2022 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions: March Madness expert picks, upsets, favorites to win, results
The Sweet 16 portion of the 2022 NCAA Tournament is upon us now that the first two rounds are complete. Your personal support may be a shambles after the first four days of action, but there’s no shame in that as opening weekend gave us all the surprises and upheavals we could have asked for.
Our experts have spent months preparing for this exact moment. We’ve broken down the tape, looked at the best players and have all the information you need to guide you through your squad on teams from the No. 1 seeds all the way to the No. 16 seeds.
Below, our team has filled in their expert brackets, so consider this a cheat sheet to help you win your pool. Copy whatever you want, we won’t judge. We are here to serve you, and our knowledge is your knowledge. Just know that if we are right and making the right choices, we are absolutely responsible and want the credit, and if not, we want no blame. It’s the rules.
OK, let’s get to the brackets.
Yes, once again, I choose Gonzaga to win the national title. Yes, I know, I’ve done this many times before – and it never worked. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong or stupid to walk away with the Zags this season. Just because they haven’t done it yet doesn’t mean they can’t do it. It just means they haven’t yet – but I sincerely believe that will change early next month. Gonzaga is elite offensively, elite defensively, and packed with top talent. This is the year the Zags do it.
Where will we see chaos this year? It’s inevitable, you know. A nice slice of 68 teams with almost endless possibilities. And here I put Murray State and Vermont in the second weekend. Call me a romantic. But these two teams have won a combined 58-7 and have won 41 of their last 42 games. I’ll ride the hot hand, and yes, that means Murray State can play and beat Kentucky in the second round, a la Loyola Chicago doing the same against Illinois a year ago. (The two mid-majors obviously can never get the state’s big brother to schedule them.) As for my Final Four: Kansas has by far the easier path. This is a default choice. I’ve argued all season that teams as low as the 4 line are good enough to get to New Orleans.
I’ll stick with that and go with regular season co-Big Ten champions Illinois, which is one of the top 4 seeds in recent memory. On the left side of the board, a Gonzaga-Duke regional final in San Francisco would be phenomenal. Gonzaga is considered the best team in the sport, so I’m going to go with Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren’s 1-2 to do it, then stick with my preseason national title pick, Purdue, to go out. what I expect is a loud and entertaining eastern region. Gonzaga is my pick to win the national championship because the 7-1 Holmgren paired with Timme is the best 1-2 in college hoops. Kansas in the title game is more of a value game, and KU has a top five guy in Ochai Agbaji.
Mark Few finally succeeds and makes history. There have been great Gonzaga teams – even some better than this one. But it’s finally the year. GU has the offensive and defensive ceiling to make it happen, and his experience, length, and enhanced athleticism end up being enough. The Bulldogs are writing a tremendous story of college sports redemption after missing a game a year ago.
I’m not going to take any chances picking the No. 1 seed to win it all, but after Gonzaga’s loss to Baylor in the title game last season – especially how he lost – it feels like the Bulldogs are losing some believers. This absolutely should not be the case. This team is just as capable of winning it all as last year’s team that went 31-1 and finished second nationally. His guard game isn’t as strong as it was a year ago, but his frontcourt game is even better, led by footwork king Drew Timme and 7-footer teammate Chet Holmgren, the favorite for become No. 1 in this year’s draft.
For a team as dominant as Arizona has been this season, the Wildcats have somewhat slipped off the radar due to playing in the Pac-12, which returned to mediocrity in 2021. make no mistake, however. Arizona is an elite college basketball team with all the makings of a national title winner. With an excellent duo of rim protectors in Christian Koloko and Oumar Ballo, the Wildcats tick the defensive box. However, the offense is where they thrive. First-year coach Tommy Lloyd has implemented Gonzaga’s philosophy perfectly, and he has a deep rotation of quality guards and wings capable of delivering it, led by a potential lottery pick in Bennedict Mathurin.
It’s not one of the most talented teams Bill Self has had in Kansas, but it’s extremely confident and getting into shape with full health and top-notch basketball heading into the NCAA Tournament. I like their versatility in terms of how many different players can get buckets while having a true alpha in Ochai Agbaji. Picking the Jayhawks for the Final Four was easier than pulling the title trigger, because I think Arizona and Kentucky are both worthy contenders to win it all. Elsewhere in the range I have some upsets with a top seed with Baylor pulling out early against a high-variance UNC team and Gonzaga falling in the Sweet 16 against a UConn team that might be the most dangerous team in outside the top 4 seeded lines on the ground.
The time has come for Gonzaga to finally finish the job. For the second straight season, the Bulldogs are the No. 1 seed overall. They are built differently this time. While Drew Timme remains, power guard Jalen Suggs has been replaced by C Chet Holmgren, a rim protector who is changing the way the Zags defend. He can also score from anywhere on the floor. It will not be an easy path. Winning six games in this tournament never is. But I think the Zags will finally have their moment of glory.
Mark Few takes on his protege Tommy Lloyd, a result no one saw coming from the Wildcats before the start of the season. But Gonzaga is a team on a mission after nearly running the board a year ago and failing at the final stage. In a fun top-down game, the Bulldogs have the best point guard, the best talent in the NBA, and the best player in college basketball. This Gonzaga team isn’t last year’s team and is a bit more flawed, but it’s definitely good enough to finish the job.
Pressure is the Big Ten. Nine teams – 64% of the league and 13% of the bracket – populate the NCAA Tournament. With so many teams there is huge pressure to make a dent. The Big Ten didn’t make it last year despite having nine teams as well. This despite the fact that the entire tournament was played in one of the conference capitals, Indianapolis. Ohio State was knocked down by Oral Roberts. Purdue lost to North Texas. Illinois was beaten by Loyola-Chicago. Here we go again with six of the nine top-ranked Big Ten teams in their first games. I like Purdue and Iowa to get to New Orleans. The Boilers and Hawkeyes would make their first Final Four appearance since 1980. Iowa has been a resilient scoring force all season and underseeded at No. 5. Purdue has been in the top 10 all season with a usually important front line and Big Ten guard Jaden Ivey. It helps the Big Ten look in the mirror. That didn’t stop Arizona from winning it all, on the 25th anniversary of Lute Olson’s championship team in 1997.
Following a loss to rival North Carolina in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game and the failure of the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils are left with just one opportunity to win. send Coach K into retirement with panache. That opportunity lies in this erratic grouping giving the Hall of Fame coach his sixth national title, and it looks like the NCAA Tournament Committee has paved the way for that possibility. The Blue Devils have a relatively modest road to the Final Four, with the exception of top seed Gonzaga, whom they already beat 84-81 in November. If the Blue Devils find themselves in the Final Four, expect them to finish the job and let Coach K’s critics bubble up.