NCAA Tournament Picks: NESN.com Experts Make Their Bracket Selections

Gonzaga or bust?

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March 18, 2021

It’s March, which means everyone’s an expert when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.

The Big Dance returns this year after last year’s COVID-19 hiatus, and with that comes an inflated sense of college hoops intelligence from folks who, quite frankly, watched about 28 minutes of basketball all year.

But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

Here at NESN.com, we’re no different. Our “experts” have looked over the brackets, run the data, tested the model and put the eye test to work and have come away with these picks for the Final Four and national championship.

LOGAN MULLEN
Final Four: Gonzaga, UConn, Baylor, Oklahoma State
National championship: Baylor over Gonzaga

SEAN McGUIRE
Final Four: Gonzaga, UConn, Baylor, West Virginia
National championship: Gonzaga over Baylor

DAKOTA RANDALL
Final Four: Gonzaga, Alabama, Villanova, Illinois
National championship: Gonzaga over Illinois

BEN WATANABE
Final Four: Kansas, Michigan, Baylor, Houston
National championship: Michigan over Houston

MIKE COLE
Final Four: Gonzaga, Alabama, Purdue, Houston
National championship: Houston over Gonzaga

RICKY DOYLE
Final Four: Gonzaga, Alabama, Ohio State, Illinois
National championship: Gonzaga over Illinois

As you can see, we feel strongest about Gonzaga reaching the Final Four, as everyone but Ben has the Bulldogs reaching the national title game let alone the semis.

“My head tells me the Bulldogs will choke again, but my heart tells me this is the year Gonzaga exorcises its March Madness demons,” Dakota said upon submitting his picks.

He’s certainly not alone in feeling that way. More than 50 percent of brackets filled out at ESPN have the Zags in the Final Four, while 35 percent of all brackets have the Bulldogs cutting down the nets in Indianapolis. That’s 20 percent higher than any other selection, with Illinois in a distant second. If it’s leverage you seek, though, perhaps Ben’s bracket is the way to go.

The most off-the-board pick in our group? Well, that’s actually a tie between Logan and Sean, who both have UConn surviving the East region and reaching the Final Four. Less than 1 percent of ESPN brackets see the Huskies reclaiming their spot among the national powers. But it certainly doesn’t feel like a bad pick. The East feels like the most wide-open region of them all, as you could make a legitimate case for six or seven teams to win.

Thumbnail photo via Barbara J. Peneric/USA TODAY Sports Images
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