2024 NCAA Tournament East Region Preview: March Madness Upsets, Picks, Bets, and Bracket

2024 NCAA Tournament East Region Preview: March Madness Upsets, Picks, Bets, and Bracket

The 68-team field for March Madness is set! The East Region bracket games will occur across three locations for the first two rounds before heading to Boston for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games. Spokane, Washington, Brooklyn, New York, and Omaha, Nebraska, will host these first two rounds. Let’s take a look at the 2024 NCAA Tournament East Region March Madness preview, upsets, picks, bets, and bracket!

UConn took the No. 1 overall seed for the 2024 NCAA Tournament and landed as the top dog in the East Region. They will take on No. 16 seeded Stetson, the Atlantic Sun Tournament champions.

The Huskies have high hopes this season. The last team to go back-to-back as national champions in the NCAA Tournament was the 2006-2007 Florida Gators, and the defending champion Huskies are hoping to change that in this year’s tournament.

Iowa State nabbed the No. 2 seed and will face the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. Illinois took home the BIG 10 championship and the No.3 seed. They’ll face Morehead State. The Auburn Tigers are the No. 4 seed for the East Region and will face the Yale Bulldogs.

San Diego State is the No. 5 seed. They’ll head to Spokane to face UAB. The No. 6 seed goes to BYU. The Cougars will take on Duquesne, while No. 7 Washington State will face Drake. Finally, the No. 8 Florida Atlantic Owls will take on the Wildcats of Northwestern in Brooklyn.

As the conference tournaments, and let’s be honest, most of the 2023-2024 college basketball season proved, the madness started early this year, and we hope it isn’t going to end anytime soon. Now it’s time to dive into the upsets, the picks, and the best bets for this East Region bracket.

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2024 NCAA Tournament East Region Preview: March Madness Upsets, Picks, Bets, and Bracket

Best Bet: UAB Blazers +6.5 (-110 Caesars Sportsbook)

The No. 12 UAB Blazers take on the No. 5 Aztecs on Friday, March 22nd, for their first-round game. The Blazer had a record of 23-11 this season coming off of a close loss in the NIT championship game in 2023. This team knows how to make a postseason run, and they could be a live dog in this game. UAB is 20-12-1 ATS this year, while their counterparts SDSU are 12-16-1.

Last season, the Aztecs made a Cinderella run to the Final Four. Is this year’s team Final Four bound? They could very well build on last year’s run and make a run of their own in 2024. However, if they are going to make that run, it’ll start with a tough challenge in what I see as a close game against the Blazers.

Favorite To Win East Region and Make Final Four – Iowa State (+550 FanDuel)

UConn, of course, is atop the odds board at +120 and will be a tough out before the final four. However, this Iowa State team is the epitome of the word team. There isn’t one star who steals the show, not one player who carries the team on his back. This is a team who rely on each other to win games.

Iowa State is carried by their tough defense, ranked second in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom. T.J. Otzelberger’s team has wins over Houston and Kansas in the regular seed. In the Big 12 tournament, Iowa State beat Houston (the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament) again to win the Big 12 title.

Dark Horse to Win East Region and Make Final Four – Washington State (+2900 FanDuel)

A season ago, this Cougars team was a 17-17 team that lost in the first round of the NIT. Fast-forward to this season, and Kyle Smith has led quite the turnaround. Washington State ended the season on a 13-3 run that included beating the Arizona Wildcats twice.

Back to defense wins championships, Washington State was ranked 25th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KemPom. If one of these longer shots can make the Cinderella Final Four run, it just might be the 29/1 Cougars.

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First-Round Upset – Yale Bulldogs (+525 DraftKings)

The No. 13 seed Bulldogs have a tall task facing the No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers. Yale is another team with a strong defense and a team that shares the ball. Seven-footer Danny Wolf can play the whole floor including shooting 37% from three-point range. While the Bulldogs have four other players averaging double digits.

Auburn had a strong record this season, but it was built on the foundation of a weak schedule. They won the SEC tournament, but as a No. 4 seed, they didn’t have to face anyone seeded higher than them. They lost to Tennessee and Kentucky when they played each SEC rival convincingly. While Auburn should win this game, if they don’t take Yale seriously, this could be a huge upset bracket buster.

East Region Preview Bracket

2024 NCAA Tournament East Region Preview: March Madness Upsets, Picks, Bets, and Bracket

 

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