NCAA Bracket 2021: Printable Bracket Preparation and Top Challenge Games

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 13, 2021

Michigan fans cheer in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game between Maryland and Michigan at the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis, Friday, March 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

When the sports world shut down in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the casualties was that year's March Madness. With the NCAA men's basketball tournament's cancelation, fans also lost the chance to fill out brackets.

You don't even have to be a college basketball fan to try to predict how the 68-team tournament will unfold and then join a group with your friends, family, coworkers or even online strangers.

While this year's NCAA tournament will look a little different (every game is taking place in the Indianapolis area), March Madness is back. And Bleacher Report has all your needs covered with Selection Sunday on the horizon:

Bracket Challenge Game – Join the Bleacher Report Group

Start Your 2021 Bracket

Watch Selection Show Live

If you want to have a blank bracket ready to fill out for the selection show Sunday evening (which airs at 6 p.m. ET on CBS), then NCAA.com has those available.

Here are some other bracket challenges from around the internet, followed by a look at some of the early favorites to win the national title this year.


Bracket Challenges

ESPN Tournament Challenge (chance to win $10,000 Amazon gift card, trip to 2021 Maui Invitational)

Yahoo Tourney Pick'Em (chance to win cash prizes, Las Vegas getaway)

Capital One NCAA Bracket Challenge

CBS Sports Bracket Games (chance to win prizes)


Early Tournament Favorites

Gonzaga is going to be the No. 1 overall seed for the men's NCAA tournament, and it will have the chance to do something special. There hasn't been a team go undefeated and win the national title since Indiana in the 1975-76 season.

Having won its first 26 games and the West Coast Conference tournament championship, Gonzaga is one of the early favorites. However, history isn't on the Bulldogs' side, as they have never won a national title and only once reached the Final Four (2017).

Still, this season could be different for Gonzaga, which faced some tough non-conference competition before rolling through its WCC slate. Not to mention that the Bulldogs haven't lost a game since Feb. 22, 2020.

Entering Saturday, ESPN's Joe Lunardi projected Baylor, Illinois and Michigan to be the other No. 1 seeds for the tournament.

Baylor fell short of winning the Big 12 tournament for the first time, as it was knocked off by Oklahoma State in the semifinals Friday. Still, the Bears were the regular-season conference champions and have a 22-2 record.

Illinois and Michigan have both made the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The Fighting Illini will take on Iowa, while the Wolverines are set to face Ohio State. All four teams could be dangerous in March Madness, as they are all among the top nine teams in the AP Top 25 poll.

While anything could happen during March Madness, and history could always be made, it's been risky to pick against No. 1 seeds over the years.

According to NCAA.com's Eric Vander Voort, there have been 22 No. 1 seeds to win the national title in the 35 men's NCAA tournaments held since 1985 (when the field was expanded to 64 teams).