HealthSportsLet the Madness Begin: March Madness Arrives

Let the Madness Begin: March Madness Arrives

  • Written by Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer on Mar 17, 2024, at 06:50 PM ET

    Areas of expertise:

    • Coverage of college basketball
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
    • Alumnus of Minnesota State University, Mankato

Here we are, the 2024 men’s NCAA tournament selection is out, marking the beginning of what many consider the most thrilling three weeks in sports.

The journey to this point has been quite eventful, with surprising conference tournament victories by teams like Oregon, NC State, Duquesne, and UAB causing a bubble burst. The top seeds, including Purdue and Houston, faced difficulties in winning their respective conference tournaments. Powerhouses like Arizona, Tennessee, and North Carolina also experienced setbacks.

All these developments pave the way for what promises to be an exhilarating NCAA tournament.

Before the games kick off, with the First Four taking place on Tuesday and the first round starting on Thursday, we present a detailed guide to all 68 participating teams.

Our objective here, as in every season, is to provide insights into each program, without guaranteeing success in bracket predictions.

For those interested in potential upsets, we introduce the “ceiling” system. This system indicates the highest potential level of achievement for each team, assuming all factors align perfectly.

It’s important to keep in mind that numerous factors can lead to unexpected outcomes. Embrace the Madness.

1-Seeds

Region: East
Record: 31-3
Tournament ceiling: National championship

The last team to secure consecutive national titles, Florida, accomplished it through the consistent core comprising Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer. Defending champion UConn said goodbye to key players like Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins last year, but the current squad is equally formidable. The emergence of Donovan Clingan, the growth of Tristen Newton into a prospective All-American, and the talent of projected first-round draft pick Stephon Castle provide Dan Hurley’s team with the potential to claim another title. While on the court together in the regular season, UConn posted impressive offensive and defensive numbers, reflecting a high level of efficiency and prowess.

Houston Cougars

Region: South
Record: 30-4
Tournament ceiling: National championship

Over the past four NCAA tournaments, Kelvin Sampson has guided Houston to deep runs, including two Sweet 16 appearances, an Elite Eight berth, and a Final Four spot. This year’s Cougars, reigning Big 12 regular-season champions, stand out as one of the elite teams in the nation. The team’s strength lies in its scoring options, featuring standout players like projected All-American Jamal Shead and experienced veteran J’Wan Roberts.

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