NCAA Tournament 2019 bracket picks, optimal predictions from advanced computer model

March Madness 2019 is officially upon us. Over the next three weeks, the remaining teams will slug it out in a winner-take-all, single-elimination NCAA bracket, culminating in the national championship on April 8 in Minneapolis. The 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket includes eight teams from the Big Ten, seven from the ACC, seven from the SEC, and six Big 12 schools. Duke is the No. 1 overall seed and has looked fierce down the stretch now that the Blue Devils have Zion Williamson back in the lineup after missing time with a knee injury. History is on their side too, as four of Duke’s five NCAA Tournament titles came as a 1-seed. However, fellow top seeds North Carolina, Gonzaga and Virginia, as well as formidable contenders like Kentucky, Michigan and Texas Tech will be looking for their own fairy tale ending with a deep run in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. And don’t forget Buffalo, whose 6-seed is the best ever for a MAC team since the NCAA Tournament field expanded. Before you finalize your 2019 March Madness brackets, consult the optimal 2019 NCAA Tournament picks and college basketball predictions from the model at SportsLine.

Their proven projection model has simulated every game in the tournament 10,000 times. It absolutely crushed its March Madness picks last year, finishing in the top five percent of all CBS Sports brackets and calling Villanova to win it all.

It knows how to spot an upset as well. The same model has produced brackets that have nailed 12 of the 18 first-round upsets by double-digit seeds the last three years. It also nailed some massive upsets last year, 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.

There’s simply no reason to rely on luck when there’s proven technology to help you dominate your 2019 NCAA Tournament pools. Now, the model has simulated every possible matchup in the 2019 NCAA Tournament and revealed its optimal bracket. You can only see it over at SportsLine.

If you’re looking for a pick that will give you a huge edge in your 2019 March Madness bracket, SportsLine’s model says you should back No. 5 Marquette with confidence. Look for the Golden Eagles to bounce back from a tough end of the season to make a Sweet 16 run.

The Golden Eagles have a daunting matchup against future NBA lottery pick Ja Morant and the Murray State Racers in the first round. However, their extraordinary ability to shoot the ball gives them a distinct advantage in their 5 vs. 12 game on Thursday. 

Junior guard Markus Howard leads the way for Marquette and averages and astonishing 25 points per game, but he’s not a one-man show. Sam Hauser scores 14.9 points per game for Marquette, while his younger brother Joey adds another 9.7 points. Junior forward Sacar Anim chips in with 8.6 per night and has reached 10 in three straight games. All four players shoot at least 40.8 percent from 3-point range, meaning Murray State will be hard-pressed to find answers for Marquette’s weapons. 

That’s why Marquette advances in 77 percent of SportsLine’s simulations, the highest of any 5-seed. With danger always lurking in 5 vs. 12 games, the SportsLine model is higher on the Golden Eagles than any other school on the five-line in the 2019 NCAA bracket. Don’t be fooled into taking one the Racers to deliver one of the biggest 2019 March Madness upsets.

Another curveball: the No. 9 seed Baylor Bears win the always-tough-to-predict 8 vs. 9 matchup against Syracuse. Baylor went 19-13 this season, but the Bears loaded up on high-quality wins, beating Oregon, Texas Tech, Oklahoma (twice), and Iowa State (twice). And despite being bounced by eventual champions Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament and having lost four straight entering the NCAA Tournament 2019, the model is backing Baylor with confidence. 

The Bears’ primary means of attacking opponents is on the offensive glass. Baylor ranks fourth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (36.6) and gets a first-round matchup with a Syracuse squad that is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams, ranking 310th by grabbing just 69.4 percent of defensive rebounds. 

In its loss to Iowa State, Baylor still out-rebounded the Cyclones 35-32 and grabbed 14 offensive boards to Iowa State’s 10. And in an eight-point loss against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse, Baylor hauled down a whopping 18 rebounds on the offensive end against the Jayhawks’ 12. The Bears’ ability to crash the boards is why the model predicts them to pull off the upset in 53.5 percent of simulations.

So who else makes a deep run in the NCAA Tournament? Visit SportsLine now to see which No. 3 seed reaches the Final Four, and see who wins every single game, all from the model that has nailed 12 of the 18 double-digit upsets in the first round the last three years.

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