Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: North Carolina earns a No. 1 seed in latest field of 68 projection

Jan 13, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels bench including forward
Jan 13, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels bench including forward / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 6

East Region (Boston)

1.) UConn vs. 16.) Sam Houston State

8.) South Carolina vs. 9.) Northwestern

5.) Oklahoma vs. 12.) McNeese State

4.) Clemson vs. 13.) Akron

6.) Florida Atlantic vs. 11.) Providence/Cincinnati

3.) Auburn vs. 14.) High Point

7.) Utah vs. 10.) TCU

2.) Tennessee vs. 15.) Kennesaw State

The defending national champ has certainly looked all year long like a team that can repeat. The Huskies are the top seed in the East region and the current No. 1 team in the country who just got their big man Donovan Clingan back from a foot injury. The Huskies didn’t skip a beat in his absence and are 16-2 before Saturday’s game at Villanova. They are 5-2 in quad 1 games and have an unblemished 11-0 record otherwise.
Their NET win average of 170 should improve as league play moves forward, putting them in contention for the No. 1 overall seed in my mind.

UConn’s path to a Final Four is littered with surprising teams from power conferences. Auburn, Clemson, and Oklahoma represent seeds No. 3-5 respectively and none of them were picked to finish higher than 5th in their leagues, but have a combined record of 41-10 heading into Saturday. There’s also a team primed to make a second-straight trip to the Final Four in this region, the No. 6 seed Florida Atlantic. UConn is the top team in the region, but these teams have been surprising people all year and that could continue in March.

The team to watch in the East is the team at the bottom of the bracket, No. 2 seed Tennessee. The Volunteers have long been known for their defensive prowess, but this season it seems like the offense is catching up. Since losing three in a row to Purdue, Kansas, and North Carolina (that list is nothing to sneeze at) they have won nine of 10. Tennessee is a top-25 team in offensive efficiency and averages 79 points per game being led by Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht who is netting 18.5 points per game.