NCAA Tournament 2019 bracket picks and predictions from advanced computer model

 cbssports.com  03/19/2019 13:21:00   CBS Sports Staff

The 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket has been released and 68 teams will take the floor this week hoping for their "One Shining Moment." Last year, all eyes were on 11-seed Loyola-Chicago, which upset Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kansas State on its way to the Final Four. It was a storybook run that made Sister Jean a household name. This year, the ACC has three No. 1 seeds, with Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia being joined by Gonzaga on the top line. Those teams are front-runners to win the national championship on April 8, but they'll face every team's strongest effort during March Madness 2019. Those who understand the matchups have the strongest shot of winning their 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket pools and the bragging rights that come with it. So before you fill out your 2019 March Madness brackets, use the 2019 NCAA Tournament picks and predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

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 are coming off a strong 24-9 season in which they finished second in the Big East and had several head-turning victories. They defeated Louisville, Kansas State, and Wisconsin during the non-conference slate and went 12-6 in the Big East even though they ended the season with a tough stretch. 

The model projects that Marquette bounces back and makes a run to the Sweet 16 now that its offense has turned it around, scoring an average of 83 points in its last three games after failing to break 65 in its three previous contests. The Golden Eagles will start their tournament run with a highly-anticipated 5 vs. 12 matchup against Murray State that has many people calling an early March Madness upset. 

That game will pit Big East Player of the Year Markus Howard against a future top-five pick in the NBA Draft, Murray State's Ja Morant. Both guards are explosive scorers, but the model gives the edge to Howard and Marquette with the expectation that they'll put their recent struggles behind them. Both teams can score, but Marquette is a much better three-point shooting team (39 percent to 34 percent), which is why you should lock in the Golden Eagles to the Sweet 16 as one of your top 2019 March Madness picks.

Another curveball: the No. 9 seed Baylor Bears win the always-tough-to-predict 8 vs. 9 matchup against Syracuse. SportsLine's simulations give Baylor well over a 50 percent chance to advance to the Round of 32 in the West, one of its strongest 2019 NCAA Tournament picks for an 8-9 game. 

The Bears struggled late in the season but have strong guard play, which will make them a tough out during March Madness 2019. Makai Mason is the biggest scoring threat (14.6 points per game), while Mario Kegler (10.7) and Jared Butler (10.1) also contribute double-figures.

Syracuse, meanwhile, dropped five of its last seven down the stretch. The only wins for the Orange during that span came against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, two of the bottom teams in the ACC. The Orange average fewer than 70 points per game, which will pose a major problem against a lockdown Baylor defense that gave up just 67.2 points per outing this season.

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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