Printable March Madness 2021 Bracket: How to Make Picks for 2021 NCAA Tournament

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, left, speaks with guard Jalen Suggs during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Pacific in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Hopefully you stocked up on plenty of printer ink.  

On Sunday, the selection committee unveiled the bracket for the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament. Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois and Michigan occupy the four No. 1 seeds, with the Bulldogs the top overall team in the tourney.

The action will get underway at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday with the First Four. The first round will follow on Friday.

Even by the standards of a traditional college basketball season, the 2020-21 campaign has been almost impossible to read. Traditional blue bloods like Kentucky and Duke have been a disaster, while Alabama is a Top 10 team and Loyola-Chicago occupies a spot in the Top 25.

Dan Wolken @DanWolken

If these championship games are any kind of indicator for what kind of tournament it’s going to be, we are in for a treat

Fans know to expect some tough blows when it comes to their bracket. Upsets happen and favorites bow out earlier than expected. Because of how difficult this year's tournament is to project, a higher number of brackets could wind up in the trashcan by the end of the first weekend.



The full bracket is available at NCAA.com


Tournament Tips

Don't Sleep on Michigan State

Penciling in at least one Big Ten team for the Elite Eight is probably a good idea. The conference has six teams (Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Purdue) in the top 13 on KenPom.com.

Michigan State, meanwhile, hasn't exactly been positively carrying the Big Ten banner. Following a 6-0 start, the Spartans dropped seven of their first nine conference games. 

To the extent peaking at the right time counts for anything, that appears to be happening for Tom Izzo's squad. Over its final six games of the regular season, it upset Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan.

In that victory over the Wolverines, Rocket Watts had a game-high 21 points, and Joey Hauser chipped in with 11 points off the bench. That's the kind of depth that make the Spartans a far more formidable team than the one that started so flatly in conference play.

Don't be surprised if Michigan State outperforms its No. 11 seed, but it will have to beat UCLA in the First Four to get a shot at sixth-seeded BYU.


Go Big on the Zags

This is pretty obvious, but you really have to take whatever sure things you can find in the 2021 tournament.

That Gonzaga's clash with Baylor in December got canceled looms even larger now since the Bulldogs and the Bears are the two best teams in the country. The Zags have a pretty strong case to be No. 1 having beaten Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Gonzaga has already beaten the No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds in its region this season.  The Bulldogs are 3-0 vs Iowa, Kansas and Virginia this season, averaging 99.7 PPG and shooting 58% from the field including 45% from 3. https://t.co/9z4QknjEaB

Corey Kispert and Drew Timme are combining to score nearly 38 points per game, while Jalen Suggs is widely considered one of the top players in the 2021 NBA draft class. Suggs was excellent in the West Coast Conference championship, pouring in 23 points along with five rebounds and five assists.

ESPN @espn

Jalen Suggs has been having a freshman season to remember for the Zags 📈 https://t.co/C8p3OE5WGr

Nobody has more balance than Gonzaga, and this is probably the strongest team in a program that has seen plenty of talent come through the doors.

Head coach Mark Few may finally be able to lift that elusive national championship.


Don't Go with Total Anarchy

Feel free to take some risks, but don't go overboard. At least one No. 1 seed has advanced to the Final Four in eight straight tournaments, and the eventual national champion was a No. 1 seed for three years running.

Everybody loves watching a UMBC upset Virginia in the first round or a semifinal run for Loyola-Chicago, but those are always the exceptions.

In general, resist the urge to embrace the chaos.