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4 March Madness upset pick predictions for 2024, according to NCAA experts

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - First Round - Denver
Jarkel Joiner #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack drives against the Creighton Bluejays during the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Ball Arena on March 17, 2023 in Denver, CO. Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Brackets are set and the First Four are lined up and ready to play. March Madness 2024 is on, which means the next few weeks of college basketball will feature Cinderella stories, career-defining moments and some major upsets. As much fun as it is to watch the big dogs take their rightful place on top of the leaderboard, it's even more exciting to watch an underrated team trounce a top seed for a win.

We're here for all the drama NCAA March Madness has to offer this year. The experts at SportsLine weighed in with their predictions for the biggest upsets of March Madness 2024. Keep reading for all the tea, and everything you need to know to watch the best games and the biggest potential upsets of the tournament.

Note: CBS Essentials, CBS, Paramount+ and Sportsline are all subsidiaries of Paramount. CBS is one of the broadcast homes of the 2024 men's March Madness tournament.

What upsets do experts predict for March Madness 2024?

Want to find a few interesting upset ideas to help you fill out your March Madness bracket? The experts at SportsLine shared their picks with us for potential March Madness 2024 upsets.

Bruce Marshall's upset pick: NC State

"Except in passing, the pundits on Sunday night hardly even mentioned NC State as a team to watch in the Big Dance. Granted, replicating last week's adrenaline rush in D.C., and winning five games in five days to steal the ACC Tourney, is a hard act to top. Still, Tobacco Road sources have warned all season to keep an eye on the Wolfpack, and we much like the fact that, unlike many entries in the Dance, NC State doesn't live and die beyond the arc. That's mostly due to the presence of punishing 6'9", 275-pound D.J. Burns, who gets touches in most halfcourt sets, and who became option number one in overtime against Virginia in the semifinals last Friday.

"Note that NCS only attempted a very modest 17 triples last week in D.C., though Kevin Keatts has some real firepower on the perimeter, led by ASU transfer and his "other D.J." (Horne, 16.9 ppg). Those of us old enough to remember 1983 also had to notice last week's run that reminded us of Jim Valvano's Cinderella '83 Wolfpack, especially the semifinal win over the Cavs, who left the door ajar by faltering late at the free-throw line. Sounds familiar? Magic and NC State in March just kind of go together!"

Eric Cohen's upset pick: Kansas

"The Jayhawks stumbled down the stretch, losing four of their last five games with injuries to guard Kevin McCullar, Jr. and center Hunter Dickinson, the team's two leading scorers. When healthy, this team is elite and possesses the inside-outside combination necessary to succeed. In the Midwest Region, they would be positioned for a Sweet 16 matchup against a Purdue team that, while elite in the regular season, has a history of exiting the NCAA Tournament earlier than expected. This pick all comes down to health, but if Kansas can get back to 100 percent, they will be a danger in the coming weeks."

Thomas Casale's upset pick: Florida

"I love the Gators in a one-and-done tournament setting. Florida is one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country and its guards do a great job of creating shots off the dribble. Walter Clayton, Zyon Pullin and Will Richard combine to score 44.4 points per game and will be a matchup problem for a lot of teams in the tournament. 

"The Gators have also played in a lot of close games this season. Fourteen of Florida's games have been decided by six points or fewer, so they know what it's like to be in a war that goes down to the final minute. I think that will serve them well in a tough region like the South.

"Florida does have a couple of warts. The biggest one is the Gators rank 83rd in defensive efficiency on KenPom. Florida will need to outscore teams similar to other SEC teams like Alabama and Kentucky. The Gators also suffered a setback in the SEC Championship when 7-1 center Micah Handlogten suffered a bad leg injury. While he'll be missed, Florida has depth on the frontline.

"Florida would have a tough second-round matchup with Marquette but get by them, and the Gators could see SEC rival Kentucky. The teams split this season with the two games being decided by five points. I think there is enough upside with the Gators to take a shot on them at longer odds."

Bob Konarski's upset pick: St. Mary's

"St. Mary's has a scary matchup in the first round as the 5th seed taking on the 12th seeded Antelopes. Grand Canyon is already a very public side considering that everyone will want to take a 12th seed to the 5th. However, the Gaels are 16th in the nation in defensive efficiency and have been holding their opponents to an average of 59.7 points per game this season. They're also one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Grand Canyon had had a dominant season and plays a very up-tempo style, but they have not played this caliber of defense since December 5th, when they beat the Aztecs at home. If St. Mary's can prevail in the first round, their defense is as good as any team in the country to make a run.

"Since their 3-5 start to the season, they've only lost twice in their last 25 games. Augustas Marciulionis had a rocky start to the season but has really stepped up his offensive game and Aidan Mahaney is the engine of this team who also found his shooting stroke during conference play.

