March Madness South Region Predictions & Picks

John Arlia
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2024

A pair of blue bloods, Duke and Kentucky, highlight the South Region, which also hosts National Championship hopefuls Houston and Marquette.

With big names on both ends of the bracket, we could be in line for some blockbuster showdowns.

Let’s dig into the latest South Region odds and pick some best bets for the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

March Madness South Region Odds

College basketball odds used for this South Region preview are from Monday, March 18, and courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Houston (+125)
  • Marquette (+525)
  • Duke (+600)
  • Kentucky (+650)
  • Wisconsin (+1500)
  • Florida (+1600)
  • Texas Tech (+1800)
  • Nebraska (+2500)
  • NC State (+4000)
  • Texas A&M (+5000)
  • Colorado (+5000)
  • Boise State (+6000)
  • James Madison (+6500)
  • Vermont (+15000)
  • Oakland (+30000)
  • Western Kentucky (+30000)
  • Longwood (+50000)

March Madness South Region No. 1 Seed


The Cougars are a one-seed for the second straight year after winning the Big 12 regular-season title in their first season in the conference.

Houston is known for its lock-down defense, which allowed an NCAA-low 57 points per game.

Kelvin Sampson’s squad can also get the job done on the other end of the floor, with senior guards L.J. Cryer and Jamal Shead leading the way for an offense that ranks 17th in adjusted efficiency, per KenPom.

This team is perfectly poised to make a deep run in March.

March Madness South Region Cinderella Team


The Buffaloes made a late-season charge to get off the bubble, winning eight straight games before falling to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

They have a great chance to keep the momentum going into the NCAA Tournament after being drawn into a First Four matchup with Boise State, a team 13 spots below them in KenPom’s rankings.

Colorado has five players that average double-digit points per game, led by guard K.J. Simpson (19.6 PPG), and four of them are upperclassmen.

That combination of depth and experience is a good way to win in March. I’m expecting the Buffaloes to be the latest team to go from the First Four to the second weekend.

March Madness South Region Prediction

Houston to win the South (+125)

While there are some enticing options at longer odds, I can’t pick against the Cougars in the South.

Houston is too physical for a team like Duke, and while a matchup with Kentucky would be a wildly intriguing contrast of styles, I don’t have full confidence in the Wildcats’ ability to defend well enough to reach the Elite 8.

Look for the Cougars to book their trip to Phoenix for their second Final Four appearance in four years.

[pick id="178870"]

March Madness South Region Best Bet

Marquette to Make Sweet 16: No (+130)

Part of my love for Colorado as a Cinderella stems from my concerns around Marquette.

Two-time All-American Tyler Kolek (oblique) hasn’t played since Feb. 28, and while he could be available for the Golden Eagles’ opener against Western Kentucky, we have no idea how effective he will be.

Marquette had a 3-3 record without its star guard in the lineup, losing twice to Big East champion UConn and also at Creighton.

Shaka Smart’s squad hasn’t reached the second weekend in back-to-back tournament appearances, and I won’t be surprised if Marquette makes it three if Kolek isn’t 100%.

[pick id="178871"]

March Madness South Region Locations & Schedule

Round 1

Thursday, March 21

PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA

No. 3 Kentucky vs No. 14 Oakland, 7:10 p.m., CBS

No. 6 Texas Tech vs No. 11 NC State, 9:40 p.m., CBS

Friday, March 22

Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

No. 2 Marquette vs No. 15 Western Kentucky, 2 p.m., TBS

No. 7 Florida vs No. 10 Colorado/Boise State, 4:30 p.m., TBS

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

No. 8 Nebraska vs No. 9 Texas A&M, 6:50 p.m., TNT

No. 1 Houston vs No. 16 Longwood, 9:20 p.m., TNT

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

No. 4 Duke vs No. 13 Vermont, 7:10 p.m., CBS

No. 5 Wisconsin vs No. 12 James Madison, 9:40 p.m., CBS

Round 2

Saturday, March 23

PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA

Kentucky/Oakland vs Texas Tech/NC State, Time & TV TBA

Sunday, March 24

Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Marquette/Western Kentucky vs Florida/Colorado/Boise State, Time & TV TBA

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

Houston/Longwood vs Nebraska/Texas A&M, Time & TV TBA

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

Duke/Vermont vs Wisconsin/James Madison, Time & TV TBA

Sweet 16

Friday, March 29

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

Regional Semifinal No. 1, Time & TV TBA

Regional Semifinal No. 2, Time & TV TBA

Elite 8

Sunday, March 31

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

Regional Final Time & TV TBA


John Arlia

Before joining The Game Day, John served as the National Writer for the United Soccer League, where he primarily covered the USL Championship out of the league’s headquarters in Tampa, FL. A devout soccer fan, John attended the men’s World Cups in Brazil and Russia and can’t wait for the 2026 edition to come to North America. Having also written for Sporting News Canada since getting his master’s from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, John has acquired a diverse sporting background, but considers football, golf, and soccer his three strong suits.

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