March Madness Bracket Picks 2019: Final Four & Championship Predictions

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Getty Former Duke teammates R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson are set to make a lot of money in the NBA.

The first wild week of March Madness is officially in the books, and college basketball fans were left with plenty of reason to be excited about the big dance. While conference tournaments have wrapped up, all attention shifts to the biggest stage – the 2019 NCAA Tournament. A few bubble teams helped their cases over the recent days while others hurt their outlook but now comes the fun of building out brackets.

One thing that we already know for certain is that the potential for a loaded Final Four is highly likely. All sides of the bracket will feature a number of teams capable of making a run, but a few stand out above the rest.

So that’s where we’ll start, by breaking down the bracket outlook and predicting the teams who’ll make it to Minneapolis. It’ll be a region-by-region evaluation to peg the teams who’ll make the Final Four, and will culminate in a pick for the national championship.

East Region Predictions & Pick

I’m having a tough time getting away from the Duke Blue Devils after seeing what they did in the ACC tournament. Their gut-it-out win over the UNC Tar Heels was incredibly impressive, but it goes beyond that. The fact that Zion Williamson is back in business and looks 100 percent is scary for the rest of the country.

They’ll get a tough push from a loaded group which features talent spread across the top 3-4 seeds and multiple possible Cinderella teams beyond that. But betting against Zion, RJ Barrett, Tre Jones, Cam Reddish and the rest of Duke’s young core sounds like a risky decision to make.

It’s worth noting that a second-round matchup against VCU and UCF would be fun, as would a date with Virginia Tech and an Elite Eight game against the Michigan State Spartans. I do think it’s Duke and Michigan State who meet for a chance to go to the title.

Pick: Duke

West Region Prediction & Pick

I saw something interesting from the Florida State Seminoles during the ACC tournament, and it was their ability to win different types of games. Technically, it dated back to before the season, but I loved watching the Seminoles get the job done against the Virginia Cavaliers, a team who defends exceptionally well.

Beyond that, I think they have a deep bench and the playmakers in the likes of Terance Mann and a few talented bigs in Mfiondu Kabengele, Phil Cofer and Chris Kooumadje to do damage. It’s not the popular pick, but I like the outlook. With that said, a date with either Marquette or Murray State in the second round is scary.

Pick: Florida State Seminoles

South Region Prediction & Pick

The Tennessee Volunteers suffered an ugly loss to the Auburn Tigers in the SEC title game, but I’m doing my best to put that aside, as this is one of the best teams in the country. Although the Vols have dealt with a few ups and downs, their overall talent including Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams can compete with any team in the country.

I love Tennessee’s outlook and think they’re a top contender to compete for the NCAA title this year. With that said, a matchup with Duke would be brutal for any team, but it’d be fun to see if the Volunteers could match up with them.

Pick: Tennessee Volunteers

Midwest Prediction & Pick

For ACC fans, the thoughts of a late-tournament matchup between Duke and the North Carolina Tar Heels is exciting to think about. And behind Coby White, Cameron Johnson, Luke Maye and the rest of the core, it’s a very real possibility. Obviously, the Tar Heels are going to have a huge target on their back as always, but I think they’ll make a run to the Final Four.

With the Tar Heels playing at an exceptionally high level and drawing a path to the Final Four that I think they should be able to navigate, I’m expecting a three-team ACC heading to Minneapolis. But the Auburn Tigers could be an interesting Sweet 16 matchup, followed by either the Iowa State Cyclones or Houston Cougars in the Elite Eight.

Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels

Final Four Predictions: Duke, Florida State, Tennessee, UNC

Championship Pick: Duke Blue Devils over Tennessee Volunteers

READ NEXT: NCAA Bracket Sleepers 2019: Buffalo Among Top 5 Cinderellas

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