"As long as St. Mary's can get past the Antelopes, their defense has the ability to slow down a run-and-gun Alabama team, if they defeat the Cougars of Charleston then anything can happen. Even though they're without forward Joshua Jefferson for the remainder of the season, the Gaels are a well-rounded team with a very good coach. They find the open man and play like a determined team with something to prove."

What's the best March Madness 2024 bracket?

So what's the optimal NCAA Tournament 2024 bracket, and which NCAA Tournament Cinderella teams will shock college basketball? Visit SportsLine now to see which region features the No. 1 and No. 3 going down in flames before the Elite Eight, and which region features a No. 4 seed in the Final Four, all from the model that has beaten 92% of bracket players three of the last five tournaments.

What do experts base their March Madness upset picks on?

The experts at SportsLine have years of experience evaluating lines, teams, coaching styles, offensive trends, defensive trends and opponent tendencies. They assess the strength of each team's regular season schedule, how each team fared during the season against common opponents and the team's tournament history to bring you a full picture of each team's potential in this year's NCAA tournament.

How many upsets are there usually during March Madness?

The 2023 Final Four was the first in history without a top-three seed, proof March Madness brackets are completely unpredictable. That's part of what makes the NCAA tournament so special. The annual average for upsets is about 8.5 per tournament, though there were only three upsets in the 2007 tournament and as many as 14 in 2021 and 2022.

Upsets are becoming more common during March Madness. There have been at least 10 upsets in nine of the past 12 years. There were 10 upsets in the 2023 NCAA tournament. 

What are the biggest March Madness upsets from past tournaments?

You don't have to look too far back in March Madness history to relive some of the biggest upsets of the tournament. In 2023, No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson defeated No. 1 Purdue, 63-58.

In 2022, No. 15 Saint Peter's defeated powerhouse No. 2 Kentucky (85-79) in a dazzling overtime showdown that marked just the 10th time a No. 15 beat a No. 2 seed. It was also the first-ever tournament for Saint Peter's, a small, 3,500-person private college in Jersey City, New Jersey.

In 2021, No. 15 Oral Roberts sent No. 2 Ohio State home, beating the Buckeyes 75-72. Oral Roberts went on to beat No. 7 Florida in the second round, before getting eliminated in the Sweet 16.

When is March Madness 2024?

Most Outstanding Player Iowa State Cyclones guard Keshon Gilbert (10) is all smiles on the podium after winning the Big 12 tournament final against the Houston Cougars on Mar 16, 2024 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO.  Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • The men's tournament will be played March 19, 2024 - April 8, 2024.
  • The women's tournament will be played March 20, 2024 - April 7, 2024.

How to watch March Madness 2024 

Men's March Madness 2024, including the Final Four, will air on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

Women's March Madness 2024, including the Final Four, will air on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN 2 and stream on ESPN+.

How to watch March Madness 2024 without cable

If you've given up your cable subscription, or your cable provider doesn't include the channels carrying March Madness this year, you can subscribe to one of the streaming or live TV platforms featured below.

How to watch March Madness 2024: Paramount+ with Showtime

Getty Images

CBS will play host to some of this year's men's March Madness games, which means Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers can stream CBS-aired men's March Madness games live.

The streamer offers access to all college basketball games locally and nationally televised on CBS on all its subscription tiers. In addition, you can watch top-tier soccer like the Champions League live and SEC college football games, plus popular shows such as "Survivor" and "NCIS." 

A subscription to Paramount+ with Showtime is $11.99 per month. The streamer offers a seven-day free trial. (You won't be able to stream men's March Madness live with a Paramount+ Essential subscription.)

Stream March Madness: Paramount + with Showtime free on Amazon Prime Video

Paramount+ content, including men's March Madness 2024, is available to stream on Amazon Prime via a Paramount+ on Prime Video add-on subscription. Prime Video also carries some of the best sports documentaries, including "Kelce," which chronicles former Philadelphia Eagles star Jason Kelce's last season in the league.

Amazon is offering a seven-day free trial of Paramount+ with Showtime. Tap the button below to start your trial and start streaming now for free. After the free trial period ends, a subscription to the Paramount+ with Showtime tier is $11.99 per month.

Watch March Madness free with Fubo

If you're new to streaming sports, you should know about Fubo. Fubo is a sports-centric streaming service that offers access to every March Madness game airing on network and cable TV, plus your local TV affiliates, hundreds of cable TV channels and 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage. Another great reason to love Fubo is its lookback feature, which lets you watch sporting events up to 72 hours after they air live. 

Start watching NCAA basketball on Fubo and also get access to network-aired NFL, NBA and MLB games by starting a seven-day free trial of Fubo. You can begin watching immediately on your TV, phone, tablet or computer. Fubo starts at $80/month for the Pro tier, which includes over 184 channels, but the streamer is currently offering the first month for $60.

