We have lastly reached our vacation spot that’s the greatest month in all of sports activities. March Madness has returned with 68 groups all vying to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament and the nationwide championship. The discipline has already been reduce down after First Four motion on Thursday and half of the primary spherical on Friday. 

Many followers have already had to add a few of these dreaded crimson marks to their printable bracket after some stunning upsets on Friday with No. 2 seed Ohio State, No. 4 seed Purdue and No. 5 seed Tennessee all taking place. But issues are prepared to proceed on Saturday with 16 extra video games, and 16 extra probabilities to get issues proper.

Some of the sport’s foremost experts have been following these groups all season lengthy for us at CBS Sports. They know the ins and outs of those groups as a lot as anybody else within the nation. And this crew has taken that data and put it into their brackets together with an explainer for who they’re selecting to win the nationwide championship. Our consultants aren’t telling you how to fill out your personal picks, however fairly are supplying you with a information to how they might choose. Remember to use each useful resource at your disposal when making these important picks in your bracket swimming pools.

March Madness is right here and you may also discover the bracket in nearly each means doable in your machine of selection, which will help you prep for all our Bracket Games as properly. Expanded protection continues all week on CBSSports.com and CBS Sports HQ, our free 24/7 information streaming service that’s watchable on any streaming machine. 

Gary Parrish, College basketball insider

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Predicted champion: Gonzaga

I’ve had Gonzaga ranked No. 1 in my CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 actually day-after-day since final March, simply days after the 2020 NCAA Tournament was abruptly canceled due to the COVID-19 world pandemic. At completely different occasions throughout this season, readers insisted I ought to change Baylor to No. 1 or Michigan to No. 1. But I by no means wavered. 

And there’s completely no motive for me to transfer off of the Zags now. They’re No. 1 in offensive effectivity, No. 10 in defensive effectivity, and No. 4 in tempo. So they’re nice on each ends — they usually play actually, actually quick. That’s powerful for opponents to take care of. They even have two future NBA Draft lottery picks in Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert. That’s additionally powerful for opponents to take care of. So the underside line is straightforward: the Zags are legit and a worthy favourite to win this occasion. They would be the first undefeated nationwide champion since Indiana in 1976.

Matt Norlander, Senior school basketball author

Predicted champion: Illinois

I’m feeling the stress right here. I used to be the one expert in 2019 at CBSSports.com to choose Virginia to win all of it. Repeating that form of soothsaying energy, it is a number of stress on a man. So here is my factor: this bracket might be going to provide up some wild upsets within the first three rounds. This is a singular NCAA Tournament, held in a single location, nonetheless occurring amid a pandemic. But I’m going with three No. 1 seeds and one No. 3 as a result of I’ve maintained for two-plus months now that the groups projected on the No. 1 line really feel a reduce above the remaining. I can not and will not deliver myself to choose all 4 No. 1 seeds, so I’m taking the one non-No. 1 seed (Texas) that has as a lot expertise as another 1. 

And within the title recreation, I’m going with the 2 greatest groups within the sport heading into the Big Dance. Gonzaga has the perfect offense. Illinois is the perfect mixture of offensive acumen and defensive fortitude. Stars galore, with bigs, wings and guards that might make for an epic title recreation. Asking Gonzaga to win six extra video games and make historical past is asking quite a bit. I’d love to see it. First since ’76. But I’m taking Illinois, which has been the perfect staff in school basketball the previous three weeks. In doing so, this system makes up for dropping in 2005 to UNC – and captures its first nationwide title in class historical past. Ayo Dosunmu and his masked mojo turns into an all-time legend when he wins Final Four MOP. 

Jerry Palm, Bracketology expert

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Predicted champion: Gonzaga

It’s lastly Gonzaga’s time. Mark Few has the perfect staff he is had in Spokane and they’re primed for a run to the title. A ultimate with the Illini can be a blast to watch with all of the expertise on the ground. And there’s a soccer taste to these picks. Alabama and Ohio State are additionally within the Final Four, similar to just about yearly in soccer.

