NCAA Tournament Bracket 2019: Predictions, Odds, Printable Bracket and More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) celebrates after he scored against North Carolina State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Chris Seward/Associated Press

The mad dash to fill out brackets for the 2019 NCAA men's basketball tournament is on. 

Between now and the start of the first-round games Thursday, we'll be able to break down each of the four regions and pick which programs we love the most to advance to the Final Four.

Duke enters as the overwhelming favorite to win the championship, and it is more than deserving of that honor following its dominant campaign when it was at full strength. 

Other top contenders could be more susceptible to upsets, as difficult matchups could strike an unexpectedly early finish to their seasons. 

A printable version of the bracket can be found here on NCAA.com.




Duke (+180; Bet $100 to win $180) 

Gonzaga (+850) 

Virginia (+1100) 

Michigan (+1200) 

Kentucky (+1400) 

Tennessee (+1600) 

Michigan State (+1800) 

North Carolina (+1800) 



Duke Cruises into Final Four

This is far from the boldest prediction, but it's an easy one to make given how well Duke played at the ACC tournament. 

Zion Williamson is an unstoppable force in his own right, and he's joined by potential NBA draft lottery picks Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett. 

If you look at Duke's bracket, there are some potential speed bumps that the Blue Devils might have to manage, but they have the talent and athleticism to deal with anything that is thrown at them. 

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 16: Teammates Zion Williamson #1, RJ Barrett #5, and Tre Jones #3 of the Duke Blue Devils react after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 73-63 in the championship game of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spe
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A second-round matchup against either VCU's Havoc defense or UCF's gigantic 7'6" center Tacko Fall might force other top seeds to stumble, but Duke has the athleticism to break through VCU's press and should be able to move Fall around the court to open up the paint for its talented freshmen. 

If chalk holds, Duke could play Virginia Tech for the second time this season, but the February 26 meeting in Blacksburg, Virginia, can't be taken into account too much since both teams were missing their best players. 

Even with Justin Robinson back in the lineup, the Hokies are going to have trouble containing the power of Williamson. 

Duke's toughest test in the East Region comes from No. 2 seed Michigan State, who carries plenty of experience on the floor and sidelines, as Tom Izzo has guided the Spartans to seven Final Fours. 

Michigan State might be able to match up Nick Ward against Williamson and the duo of Cassius Winston and Matt McQuaid versus Barrett, Reddish and Tre Jones, but it's still going to be a tough ask for the Big Ten team. 

Once Duke reaches the Final Four, the matchups gets tougher if chalk holds, as it could face a Gonzaga team that beat it in November and a potential showdown with an ACC foe in North Carolina or Virginia in the championship.

However, the matchups won't matter to some fans, as Duke's dominance will convince them that no opponent is stopping the Blue Devils at full strength. 


Kentucky Doesn't Make it Out of Opening Weekend

This prediction is much more bold than our first one. 

The Kentucky Wildcats face a difficult pod in Jacksonville, Florida, with either Wofford or Seton Hall awaiting them in the second round. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 16:   Reid Travis #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the semifinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 16, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by A
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In addition to facing a tough second-round matchup, John Calipari's team won't have a significant home-court advantage as it was sent to northern Florida instead of Columbus, Ohio. 

What makes Kentucky's draw so dangerous is the matchup it would face against either the Terriers or Pirates. 

Fletcher Magee, Cameron Jackson and Nathan Hoover form a tricky trio to deal with from Wofford, as all three average over 13 points per game. 

If Seton Hall is the team Kentucky faces Saturday, the Pirates already have a blueprint to beat the Wildcats behind Myles Powell, as Kevin Willard's team knocked off Kentucky in overtime in December. 

Kentucky has the top-level talent on its roster to make a deep run in the tournament, but it's also come up short in three of its four biggest games in SEC play by losing twice to Tennessee and once to LSU. 

The Wildcats aren't invincible, and with a difficult second-round matchup ahead of them, they'll struggle to get into the Sweet 16. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.