What you'll get with Fubo Pro Tier:

  • There are no contracts with Fubo -- you can cancel at any time.
  • The Pro tier includes over 184 channels, including NFL Network. 
  • Fubo includes all the channels you'll need to watch college and pro football, including CBS.
  • In addition to NFL football, Fubo offers MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and international soccer games. 
  • All Fubo tiers come with 1,000 hours of cloud-based DVR recording.
  • Stream on your TV, phone and mobile devices.

Save $40 on Sling TV: The most cost-effective way to stream March Madness 2024

If you don't have cable TV that includes TNT, TBS and ESPN, one of the most cost-effective ways to stream March Madness games this year is through a subscription to Sling TV. The streamer offers access to your local network affiliate's live feed (excluding CBS) and also includes the NFL Network and ESPN with its Orange tier plan. Also worth noting: Sling TV comes with 50 hours of cloud-based DVR recording space included, perfect for recording all the season's top NFL matchups.

That plan normally costs $40 per month, but the streamer is currently offering Sling Orange for $120 for four months when you prepay. That's $30 per month, a saving of $40. 

Note: Because men's March Madness 2024 will broadcast on CBS, you won't be able to watch all men's March Madness 2024 with a Sling TV subscription. If you're looking to stream the men's tournament, we suggest a subscription to one of the other platforms featured here.

Top features of Sling TV Orange tier:

  • There are 32 channels to watch in total, including ESPN, TNT and TBS. (where available).
  • You get access to most local NFL games and nationally broadcast games next season at the lowest price.
  • All subscription tiers include 50 hours of cloud-based DVR storage.

ESPN+: How to watch the women's Final Four

ESPN+ is ESPN's subscription streaming platform. It offers exclusive live events, original studio shows and top-tier series that aren't accessible on the ESPN networks. To watch the women's Final Four, simply sign into the ESPN app. You'll watch college basketball at no extra charge. You can stream ESPN+ through the ESPN app on your favorite mobile device and It's also available as an app through major smart TV streaming platforms and gaming consoles such as the PS5.

Keep in mind some blackouts will prohibit you from watching certain in-market games with ESPN+, even if they're nationally televised. If you're looking to avoid those blackouts, we suggest subscribing to the Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle featured above.

It is important to note that ESPN+ does not include access to the ESPN network. It is a separate sports-centric service, with separate sports programming.

An ESPN+ subscription costs $10.99 per month, or save 15% when you pay annually ($110).  ESPN+ is also currently offering a cost-saving bundle. Get ESPN+ (with ads), Disney+ (with ads) and Hulu (with ads) for $14.99 per month.

Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle: The one way to stream every March Madness game

You can watch March Madness 2024, including both the men's and women's tournaments, with the Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle. The bundle features 95 channels, including ESPN, ABC and CBS, and includes ESPN+, so you'll be able to watch every game of both tournaments. The women's Final Four will be broadcast live on ESPN+. Unlimited DVR storage is also included. Watch every March Madness game on every network this season with Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle.

Hulu + Live TV comes bundled with ESPN+ and Disney+. It's priced at $77.

Watch March Madness live with a digital HDTV antenna


You can also watch March Madness on TV with an affordable indoor antenna, which pulls in local over-the-air HDTV channels such as CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, Univision and more. Here's the kicker: There's no monthly charge.

For anyone living in a partially blocked-off area (those near mountains or first-floor apartments), a digital TV antenna may not pick up a good signal -- or any signal at all. But for many homes, a digital TV antenna provides a seriously inexpensive way to watch March Madness without paying a cable company. Indoor TV antennas can also provide some much-needed TV backup if a storm knocks out your cable.

This amplified digital antenna with a 250-mile range can receive hundreds of HDTV channels, including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox and Univision and can filter out cellular and FM signals. It delivers a high-quality picture in 1080p HDTV and top-tier sound. It comes with an 18-foot digital coax cable.

Key dates for the 2024 NCAA men's college tournament

Below are key dates for March Madness 2024.

  • First Four: Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20, 2024
  • First round: Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22
  • Second round: Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24
  • Sweet 16: Wednesday, March 28 and Thursday, March 29
  • Elite Eight: Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31
  • Final Four: Saturday, April 6 (TBS)
  • National championship: Monday, April 8 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (TBS)

Key dates for the 2024 NCAA women's college basketball tournament

  • First Four: Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21, 2024
  • First round: Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23
  • Second round: Sunday, March 24 and Monday, March 25
  • Sweet 16: Thursday, March 29 and Friday, March 30
  • Elite Eight: Sunday, March 31 and Monday, April 1
  • Final Four: Friday, April 5 (ESPN+)
  • National championship: Sunday, April 7 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio (ABC)

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