Kyle Boone, College basketball author

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Predicted champion: Gonzaga

What’s not to like about these Gonzaga Bulldogs? Two lottery choose skills in Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs. A hyper-efficient bucket in Drew Timme. Balance, and nice depth, at each place. They have all of it. They led the nation this season in scoring margin and are simply the twentieth staff to enter the NCAA Tournament with an unblemished file. I believe they have the products to preserve this factor rolling all the way in which to the end with no tally within the loss column. It’s a bit chalky, certain, however that is the perfect staff within the recreation. 

As for a sleeper? How about Arkansas within the Final Four. It opened the season 13-5 total and in the course of the pack within the SEC. It then went on to win nine-straight, ending second within the SEC and incomes a No. 3 seed. So unquestionably this staff has the products. I’ve lengthy been a proponent of what this staff is able to, so that is me placing my cash the place my mouth is. It will not be straightforward — this is identical area with No. 1 seed Baylor and No. 2 Ohio State — however between Moses Moody, J.D. Notae and Justin Smith this staff has a lot expertise and size to accomplish what it hasn’t since 1995: Make a Final Four. Woo Pig, child.

David Cobb, College basketball author

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Predicted champion: Alabama

The Crimson Tide put to relaxation the notion that they’re ill-suited for a single-elimination match by capturing the SEC Tournament crown whereas taking pictures simply 29.7% from 3-point vary of their final two video games of the occasion. So what occurs if Alabama begins taking pictures higher than 35% from past the arc? It might occur, and if it does, this squad’s distinctive offensive type might carry it to historical past. As for Rutgers making the Elite Eight? The Scarlet Knights have been robbed of an look final season due to the pandemic however have lastly made it again to the Big Dance for the primary time since 1991. With a good draw that options a gap recreation in opposition to a Clemson squad that appeared dangerous within the ACC Tournament, the Scarlet Knights may have an important probability to make some noise. After navigating the Big Ten gauntlet, dealing with a gritty Houston staff within the second spherical will not intimidate this squad.

Chip Patterson, College basketball author  

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Predicted champion: Alabama

The Crimson Tide play at a relentless tempo, shoot a ton of threes and defend at an elite stage. In an NCAA Tournament which may be mentally exhausting at occasions due to the strict protocol and bubble-ish existence in Indiana, the final opponent you need to face is Alabama. The Tide need to run, rise up in your face on protection and might change the fortunes of a recreation in three minutes or much less in the event that they get scorching from 3-point vary or pressure a pair fast turnovers. It’s a blue-collar staff that welcomes the grind, and that mentality will repay throughout the ups and downs of an unprecedented NCAA Tournament.

Dennis Dodd, Senior author

Predicted champion: Gonzaga

Sometimes it’s best not to overthink things. The only team that can beat Gonzaga is … Gonzaga. They’ve got everything — backcourt, experience, coaching. And 26-0 isn’t bad either. It looks like the Zags won’t face much push back until the West Regional final against Iowa. Luka Garza may have to be accounted for in addition to the pesky Joe Weiskamp. But who am I to choose in opposition to the overwhelming favourite? Gonzaga to win all of it. Isaiah Livers‘ harm makes Michigan early upset meat in a loaded East bracket. That means if I used to be taking one staff to get Gonzaga I’d take three-seed Texas in an upset out of the East Regional; in a single nationwide semifinal. The Horns are on a Cinderella excessive after successful the Big 12 Tournament. This is the staff Shaka Smart has been attempting to construct for six years.

Click here to enlarge Dodd’s bracket

Tim Doyle, CBS Sports HQ analyst

Click here to enlarge Doyle’s bracket

Predicted champion: Iowa

The greatest state within the United States, Iowa, might be house to this years National Champion! Why is it the perfect state? Because they care about two issues: sports activities and beer (two issues I like too). The Hawkeyes boast the National Player of the Year in Luka Garza and they are going to be “thrilled” to get out of the gauntlet that’s the Big Ten Conference. They have skilled guards, can shoot the three and their protection has clearly improved. They will clearly see Gonzaga within the Elite Eight to go to the Final Four. I assure no matter venue they play at might be “packed” with Iowa followers and that unfold will between 3-4 factors favoring the Zags. Gonzaga gained the earlier assembly of those two groups 99-88 in December. I’ll take my probabilities in that recreation and win that recreation, the remaining is easy crusing! Go Hawkeyes! 



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