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March Madness 2021 - Predictions from Expert NCAA Analysts

Selection Sunday has come and passed, which means it’s time to start filling out those brackets! (Don’t worry about finding one, you can download our branded bracket right here.) Soon enough, much of your time will be consumed watching basketball, talking about basketball, thinking about basketball, and either cheering or yelling in disappointment at at least a few March Madness games.

To help you figure out how to optimize your March Madness bracket selections this year, we’ve put together NCAA tournament predictions from various experts on the sport. We’ll talk briefly about what qualifies each of the following individuals as “experts” on the NCAA, briefly illuminate their past prediction performance with the data we could find, and then explore each of their picks for the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, and Finals.


Andy Katz

Andy Katz is a college basketball analyst at the Big Ten Network (BTN), as well as an NCAA college basketball correspondent. He used to be a senior college basketball journalist at ESPN, appearing regularly on ESPN’s College GameNight as an analyst. Unfortunately, he was laid off from ESPN in 2017, which is what eventually brought him to the BTN.

Andy doesn’t yet have any predictions made for winners of the games played in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, but he did get 67 of the 68 teams right for where they’d be seeded during 2019’s Selection Sunday, and he did it again for this passed one! Let’s take a look to see how he did:

  • 1st Seeds
    • Gonzaga University
    • Baylor University
    • University of Michigan
    • Ohio State University
  • 2nd Seeds
    • University of Illinois
    • University of Alabama
    • Villanova University
    • Florida State University
  • 3rd Seeds
    • University of Iowa
    • University of Oklahoma
    • West Virginia University
    • University of Houston
  • 4th Seeds
    • University of Kansas
    • Texas Tech University
    • University of Texas
    • University of Southern California

You can see Andy’s full predictions for seeding and compare his results to the selections made on the NCAA website.

Thom Cunningham

Thom Cunningham is a former statistician and a passionate sports analyst. He’s covered sports at various levels, from collegiate to international, over the course of 11 years, including games played in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, Olympics, NASCAR, and many others. 

Currently, Thom is a content marketing writer and editor for, a college basketball expert at Vegas Insider, a digital producer for Spectrum SportsNet, and a college basketball media voter for the ACC, Big South, and Big Sky Conferences. Though he hasn’t yet predicted who’d take home the nets, here’s who he thinks will lead in this year’s Big Dance!

Sweet Sixteen:

  • Midwest Region
    • Gonzaga University vs. University of Texas
    • University of Houston vs. Villanova University
  • West Region
    • University of Michigan vs. Purdue University
    • University of Iowa vs. West Virginia University
  • East Region
    • University of Illinois vs. Creighton University
    • University of Kansas vs. University of Alabama
  • South Region
    • Baylor University vs. University of Arkansas
    • Florida State University vs. Ohio State University

Elite Eight:

  • East Region
    • University of Illinois vs. University of Alabama
  • Midwest Region
    • Gonzaga University vs. Villanova University
  • South Region
    • Baylor University vs. Ohio State University
  • West Region
    • University of Michigan vs. West Virginia University

Final Four:

  • Gonzaga
  • Alabama
  • Baylor
  • Michigan


Gary Parrish

Gary Parrish is an award-winning columnist, TV analyst, and sideline reporter for college basketball over at CBS Sports—with whom he’s been since 2006. He also hosts CBS Sports' Eye On College Basketball Podcast and Memphis’ highest-rated afternoon drive show, The Gary Parrish Show, on 92.9 FM.

Before working at CBS, Gary worked for The Commercial Appeal, a daily Memphis breaking news and sports newspaper, serving Memphis and the surrounding metro area. While there, he caught onto and broke the news about one of the biggest scandals in NCAA history. Essentially, a booster for the University of Alabama paid some $150,000 to get their hands on a five-star defensive tackle from Trezevant High School.

Gary learned this after a Trezevant assistant coach straight up told him about the whole thing because it had been weighing on his conscience. Naturally, this story ended up making it to the proper authorities. The NCAA launched an investigation into the matter, and so did the federal government. This all led to Alabama being hit with probation and three men charged with various federal crimes before the 2002 season began.

Now that we’ve got a bit of background on Gary Parrish, what does he think of the coming season of March Madness?

Final Four:

  • Virginia
  • Villanova
  • Baylor
  • Gonzaga

And who does Gary think will win this year?

The answer: Gonzaga.

Use These Expert Picks If You’d Like

There you have it—a compilation of some predictions from expert NCAA analysts. It should be no surprise that many of them favor Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan this year, as these schools produce strong teams year after year. But of course, it’s always exciting to think that we’ll see one of the biggest March Madness upsets of all time, too.

Whether you’re looking for an edge or you’re completely lost and want a “done-for-you” opinion to fill out your 2021 March Madness bracket with, these picks could give you the upper hand. Oh, and to prepare for these March Madness festivities, we highly recommend showing off your school spirit with Campus Colors!

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