle 40 minutes of Jamal Shead and Emanuel Sharp taking up residence in their personal space?

Smith has been terrific this season, but the turnover issues have flared up on occasion. Houston will also trap ball screens with length, taking away Smith’s favorite elbow pull-up jumper.

The burning question, though, is whether Houston can handle Zach Edey with a shorthanded frontcourt. JoJo Tugler’s ludicrous wingspan is no longer an option after he had foot surgery, and Ja’Vier Francis will likely struggle with foul trouble in this matchup.

Can freshman Cedric Lath soak up some minutes against Edey?

Ultimately, I think Houston mucks this game up into a slog, with Sharp and LJ Cryer hitting enough tough jumpers for Houston to pull out the victory.

2024 National Championship

(1) Purdue vs. (4) Auburn

3 – 0

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May 22, 2024 UTC