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

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

We’ve got the March Madness bracket picks for the West Region that you need to check out before filling out your bracket. That means all the best bets, the top picks to help your West Region bracket, the dark horses, and the upsets. Let’s dive into the West Region Preview for the 2024 NCAA tournament.

In a year that featured one of the most unpredictable fields of 68 ever, the West has the potential to emerge as the messiest region of the 2024 NCAA tournament. However, we’ve gone through all the scenarios, crunched all the numbers, and played out all the matchups.

Will North Carolina’s top seeding hold true? Will a true dark horse emerge out of the West? Or is this Arizona’s year to run to the Final Four?

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

Best Bets: New Mexico -2.5, Nevada -1

A few lower-seeded teams in the West Region of the 2024 NCAA tournament bracket are opening as favorites. 10-seed Nevada opened as a 1-point favorite over 7-seed Dayton. 11-seed New Mexico opened as a 2.5-point favorite over 6-seed Clemson.

These are my two best bets in the first round of the West Region.

New Mexico won their conference tournament and is coming into the NCAA tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country. They ran through a gauntlet in the Mountain West and drew Clemson, a team that was widely considered a bubble team.

New Mexico may struggle with the interior size the Tigers bring to the table, but the Lobos’ athleticism and toughness should win out. New Mexico has the offense to score with Clemson if this turns into a track meet. However, they also offer a more capable defense than the Tigers have to offer. New Mexico should roll and cover against an over-seeded Clemson team.

Nevada is walking into a similar situation against Dayton. The Flyers have an offense that can really move, but they have one of the weaker defenses among the top 40 teams in KenPom.

The Wolfpack should be able to get stops when they need to. Nevada should also keep the Flyers on their heels when the Wolfpack is on offense. This is a great matchup for the 10-seed, and they should win outright and cover.

Make sure to have the Lobos and the Wolfpack advancing in your March Madness bracket.

West Region Favorite: Arizona

The North Carolina Tar Heels have the top seed in the West Region, but they’re not the odds on favorite to win the region.

The Tar Heels are currently at +1300 to win the NCAA tournament, while the 2-seed Arizona Wildcats are at +1200.

Arizona knew they were going to end up as one of the top seeds in the NCAA tournament after winning the Pac-12 regular season. The Wildcats got bounced from the PAC-12 tournament by the Oregon Ducks in the semi-final round.

Arizona rolls into March with a 25-8 overall record and a 16-6 conference record. They’re ranked sixth overall in KenPom, with the 8th-ranked Adjusted Offense and 12th-ranked Adjusted Defense.

The Wildcats are led by North Carolina transfer forward Caleb Love. Love comes into the tournament averaging 18.1 points, 3.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game this year. His preseason transfer from Chapel Hill to Arizona makes for an intriguing storyline as we progress through the bracket.

Dark Horse: New Mexico, Nevada

There are many potential Dark Horses coming out of the West Region. Nevada and New Mexico are the 10 and 11 seeds, and they could both go on a run. New Mexico is coming off a conference tournament win and draws Clemson in a very winnable first-round matchup.

The Lobos will face the winner of Baylor/Colgate in round two, which means they’ll probably draw Baylor. New Mexico has the firepower and athleticism to get past the Bears in the second round.

Arizona is the favorite to emerge from the bottom quadrant of the West Region, and they’ve been beatable in March for years. There’s a non-zero chance that if Nevada beats Dayton in the first round, they could get past Arizona in the second round.

The top half of the West Region could end up as a complete mess. Alabama and North Carolina both have the potential to turn into an early exit.

Either Nevada or New Mexico could end up in the Elite Eight or Final Four without a completely ridiculous scenario emerging. Look to sprinkle both to come out of the West Region.

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First Round Upset: (12) Grand Canyon over (5) St. Mary’s (-5)

Upsets are hard to come by in the West Region, but we can still find one really good option to consider when making March Madness bracket picks.

The best place to look for upsets is in the 5-seed/12-seed matchup in the Western Region. 5-seed St. Mary’s opens as only a 5-point favorite over 12-seed Grand Canyon.

First, this number is a bit short. Look for St. Mary’s to get bet up by public money this week, and jump in on Grand Canyon if the line moves to +7 or +8. Also, sprinkle the money line.

Grand Canyon enters the tournament ranked 53rd in KenPom rankings. There’s not exactly a…Grand Canyon between the Lopes and St. Mary’s at 20 overall.

The Lopes are ranked 63rd in Adjusted Offense and 51st in Adjusted Defense. St. Mary’s has a top-20 offense, but their offense is only 45th overall. Grand Canyon can do enough on defense to keep the Gaels from massive runs, and they should be able to find enough offense to stay in the game.

The Lopes also make their free throws, can shoot from beyond the arc, and have a legit future NBA talent in Tyon Grant-Foster. Grand Canyon can do enough small things to keep the game close and has the athleticism to produce game-changing plays.

Also, keep in mind that Grand Canyon has wins against San Diego State and San Francisco on its resume. The Gaels should also be one of the more public sides on Friday night.

Look for Grand Canyon to be one of the teams in the West Region that can bust a bracket.

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

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