2019 March Madness bracket predictions: Advanced computer simulation reveals surprising upsets

The 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket is packed with mid-majors gunning for blue-chip college basketball programs. Bradley won its first MVC title in 31 years and gets a date with Michigan State in the first round. Belmont, out of the OVC, won its First Four game on Tuesday and now plays 6-seed Maryland. And Vermont, from the America East Conference, made the tournament as a 13-seed and now faces 4-seed Florida State in Hartford. These schools and others will try to bust 2019 NCAA Tournament brackets everywhere just like Loyola-Chicago did last season on its way to the Final Four as an 11-seed. When filling out your 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket before it locks on Thursday, you can pick your favorite schools, your favorite mascots, or you can use the science that has been proven to work. That’s why you should see the 2019 March Madness bracket picks and NCAA Tournament predictions from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last year, SportsLine’s computer simulation nailed some massive upsets, including huge wins by No. 13 seed Buffalo over No. 4 seed Arizona, No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago over No. 6 seed Miami, and No. 10 seed Butler over No. 7 seed Arkansas.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has nailed 12 of the 18 first-round upsets by double-digit seeds the past three years. Getting those picks right could literally make or break your March Madness bracket.

Now, SportsLine’s advanced computer model has simulated the entire NCAA Tournament 10,000 times to come up with the perfect 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket, and find out which teams will pull off the biggest upsets. You shouldn’t even think about making a pick without seeing what their model has to say.

What they found: No. 8 seed VCU falls to No. 9 seed UCF in the first round. The Knights take this matchup outright in over 60 percent of simulations, making it one of the computer’s highly confident 2019 March Madness picks. 

UCF’s defense has been among the fiercest in the country all season. The Knights rank 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 28th in points allowed per game (64.3) and 13th in opponent field goal percentage (39.5). Their success on the defensive end is primarily a function of the way they pressure the ball on the perimeter and their towering height in the paint. 

UCF center Tacko Fall stands 7-foot-6, 310 points and is a dominant force when the senior is on the floor, averaging 2.5 blocks and 7.3 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game. By comparison, VCU only has one player on its roster taller than 6-foot-8 (Michael Gilmore is 6-foot-10 and plays just 7.2 minutes per game). Plus, the Rams rely on getting to the rim frequently to score. UCF’s dominating size in the paint is a big reason why the model says the Knights advance to the next round as one of its most confident 8 vs. 9 NCAA Tournament picks.

Another huge curveball: No. 3 seed LSU falls loses in the first round to No. 14 Yale. The Bulldogs won their third Ivy League Tournament over arch-rival Harvard on Sunday, earning revenge after two losses that kept the Bulldogs from winning the regular-season title. James Jones‘ team plays fast (44th in the nation in adjusted tempo according to KenPom) and can score in a variety of ways. 

Yale receives balanced scoring from its guards, off the wing, and in the frontcourt. Miye Oni leads the team with 17.6 points and 3.6 assists per game. As a physical 6-foot-6 shooting guard, he is also second in rebounds with 6.3 per game. Alex Copeland, Blake Reynolds and Jordan Bruner also average double-figures and all four can stretch the floor, as Yale shoots 37.2 percent from beyond the arc. 

The Bulldogs will use their deadly shooting to space the floor and attack the rim, which could be a major problem for an LSU team that has dealt with foul trouble in its frontcourt with Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams. That’s a big reason why the model is calling for 14-seed Yale to pull the stunner against 3-seed LSU.

SportsLine’s model also has one region where you need to pick the Nos. 11, 12 and 13 seeds, and another region with a No. 3 seed in the Final Four. Nailing those picks could literally make or break your bracket.

So what’s the optimal NCAA Tournament 2019 bracket? And which underdogs shock college basketball? Visit SportsLine now to see which No. 3 seed makes the Final Four, and see which region you need to pick the 11, 12, and 13 seeds, all from the model that’s nailed 12 of the 18 double-digit seed upsets the past three years.

Categories: National Sports

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