2019 March Madness Predictions for First Round Upsets, Elite 8 & Final Four

Updated: 26/06/2022

With the 2019 March Madness tournament quickly approaching, now is a wonderful time to take a look the potential first round, (not First Four) upsets, as well as the eight teams that I believe will reach the Elite Eight – and the quartet of teams that will both advance and succumb – in their respective matchups. Be sure to check out the latest 2019 March Madness odds before the tournament kicks off! With that said, let’s get started.

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2019 March Madness Predictions for First Round Upsets, Elite 8 & Final Four

First Round Upsets

No. 10 Syracuse (17-8) Over No. 7 Virginia Tech (20-6)

While No. 20 Virginia Tech has the better record right now and a national ranking, I can definitely see unranked Syracuse pulling off a first round upset over their ACC conference rivals. While the Hokies are the statistically better team at both ends of the floor, Syracuse always seems to get more dangerous at the end of the season and just prior to tourney time, no matter if they are ranked or unranked.

No. 9 Iowa (20-6) Over No. 8 Auburn (17-8)

I’m predicting that 21st-ranked Iowa gets a No. 9 seeds in this year’s March madness tournament while currently unranked Auburn manages to get a No. 8 seed. No matter the seed, I like the Hawkeyes to get the first round ‘upset’ here despite the fact that the Tigers have the slight statistical edge at both ends of the floor.

Iowa locks down the three-point shot quite well (31.5%, 69th) and they aren’t exactly shopped live on offense either (80.5 ppg, 35th). I love the fact that Iowa has five double digit scorers with three of them shooting over 50.0% from the field.

No. 10 Wofford (23-4) Over No. 7 Arizona State (17-8)

You might not know much about Wofford, but come tourney time, you will. The Terriers are ranked a stupendous 15th nationally in scoring (83.4 ppg) and equally impressive 47th in points allowed (66.0 ppg). Not only that, but Wofford ranks a phenomenal second in three-point shooting (42.0%) and 11th in field goal shooting (49.1%). Unfortunately for Arizona State, I’m thinking their March Madness appearance loooks like a one-and-done if they meet Wofford in the first round.

My Elite Eight

Duke (23-2)

Zion Williamson (22.4 ppg) gets the vast majority of headlines because of his jaw-dropping athleticism, but R.J. Barrett (22.7 ppg) and Cam Reddish (13.8 ppg) could be the two guys that carry Duke all the way if Williamson gets a bit too much defensive attention.

Marquette (21-4)

I like the Golden Eagles to reach the Elite Eight, but I’m going to say that Duke ends their tourney run just prior to the Final Four simply because they are a bit better at both ends of the court and Marquette relies very heavily on Markus Howard (25.6 ppg) to get the vast majority of their buckets.

Gonzaga (25-2)

Look, I’ve said it since the beginning of the season. I think Gonzaga has the look of a very legitimate national championship contender and I believe they are one of the few teams that could dispatch Duke.

The Zags lead the nation in scoring (90.7 ppg) and have a lockdown defense (65.2 ppg), not to mention at least two future NBA performers on their roster in Rui Hachimura (20.3 ppg) and Brandon Clarke. If  star forward Killian Tillie returns before the start of March Madness, then this team could be unbeatable. As it stands now, even without Tillie, I’m not sure anyone is going to beat Gonzaga.

Houston (25-1)

If you’re old enough to remember the days of ‘Phi Slamma Jamma’ (I am) then you know it’s nice to see Houston back among the best teams in all of college basketball. The Cougars have a decent offense that averages 75.4 points per game (), but it is on the defensive end of the floor where they are seriously dangerous by limiting the opposition to just 60.3 points per game (fifth) while ranking second nationally in field goal defense (36.4%) and third in three-point defense (27.2%). Unfortunately, I don’t see Houston getting past Gonzaga in the Elite Eight, but this team is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Virginia (23-2)

I know the Cavaliers became the first No. 1 seed to ever lose its opening round match against a No. 16 seed a year ago, but this team has a different look and feel to it, even if they do play the same kind of shut-down defense they’ve become known for under head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia leads the nation in fewest points allowed (54.6 ppg) and now, they have two guys that looks like next level players in Kyle Guy (14.8 ppg) and athletic big man De’Andre Hunter (14.7 ppg).

Tennessee (24-2)

Unfortunately for Virginia, I’m going to go with Tennessee to dispatch the Cavaliers in the Elite Eight, mostly because they average a stellar 83.7 points per game to rank 12th in the nation in scoring while simultaneously limiting the opposition to just 67.4 points per contest defensively (77th). More importantly, I like their offensive balance far more than Virginia’s, seeing as how the Vols have a legitimate star in forward Grant Williams (19.4 ppg) and another in guard Admiral Schofield (16.7 ppg), not to mention, three other starters that all average double figures in scoring.

Nevada (24-1)

I have no idea why Nevada isn’t being mentioned as one of the very best title contenders right now after starting the season with a No. 5 national preseason ranking, but I believe this team is poised to make a run to the Final Four because of their trio of likely NBA performers in Caleb and Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline. The Wolf Pack average a stellar 82.5 points per game (21st) while limiting the opposition to just 66.6 points per contest defensively (57th).

Kentucky (22-4)

The Wildcats are heating up for head coach John Calipari, but I don’t see them getting past Nevada simply because they rely a bit too heavily on blossoming big man P.J. Washington and just don’t have much experienced depth behind their four double digit scorers. Kentucky will do well to reach the Elite Eight, but in the end, a lack of experience means they’ll fall to Nevada.

Final Four

Duke, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Nevada

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